The automobile sector is probably one of the most quickly advancing sector right now. Every year or so we get new technologies in our car and they quickly become the norm. This does pose a question, are cars getting more complex in order to become more simple to drive? Let’s take a look at what new technology has given us and how it has affected us as consumers.

I personally am all for more complex features in the car if it means it improves the driving experience. You might see a little bias but ill try my best to be neutral.

Complexity Is Better For The Consumer

With more advanced technologies and features, we are getting more economical, safer and quicker cars. Compare today cars to what we had at the start of 2000s and the difference is huge. GPS comes to mind at first. From the stories I’ve heard about them, they used to be quite abysmal back then and now someone like me who is not good at remembering paths and roads they are almost impossible to drive without.

More things like ABS, the Anti-lock Braking System is quite complex in how it works and yet make cars simple and safer to drive in. Without ABS braking at high speed would lead to steering wheel locking up and you as a driver losing any control over the car.

Turbocharger
Turbocharger

Engines are also getting more complex, automakers are slowly moving towards smaller and turbocharged engines than bigger NA engines. This makes them dish out more power for smaller size and be economical compared to the NA counterpart albeit at same power only. Turbocharger might be in simple terms just blowing more air in but compared to an NA engine it is more complex.

Adaptive Cruise Control is another example of a complex technology that has made driving a car easier. Instead of focusing on acceleration and steering you just need to focus on the steering part while your car adjusts the speed according to your surroundings. This is quite helpful in long journeys or highway travels.

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These and many more complex technologies have made it possible for cars to be faster on road and be safer. This is with the help of both mechanical and electronic feats that have helped progress us into making cars more of an enjoyable thing to use than another chore.

All these complex pieces of technology have certainly made driving easier.  They however do have some negatives as well.

Complexity Is Unnecessary 

This thought could stem from the ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ ideology. Take the example of new dashboards. The old ones with knobs and meters were working fine why was there a need to switch towards huge screens and a billion of settings and options. They are distracting and if you don’t remember where every setting for every feature is it might only get harder to use while driving.

Automation of simple features can also be called as unnecessary complexity. Automatic car windows and self-adjusting rearview mirrors are quite handy (pun not intended) but it is just another thing to fail and cause issues.

Another negative for things getting more complex is any slight issue and you probably won’t be able to fix it yourself. Something like a dent or a paint chip maybe one can try their hand but computation failure is a certain visit to the workshop.

Google's self driving car
Google’s self-driving car

They are still far from a thing but autonomous cars are the main culprit of unnecessary complexity. We might still be in the normal mindset of driving our own cars and maybe the coming generations will get used to the idea but I find autonomous cars quite a far cry. They are in the early stage as we all know and who knows they might honestly end up so good that I’ll have to eat my own words.

This was a shot insight into the current state of car technology. They are getting more and more complex every passing day but most if not all of it is just to make the cars easier to drive.

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