Driven To Extremes: The Ultimate Car?

(CBS)
Lawyer Andrew Cohen analyzes legal affairs for CBS News and CBSNews.com. He also has a driver's license.
It's come to this. In the eternal push to make our cars more "user friendly" you now can buy an Acura which uses its Global Positioning Satellite service to determine the angle and strength of the sun in relation to your vehicle so that its computer can automatically control the climate inside your car. If you are driving south and the sun is beating down on the passenger side your car will notice that unequal "sun load" and "adjust the ventilation accordingly" to make that particular side a little cooler.

You don't have to lift a finger, in other words, to adjust your vents or turn up the air conditioning or even open a window. You don't have to nag the person next to you to do it, either. It's all done by an eye in the sky. The very nice and professional folks at Car and Driver told me Monday that this is the first time a car has offered this particular sort of service—although the same technology has allowed car makers for years to offer a stunning array of computer-generated gimmicks.

So along with real-time traffic and directions and voice-recognition and collision mitigation braking systems (where the car automatically brakes when it senses an accident) and "adaptive cruise control" and rear-view cameras you are going to get auto-sensor climate control. Pretty soon you won't have to steer. Oh, wait. I forgot. Lexus now sells a car that parks for you—that remembers how to steer you into a parking spot. Beam me up, Scotty.

I confess that I am not a car buff or otherwise interested in cars beyond the one I drive (which, for the record, is neither Acura nor Lexus). So I am not aware of some grand consumer push to get automatic air-conditioning into cars. And I reckon that if such a push does exist it is way down on the Eternal Driver's Wish List after things like improved gas mileage, less dangerous auto emissions, and passenger safety. But what do I know? I still do MapQuest to find where I need to go and still listen to the radio to get traffic news. I'm so 2004.


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