From FP today

The 2016 Nielsen AutoTECHCAST report, released today, found that U.S. consumers are most interested in technology aimed toward safety, followed by connectivity, comfort and convenience, driver assistance and fuel efficiency.

Safety tech features drawing the most interest in the survey were rear camera mirrors, low-speed collision avoidance systems and blind-spot detection and prevention systems, respectively.

Blind-spot detection and prevention systems are viewed by consumers as being the most differentiating technology during the vehicle-buying process. In fact, 73 percent of responders said they were “very/extremely likely” to purchase a vehicle with blind-spot detection/prevention than one without, the survey found.

My wife and myself just bought new cars, 2016 Subaru Forester XTs, and my mom purchased a 2017 XT as well. We were very clear that we wanted the XT for the power, but no Eye-sight bullshit which Subaru offers on all their cars as an option. The inventory was very much against us - I’d say that an average Subaru dealership had 10 Forester XT Touring models with leather and Eye-sight to 1 XT Premium with fabric seats and no Eye-sight.

Subaru and Honda/Acura are two of the companies which have really streamlined models - you really don’t get many options. I wonder how long will it take for this technology to become so cheap, and for the demand to become so vast, that it doesn’t make sense for them to offer their top of the line engine/trim without the Eye-sight. I wonder how long will it take to have the market of desirable cars (with good engines) ruined completely by having undesirable (to me) features like Eye-sight. I wonder how long before the only new models without tech like that are the cheap stripper models with base engines.

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Right now, we live in a world of family cars with 250+ HP, cars with a manual transmission, crazy good handling and 400+ hp for $35k, AWD rockets with 300+ hp - really, a golden era for automobiles. The convergence of speed, safety, reliability, efficiency and handling is unmatched in history as far as I am concerned. But, as these new technologies are becoming the norm, I fear that in 5-15 years, every car will have a suite of collision avoidance technologies which we won’t be able to turn off. I feel that those will propagate into mainstream just like ABS and traction control did, and they’ll become mandatory if a car wants to meet NHSTA safety requirements.

Your thoughts? Is the future bleak? Or, do you welcome our collision avoidance overlords?

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