Friday, July 17, 2009

Vital Space

I was just looking through l'Auto-Journal for 16 July.
They have a 10 000 km test of a Peugeot 3008 (not to be confused with the 308).

One novelty caught my eye.
There is a head-up-display, which basically shows the vehicle speed digitally on a little transparent screen near the bottom of the windscreen.
Copied from military aircraft practice, if done properly this can keep the speed information in or near the driver's line of sight, without blocking out other vital stuff.
I think the above image is from a Peugeot Press release (it is all over the net) but other reviews include photographs showing that the screen is really better situated, below normal line of sight.
L'Auto-Journal seemed to like it, so I suppose Peugeot have done a decent job.
Previously, I thought of HUD as restricted to the BMW/Cadillac zone, so it is good to see it coming down market.
Something like this will surely become normal practice soon.

What was absolutely new for me though, was that they also display your distance behind the preceding vehicle, expressed simply in seconds.
L'Auto-Journal said of that (my translation) "We didn't find this function to be any use – it seems to be just a gadget".
I couldn't disagree more.

In my view, this function could be of enormous value in preventing accidents & incidents.
Most people (I suppose) know that leaving at least a 2-second gap is essential if you hope to avoid being involved in nose-to-tail pile-ups, yet almost nobody actually leaves that much gap.
The brilliant new Peugeot function should be made universal & compulsory.
With bright flashing lights & unbearably loud buzzers whenever the gap is held below 2 seconds!

And something even more dissuasive for lorry drivers.
Electric shocks?
Automatic licence shredding?

Parting thot: "There are no new accidents, just new victims." - Anon

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