Road Trip

Open Road

Get your motor running, head out on the highway. Looking for adventure and whatever comes our way… Now, I’m not saying that we were born to be wild, and we didn’t exactly close the cookie party, but then again, we did have a dawn launch on our agenda. We ended up tripling our new car’s odometer mileage and have landed safely in Ann Arbor.

I guess that safety is the theme for this post, because this is when we first were able to fully exercise our new car’s Toyota Safety Sense. Think of this system as a combination scolding mother and intervening mom. I guess that some would view these two characterizations as different faces on the same coin. As a child of the open road, either parent could be both helpful or not. It gave us an opportunity to explore Momma T’s capabilities.

With the couple of hundred miles of intown travel that we had already logged, we had begun to familiarize ourselves with some of scolding mom’s senses. Stay in your lane. Don’t cross the lines. You are getting too close to that parked car. Use your turn signal and lookout for all of all those other fast-moving vehicles that are passing you. Why? Because, I said so. Not that she was wrong.

Getting out-of-town and after some fumbling (I still don’t know how I changed the speedometer from MPH to KPH.), we engaged the car’s enhanced cruise control. It’s like a normal cruise control except, if while in cruise control and you approach a slower moving vehicle, like say a semi, the car will slow to a matching speed. I like this feature, because there are many occasions, when in the past, I had to pop out of cruise control, because passing vehicles prevented me from passing this truck.

The most novel aspect of our new car’s enhanced cruise control is its steering assist feature. Now mind me, we were driving on entirely boring, flat and almost straight highways. Typical Midwestern driving. If an AI or even our semi-sentient AI couldn’t drive across Illinois and Indiana interstates, then it dosen’t belong on the road. We drove today in bright, clear and dry conditions. Perfect. The system performed remarkably well, but not perfectly. I could drive for miles without any limb touching a control. Initially, both Anne and I experienced a tug-of-war period, where we fought the car, but through its training of itself or us that eventually smoothed out.

After a while, it was kind of fun, just going along for the ride. We safely arrived at our destination. Now Toyota warns that this feature is not autonomous driving, but is only intended to help out, but that is probably just the lawyers talking. It is a feature that blurs the line between the present and the future.

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