Update: We would like you all to know that this story was completely fabricated for April Fools’ day. Teen Driver Mode will not invoke physical punishment on drivers. That would be absurd.
The Teen Driver safety feature, available in new Chevrolet vehicles such as the 2016 Malibu, has received an innovative update that will help young drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, and focus on driving.
“The new update for Teen Driver is the product of GM’s continued efforts to ensure safe driving,” said GM Safety Engineer Mary Ann Bumblebee. “It is the first technology of its kind, and it is a big step for the auto industry.”
After months of development, engineers were able to create a camera system that monitors drivers’ eyes. Using three cameras — one on the dash as well as one in each of the B-pillars — the system is able to detect when the driver’s eyes drop below the field of vision. Complementing the cameras are sensors within the steering wheel that allow the computer to detect whether or not both of the driver’s hands are on the wheel.
When the system notices that the driver has removed a hand from the steering wheel, and/or has taken his eyes off of the road, it emits a warning chime. If the driver does not regain focus or place both hands on the steering wheel within three seconds, a rubberized hand is released from the center console and delivers the driver a solid thwack across the back of the head. Chevrolet claims that this feature showed promising results during testing, and that a later update will enable the system to alter the severity of the strike for repeat offenders.
In order to prevent the disciplinary slap from causing an accident while the vehicle is in motion, the program tallies offenses and distributes punishment once the vehicle is put in park. Locking seat-belts and doors ensure efficiency. Alas, there is also an alternative for parents who wish to go with a less physical form of discipline which involves an OnStar notification. If the alert is triggered, it will alert OnStar, which in turn will alert parents.
The entire feature sounds rather sci-fi if you ask us, but Chevrolet says that today’s high technology have made it possible. And with one out of every three auto accidents involving a cell phone, we expect this new technology to have a significant impact on safety once its use becomes more widespread.