A tweet from Mercedes-Benz USA advertising the in-car technology in its S-Class range has caused uproar on the social media platform, with numerous people suggesting that the potential for distraction could put cyclists and pedestrians in danger.
The tweet, that has now been deleted by the Mercedes-Benz USA account, said: "With up to five screens, OLED displays, and 3D displays with real-time eye tracking, the new S-Class has no shortage of bright ideas"; however thousands of people were quick to point out the potential issues, with Pompey Cyclist saying: I look forward to being murdered with one of these in the near future."
Dr Anna added: "I just see dead pedestrians and cyclists. Mercedes sees money."
At this point you might as well get a gun and just shoot every tenth cyclist and pedestrian right in the head https://t.co/nbzwzpnhiA
— Hannah 🚲 (@theeyecollector) May 19, 2021
but all bicycles have chainsaws now
I don’t make the rules pic.twitter.com/O8APkxEsn5
— 🟣 Glendon Mellow (@FlyingTrilobite) May 19, 2021
It's long been suggested that in-car technology such as touchscreens could be leading to more distracted driving; A 2020 study by the UK road safety charity IAM RoadSmart found that in-vehicle 'infotainment systems' impair a driver's reaction times behind the wheel 'more than alcohol and cannabis use' according to the results.
While Mercedes' example of in-car technology appears to be a particular cause for concern, other companies are trying to put tech to good use in an effort to increase safety for cyclists. Back in January, a proposed bicycle-to-vehicle communication standard backed by Trek, Specialized, Bosch and Ford was said to have reached a "critical milestone", with Ford's vice president Chuck Gray calling on more business leaders to join the initiative to advance the technology and set a definitive standard.
Still, opponents argue that the technology could increase danger for cyclists, as drivers could start putting too much trust in technology that may not be failsafe.
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.