Ramblings of a Tampa engineer

a rusted train car with the words safety is for all
Photo by Joe Dudeck / Unsplash

A few weeks ago I got a new 2023 Hyundai Sonata which replaced my 2019 Hyundai Sonata, which had previously replaced my 2008 Hyundai Sonata. I quickly realized that features in modern cars have caught up in terms of things they deem as safety enhancements, but I'm trying to figure out how to disable most of them.

Lane Monitoring

At first this feature sounded pretty cool - help me stay in my lane. However, in one month time I don't think I've once felt like it helped me and instead only annoyed me. Trying to drive around the pothole filled roads and duck/dodge into a specific driving pattern? Good luck - the car will guide you back to the center of the lane.

The first time it happened I thought the car was taking over control, then I learned you either let it happen and guide you back or you double down on the change against its additional constraint on the wheel and it'll back off.

So I started learning how it acts, but boy you hit this specific area in Tampa where a school zone lines intersect with the road and the car hates this. It freaks out every single time I drive over it with a little warning nudge and chime - it thinks I'm going out of my lane, but I'm not. I actually become in a split second a danger to the road as my car is trying to guide me into a lane that doesn't exist, but it learns before that second is over and gives up.

Once I'm on the highway there are many flyover exits in Tampa that are huge single car lanes - you could easily make it two lanes, but instead its just one large lane. The Hyundai hates this - it thinks hugging the right side of this massive lane is drifting and pulls me back. Sorry I'm just letting my car handle this turn naturally without abrupt changes to the circular angle I'm turning at.

I've figured out how to disable this, maybe this technology in smarter in the full self driving models.

Collision Detection

This feature seems great on paper and I haven't tested if it will actually inject brake pushes automatically, but it turns the dash red and emits a loud warning tone when this occurs.

This has happened a few times when I feel I'm in zero danger of actually colliding with anyone or anything. It seems to interject when my speed is approaching an object that is not moving at the pace expected to prevent a collision. It gets really mad when you are coasting when cars ahead brake. Yes you can hit your brakes immediately and join the line of cars, but I'm safely far enough back I can coast this slowdown. With regenerative braking I get quite a slowdown by simply letting off the gas. It's a bit more elegant than this constant accelerate and stop traffic people seem addicted towards doing.

The car hates this - it emits the loudest tone and red warning symbols of collision warning. Tap the brakes a bit and its happy and quiet even if the coasting would have accomplished the same thing in a bit less space. This means my brake lights go on - the people behind me react to that and so on and so on. Even if I could have simply let off the gas and coasted and accelerated a few seconds later. I might have just caused a ghost pocket of braking when it could have been avoided.

Turn Warning

Sitting in a lane you put on your turn signal, this is the yellow blinking turn lane, so you can go when the traffic is clear. You inch into the intersection seeing a gap approaching in the cars and your car goes off with beeps and tones. It thinks you are about to turn into a wall of cars and its warning you. The first time this occurred I thought I was doing something dangerous and/or danger was near to me. It calmed down and I did my left turn and went about my day.

Should I have stayed out of the intersection? Probably according to the law as I believe you shouldn't enter the intersection until you are clear to exit it, but with how Tampa drivers act you gotta take the chances you have otherwise you aren't going anywhere.

So I'll keep this one on - I should stay out of intersection until I'm clear to make my entire left turn. People behind me may hate it, but my car won't go crazy with that choice.

Seat-belt Warning

This one has only happened once, but boy put me into a few seconds of unsafe driving. Just driving along and the dog moves from the backseat to sitting in passenger seat which then sets off the weight detection of that seat. Now its non-stop beep which is beyond annoying, then the dog jumps back to the back seat and it still goes off. It takes a solid 30-45 seconds until it detects no heavy bodied animal/person is no longer sitting there.

He jumps back into the front seat and it goes off again - this time I'm trying to pull the seat-belt over and plug it in while interstate driving just so the tone can stop. This is a red illuminated dash icon and very loud beep that overpowers even the music playing. Meanwhile this 60-80 pound dog is just not helping at all in this situation as I try to plug in a seat-belt under his mess of fur.

It seems most of these features all have a possibility of great benefits at the increased cost of a slight increase in overall danger and increased annoyance.

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