March 23, 2015

Tech Times: New technology will let parents control everything in their teens’ cars

Chevrolet Malibu

General Motors has announced that it will be introducing new technology into its cars to help parents keep track of their teen drivers.

Parents will be able to pre-set cars to give warnings when teens go above pre-set speeds. If teens ignore warnings, the car will tell parents, and parents can review what is called a “vehicle report card” that tells parents how fast and how far teens are driving.

“We developed this system so parents could use it as a teaching tool with their kids — they can discuss and reinforce safe driving habits,” said MaryAnne Beebe, General Motors safety engineer. “As a mother of two, I know anything that has the potential of keeping one’s family safer is of great value to parents.”

The technology will first be introduced in the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, and will be pre-installed. It will be built into the MyLink system that is already installed in the car and which controls things like entertainment and navigation control. GM has said that it will introduce the features into future cars that it offers.

Not only will the system warn parents of any problems with how the teen is driving, but it will also make use of multiple other techniques. For example, the radio will not turn on until the front seat belts are fastened. Parents can also set the maximum volume of the radio to be quieter. Not only that, but things like traction control, forward collision alert, front and rear park assist, side blind zone alert, automatic light control and so on are automatically turned on when the car is in “teen driver” mode.

In order to use the system, parents will need to create a PIN to register the teen driver’s key fob. They will then be able to access the report card, which will go into details about which, if any, safety pre-sets were broken.

“The first step with this technology is to make sure that all drivers and passengers within the car are safe,” said Steve Majoros, marketing director of Chevrolet. “In addition to innovative safety technologies like this, you will see efficiency, advanced connectivity and stunning design in the 2016 Malibu.”

According to GM, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for those aged between 16-19 is around three times the rate for drivers who are aged 20 and over. Tools like this will hopefully bring that rate down, keeping teens and others on the road safer.