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Permanent back seat driver

The driver sits in the back, where its safer
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(+6, -4)
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With the exception of soccer-moms and taxi drivers, most people do the majority of their driving with nobody in the back seat. Yet being in the back seat is statistically much safer than the front during extreme collisions.

So I propose relocating the steering wheel and other controls to the back seat. Re-routing the control linkages won’t be hard, but driver visibility becomes a problem. To overcome this a system of cameras and flat panel monitors would give the driver full visibility from the back seat. Another safety advantage to this arraingment include a simple infra-red mode for the camera’s to easily allow vastly superior night driver.

A low cost, low tech alternative is simply to increase the size of the front windscreen and raise the position of the back seat for better visibility. Translucent A-pillars would also help, a concept already being tested by Volvo.

ServoMan314, Apr 03 2009


       Heh. The visual made me laugh.
blissmiss, Apr 03 2009

       Servoman314: I appreciate your general idea, but perhaps you do not take it far enough. What about the back seat makes it safe? The presence of the resilient front seat between the passenger and items crashed into! If the front seat is to remain empty, one could fit additional smaller front seats in the place normally occupied by the front passenger, improving safety for the folks in back.
bungston, Apr 03 2009

       // You simply have got to have clear, unobstructed visibility of the road in front of you,//   

       at first I was considering raising the back (driver's seat) a good three feet above normal, and having the driver's head poke through the roof inside of a clear plexiglass hemisphere. but that would probably be even less safe
ServoMan314, Apr 04 2009

       //Replacing physical sight with camera monitors is another thing entirely//   

       it is now routine to fly and land passenger jets in zero visibility conditions, entrusting hundreds of lives to a "glass cockpit". With enough money and redundancy, any technology can be made reliably safe.   

       of course, nobody would buy a car with a $500,000 super redundant camera/LCD system, but one day the technology might be cheap enough.
ServoMan314, Apr 04 2009

       The real-low-tech version of this is to strap a few spare seats to the front bumper (fender).   

       The no-tech solution is to drive everywhere in reverse, but that's advocacy.
Laughs Last, Apr 07 2009

       If it's safer in the back seat than the front seat, then, logically, it must be even safer in the car behind yours - so just sit in that car and drive yours via radio-control.
hippo, Apr 07 2009

       That's pyrrhic. It would be more reasonable to drive your car by remote while lying down in the trunk (boot).
Laughs Last, Apr 08 2009

       It has long been my view that anything which makes the driver feel safer also makes the vehicle more dangerous. While the driver may be less prone to injury in the back, the fact that he feels safer will inevitably lead him to take greater risks. The rest of the population of the world is not in the back seat, so more prone to injury as the confident driver ploughs through them. Better to move the driver to the front bumper and replace the steering wheel airbag with a spike!
Twizz, Apr 08 2009

       Agree with Twizz. This is one of the reasons more people die in big "safe" SUV's than they do in cars.
Sweaty_Elvis, Apr 08 2009

       The pilots in an aircraft cockpit have to see a a runway, and other craft (as in 'existence of other craft'). So it is not as important for them to have natural vision of therir surrounds - it might even be better to have a HUD-dot with notes all around it describing realtive velocity, possible transponder codes etc. than to have the 'natural' view of an indistinct blob in the distance. Driving a car requires acute vision, including perception of details an automated system will never be able to translate. The automated system might be much better in some areas (night vision, distance measurement) but a child behind another car, only visible through the part-mirroring surfaces of two windshields, will never be better visible than by two healthy eyes looking out through a clear windshield.
loonquawl, Apr 09 2009

       //Yet being in the back seat is statistically much safer than the front during extreme collisions.// This data may be skewed somewhat by the previous proposition of //...driving with nobody in the back seat.//
4whom, Apr 09 2009

       Well, the simple solution to your valid fears is to modify the seats and make the occupant cell roomy.   

       Why not make the seats of slim carbon fiber and foam construction so that you can fold along the sides the unoccupied seats for added padding and allow the driver seat to slide to the center on an event of collision? Furthermore, the seat can be hooked up to a collision-detection system that would release an active spring to safely drag the seat to a safer location. The airbags and drive controls go with the modification as well.
rotary, Apr 09 2009

       //Better to move the driver to the front bumper and replace the steering wheel airbag with a spike!//   

       Great idea Twizz, start with your car.
ServoMan314, Apr 17 2009


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