Free courses being offered to help drivers learn about new car features

Telematics and other advanced infotainment features in vehicles are all excellent nods to the future of automotive travel. It’s getting more and more digitally integrated, with more features than ever, more driver aids and ultimately, more notifications. Not all drivers feel comfortable with these features though and don’t want to sit down sifting through a manual for a few hours to get to grips with it, so some local communities around the country have started offering crash courses in how to read all the latest lights and notifications in contemporary vehicles.

One such community is North Staffordshire’s Advanced Motorists group, which is holding a “technology in the car,” session soon to help explain some of the more complicated or at least difficult to understand aspects of some of a modern car’s features. Many older people don’t understand how to work a sat-nav, how to tune their digital radio or to connect their smartphone over bluetooth to give added function that way. These are the sorts of things that North Staff’s Morotorists are Advanced Motorists is looking to cover.

If you’re a local and want to attend, then you can do so at the Sandyford Fire Station, which as the Stoke Sentinel explains, is just off Reginald Mitchell Way at 7:30Pm on 17th July.


Phil Oakes, of the Advanced Motorists organisation, said: “The presentation starts with the more usual features found on most vehicles and commonly checked during the ‘cockpit check’ and what to expect if warning lights come on and things start to go wrong.

“It then covers the more advanced features found on modern cars and goes on to discuss features in the pipeline for cars of the future.”

One aspect that the course will go over, is the different notifications on modern vehicles’ dashboards. Many new indicators have appeared in recent years, from simple things like an ABS warning light should the breaking system fail in icey conditions, to pollution warnings that might prompt you to close the vents and circulate the air internally for a few minutes.

Schemes like this, while very local and understandably limited in their scope, are very important for the future of telematics. While there are certain tech-headed portions of our society that keep up to date on the latest trends and don’t have a problem figuring out new technology, there are still large numbers that through insecurity or lack of interest ostracise themselves from new, life-changing technologies. Often times it’s simply because no one has shown them how to operate it (as the oft-ignored pay-at-pump petrol stations can attest to), so courses like this could make quite a difference.

That said, insurers will likely go a long way to encouraging these sorts of advanced systems, since savings on car insurance is something everyone can understand. However, here’s hooping that those same companies make sure to let customers know about the potential privacy concerns of telematics, as salesmen don’t always have a habit of being the most honest of people.

    Jon Martindale

    Jon Martindale is an English author and journalist, who's written for a number of high-profile technology news outlets, covering everything from the latest hardware and software releases, to hacking scandals and online activism.

    All author posts