Unfounded fears

Updated 21 October 2017
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Unfounded fears

Some of the obstacles that have long hindered driving by Saudi women have been linked to fears for their safety, especially in situations of car breakdowns or accidents in remote areas. There have also been concerns about harassment by other road users, especially young male drivers.
However, new technology can now resolve these fears and give women reassurance on the roads. Modern cars are marvelous pieces of engineering, more reliable than at any time in the past.
A modern car with adaptive cruise control can keep a safe distance from the car in front at variable speeds. Automatic emergency braking can help in stopping the car in critical situations. Automatic parking takes the strain of parking the car in tight spots. Front and rear sensors can help in stopping the car during maneuvers.
On the road, programs for lane-keeping and monitoring driver’s fatigue can help the safety of the car and its passengers.
An important addition for Saudi women is fitting front and rear cameras for constant recording of road conditions. These cameras can help in cases of harassment and be used as evidence in any subsequent prosecution.
The situation would get even better in the future with advances in autonomous driving technology. Already, cars such as Audi A8 have Level 3 self-driving technology that allows the car to steer itself in well-marked lanes.
While modern navigation systems guide the car to its destination safely, road-assist apps by many companies can locate the position of the car and rush for help at a push of a button. Tracking programs can locate the car at any time.
Mobile phones help in giving assurance on the road in cases of breakdowns or accidents. Women can also make use of head-up display and night-vision systems for safer driving.
In a few years’ time, technology may take over the whole business of steering a car, in autonomously driven vehicles that need no women — or men — to drive them.
• Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist, based in London.


Rolls-Royce unveils SUV with $325K price tag

Updated 11 May 2018
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Rolls-Royce unveils SUV with $325K price tag

  • Named after the diamond in Britain’s Crown Jewels, the Cullinan.
  • Deliveries are expected to begin in 2019.

WESTHAMPNETT, England: Motorists who have the money can now explore off-road luxuriously or just make a statement while dropping their children off at school.
The first SUV reveal of Rolls-Royce was on Thursday. Named after the diamond in Britain’s Crown Jewels, the Cullinan come with a $325,000 price tag as well as an estimated $5,000 gas-guzzler tax.
The Cullinan’s 6.75 liter, twin-turbo V12 engine has 563 horsepower. The SUV includes Rolls’ “magic air ride,” but drivers can press an “off road” button to hit the trails.
Deliveries are expected to begin in 2019.
Rising sales of SUVs and pickup trucks are driving auto sales in the US Autodata Corp. said in March that truck and SUV sales rose 16.3 percent, while car sales plunged 9.2 percent. Nearly two-thirds of all vehicles sold were trucks or SUVs.