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Analog Fallbacks

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Analog Fallbacks

The saying, ‘They don’t make them like they used to’ will soon become they literally don’t make them like they used to and they can’t be repaired like they used to.

As more functionality becomes digitally based, manual fallbacks will become more obscure and non-intuitive, leading to increasingly catastrophic failures when digital systems fail. Car locks, which are increasingly dependent on electricity, can become inoperable when the car battery runs out. There are plenty of examples: A man was trapped in his Cadillac for 13 hours and, tragically, a man and his dog died in a Corvette when the car battery failed. Both vehicles had manual door release mechanisms designed as a fallback for electronic failure, but neither man could find the release mechanism. To make matters more tragic, one of the victims had the vehicle owner’s manual yet still couldn’t release the mechanism. What happens when cars no longer come with physical user manuals or if firmware updates change the product so much that physical manuals are no longer accurate? As vehicles become more automated and require less mechanical know-how, consumers will focus more on other elements of the transportation. This will allow manufacturers to create new business models and drive brand preference with less emphasis on mechanical interactions. Hopefully, manufacturers self-regulate and ensure that emergency manual fallbacks are consistent and clearly indicated.