If your car doesn’t already have GPS navigation technology built directly into the dashboard, then you probably at least have a smartphone mount for your windshield so you can use Google Maps for turn-by-turn directions. Put simply, if you own a car, computer-based navigation likely plays a central role in your journeys.
And this is why the U.K. government will soon require all learner drivers to follow directions from a sat nav as part of their driving test. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will provide all driving examiners with a sat nav unit to give to budding drivers for their test — but this isn’t about having an ability to search for a route through a sat nav, it’s purely about being able to follow directions. From December 4, 2017, learners will be expected to follow a pre-set route provided by the examiner.
“The examiner will provide the sat nav and set it up using one of the stored test routes,” explained a DVSA rep in a blog post. “The candidate won’t need to touch it. We’ve been working with potential suppliers to find and buy a suitable sat nav. We’ll award a contract very soon, and let you know which make and model of sat nav we’ll be using.”
In many ways, this does make sense. Normally, a learner would have to take verbal instructions from the examiner, which would perhaps mean a two-way dialog for clarifications. But that isn’t how the real world works — ordinarily people will be far more inclined to take instructions from a smartphone plastered to their windshield than someone sitting next to them in the passenger seat. And that’s why this will now become a standard part of the test: It mimics real life.
This move is also indicative of how far connected devices have encroached into everyday life; gone are dusty old paper road atlases — people now rely on sat nav smarts to ensure they don’t get lost.