Despite my quest to look for innovation in all aspects of everyday life, I often amaze myself at the number of instances I remain oblivious to it, even when it is staring me right in the face and working in my favor.
For instance, there was the time I rented a beautiful new car from Hertz.It wasn’t long after I had the XM going that I found myself smoothly cruising the highway. My trip was supposed to be relatively short, but required driving not just on the highway, but through cities as well. The cruise control was set, but the car was behaving strangely, periodically slowing down for no apparent reason.
The first couple of times, I attributed the sudden fluctuations between deceleration and acceleration to engine problems. I decided to reset the cruise control several times, hoping that would solve the issue, and soon noticed that once the cruise control was off, the car operated perfectly. Must be a glitch in the cruise control then, I thought to myself, and focused intently on figuring out the possible cause.
It was then it hit me: the car wasn’t slowing down because of a glitch, it was slowing down based on traffic conditions! The minute the speed limit changed, the car slowed down to the same miles per hour I had set over the previous limit. If the car was close to another vehicle in front of me, it slowed down appropriately and only accelerated again once a lane opened up. It was operating exactly as it was programmed to.
After all, the car’s new technology wasn’t just about self-driving. It was also about making the entire experience safer for drivers and passengers alike. This was a new concept to someone such as myself, an owner of a six-year-old car with none of these new innovations. Before this, I had not experienced any of these features and had been blissfully unaware of all the magical properties of the rental car.
If there is one thing I learned from that experience, it was this: technology must be utilized with the sole purpose of adding value to people’s lives. The goal must always be to look for various ways to thrill and delight our customers in order to improve their overall experience and keep them satisfied–even if they have absolutely no clue.
Also published on Medium.