Technology is changing and evolving so rapidly that it’s hard to catch up. There are so many new advancements that we’re living the dreams of the early science fiction writers. This is also the case when it comes to the technology in the cars we drive, with some developments already here and some not too far around the corner. Here’s our top eight new pieces of car tech that will shape the way of things to come.
This new development from Volvo should see a sharp decrease in pedestrian fatalities. The new V40 model is equipped with an airbag held beneath the bonnet of the car. When it senses a collision with the front bumper e.g. when the car hits a pedestrian, the bonnet lifts and deploys an airbag that climbs up the front windscreen. This protects the pedestrian, mainly their head, to soften the impact and reduce the chance of a fatal injury.
Mercedes’ new interface allows you to interact and control certain functions of your car through the natural speech function of Siri for the iPhone, which basically turns your car into KITT from the TV show Knight Rider. Using the Mercedes DriveKit Plus, you can tell your car to switch music tracks, post to your Twitter, look at the weather and your agenda and check your sat-nav. The use of natural speech in the infotainment integration means that drivers can keep their eyes on the road at all times.
Telematics black box
Heralded as the next big thing for helping to curb the rise of car insurance premiums, the telematics technology monitors specific driving behaviour like speed, acceleration and braking. It also detects what times of day you drive and on what kind of roads. This will be especially useful for those who consider themselves to be low-risk drivers, as they’ll now have a way of proving this to their insurer. The technology could also be useful in establishing details of an accident that are not normally apparent.
Google self-drive car
Once this kicks off, we truly have some future tech. Google have developed a car that uses a host of sensors to check its surroundings, enabling it to turn, brake, avoid obstacles and make delicate manoeuvres with ease. They believe that most car accidents are caused by human error, so in removing the human element we should see a lot less accidents on our roads. There is some truth to it, as the self-driving car has only had a single accident – while it was being driven by a person.
Ford’s MyKey technology is designed to put parents’ minds at ease when allowing their children to drive their car. The MyKey allows parents to limit the top speed of the car to 80mph, set a cap on the stereo volume at 44% of its max, and it will also give a warning sound whenever the seatbelt is unclicked. Some have argued that this is the start of a ‘Big Brother’ attitude to driving, but if it offers peace of mind and reduces accidents it can only be a good thing.
Emergency braking system
Featured at the Gadget Show Live, the new Volkswagen Up will be fitted with lasers on the front of the car that project 10m in front of it. If anything breaks the beam such as the back of another car, a pedestrian or an obstacle, the car will come to a complete stop. At the moment this only works for speeds up to 19mph, so it will be an asset to prevent accidents in busy city centres or in slow moving traffic.
Car manufacturers have used this for a few years – you feel vibrations in the steering wheel if you drift outside of the lane markings so you know your position on the road. Honda are taking this technology to the next level and integrating it with sat-nav technology. Rather than hearing a voice saying ‘turn left here’ accompanied by an on-screen graphic, Honda haptic feedback will vibrate motors in the steering wheel in an anti-clockwise motion, so the driver will feel rather than see or hear the instructions. This will be a more intuitive form of navigation so the driver isn’t distracted by paying too much attention to the sat nav.
Nothing to do with your sinuses here. Honda has been at it again with looking at a means of improving the problem of stop-start traffic. Sensors in the car detect any potential traffic problems further along by looking at the changes in speed from the cars in front of you. Then if one of the cars were to brake (usually causing a domino effect where all cars behind brake and all traffic stops) the system would advise you to increase your distance from the car in front of you. This means that traffic still flows freely and improves fuel consumption.
This guest post was written free of charge by Jamie Gibbs, the resident blogger for car insurance comparison site, Confused.com.
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