It wasn’t that long ago when airbags were an innovative safety feature. However, while seat belts and airbags are designed to protect us if we have an accident, modern technology has allowed manufacturers to create a plethora of systems to help us avoid getting into the accident in the first place. Whether you love them or hate them, many of them are quickly becoming standard on new vehicles, and here are just a few of the ones we think are here to stay.
Some manufacturers are just starting to include a couple of the newer features on certain models. Manufacturers of cheaper models, like the SEAT Ibiza, tend to be later adopters, as the price of the technology goes down as it’s more heavily used. Other manufacturers, like Mercedes or BMW, are expected to adopt new technologies and be at the cutting edge of innovation, as becomes apparent when you read the feature list for a new Mercedes SLC and other prominent new vehicles. Here are some of the best of these features:
Lane assist is designed to reduce the chances of you drifting out of your lane while driving. Most vehicles will give an audible warning to alert the driver, others will gently vibrate the wheel to let you know you’re crossing a white line. However, if you’re a driver that drifts between lanes without using your indicator, then the system will probably become annoying.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind spot monitoring is designed to provide drivers with a warning when a passing vehicle is in a position they potentially can’t see. Traditional blind spot solutions included an additional stick-on mirror to provide an increased range of vision. Most modern systems use an eye-catching warning light located on the far side of your wing mirror. When lit, you know there is a vehicle next to you even if you can’t see them in your mirror.
A huge number of drivers don’t like parking. This system will essentially park the car for you. Some newer systems are fully autonomous, whereas some of the earlier versions still required the driver to control the throttle. The car uses 360-degree sensors to position the car perfectly, avoiding any unnecessary bumps or scrapes.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Nearly all-mainstream manufacturers have already adopted ACC in at least one model. It’s very similar to traditional cruise control, except it has forward facing sensors that allow it to read and react to the traffic conditions ahead of your vehicle. If the car in front of you slows down, your car will also slow down to match its speed and will return back to your desired speed as the traffic in front speeds back up.
Unless you’re deliberately trying to crash your car, autonomous emergency braking is a great feature. If a crash looks imminent, the car will apply the brakes to prevent the collision, or at the very least, minimise the force of the impact.
Many people think there will come a point where driving is completely handed over from a human to a vehicles AI. While some car manufacturers are experimenting with full AI systems, most of them are quite limited. Many of the features mentioned above are a single component of what would be required for safe autonomous driving.
As these individual components are developed further and become more accepted, it won’t take long for fully autonomous driving to follow suit.