The automobile industry is slowly recovering from the effects of the global financial crisis. Surprisingly, the crisis of recent years did not slow down the development of new technologies.
The majority of new developments are concerned with safety, although there are a few that are simply added luxuries. Manufacturers usually introduce new features in their best cars, then the technology slowly catches on and becomes standard across their full range. Here are some of the latest innovations in automotive safety technology.
Many automobiles on the road are equipped with rear parking sensors that beep as the driver gets closer to objects behind. The latest development in this technology adds the ability to detect approaching vehicles while you are reversing, with an alarm sounding inside the vehicle when objects get near.
This is another extension of existing technology. Night vision displays the scene around the vehicle on a dashboard display to enhance the driver’s ability to see the road. The latest development of in-car night vision adds a bright light to identify pedestrians that can even show the direction they are going. When you get closer to the pedestrian, a warning sound is set off.
Automatic high beam
Driving at night can be difficult when you are faced with drivers coming toward you with their high beams on; they often forget to switch back to normal lights. There is now a system that automatically dips your headlights when a car approaching from the opposite direction is detected. Mercedes-Benz has gone further, introducing a system that adjusts the amount of beam according to the position of the other vehicle. It will gradually reduce it as the car approaches.
Many parents like to give their children the freedom of the road and the independence that goes with it. Unfortunately this creates the concern that the child will drive excessively fast or not concentrate properly because of distractions, such as loud music. Ford was the first manufacturer to address this concern. It created a system that allowed parents to limit the speed of the car and to limit the maximum volume of the audio system. It even sounds a continuous alarm if the occupants drive with their seatbelts off.
GPS tracking has been available for years via an additional piece of equipment and a subscription to a service provider. It has mainly been used in a commercial context to pinpoint drivers and relay messages.
Ford, however, has now added this system to its options list with a small, portable device that can be moved into any vehicle you choose. The device will track where the vehicle is and update its position every 10 seconds. The information can be accessed via the Internet, and includes an option to have a warning message appear on your smartphone if the car is taken out of a certain area or is being driven too fast.
Cameras have been available on automobiles for many years, but were usually restricted to rearview positions. There is now competition across the auto manufacturers to provide the best possible panoramic view from the vehicle, so many new cars have between five and seven cameras fitted, in positions all around the vehicle.
This system will monitor a driver’s usual behavior and techniques while driving, which becomes the baseline by which all the person’s driving is judged. If the system determines that the individual’s driving is vastly different from what it should be, an alarm alerts the driver of the need to get off the road to take a break.
The world revolves around the Internet, so it was only a matter of time before this online access was added to vehicles. Current systems work by using hotspots and provide intermittent access. This technology is rapidly becoming feasible, making vehicles Internet hotspots, regardless of standard signal coverage.
Things are changing in the auto industry, and with every passing year, new technologies are being developed. The autonomous car is no longer something new and unusual. We have great expectations from the world’s most innovative manufacturers. What should we expect five years from now?
John Smith and Design911.co.uk!0
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