The motor market may be slow in adapting new car technologies but these technologies are appearing at a rather blistering pace. Most technologies are in the realm of safety while some come in as pure convenience. Normally, these innovative features will be found on higher-end cars, options later trickle down to less expensive options as awareness kicks in and demand for these gadgets grow.
Equipment and features which the public take for granted today such as automatic windshield wipers, electric and key-less ignition, airbags, power steering, cruise control and many more began not long ago and unexpected advances are taking place, dazzling the public.
Here are some of those most advanced technologies and are constantly being improved by the day that may become mainstream in tomorrows’ cars.
Rear-mounted Radar System
Backing out of a squeezed parking space can be a nightmare for a semi-skilled driver or rather an adventure for the skilled driver. Although the rear-pointing radar system has been around for quite some time helping to alert drivers of unseen object immediately behind them such as a wall, a fence, tree or even another vehicle, new Radar technology searches for cross traffic that is approaching. It will sound an alarm when it detects cross traffic when you are backing up.
Chrysler’s version is available even in its minivans dubbed the “Cross Path Detection System” while Ford’s system is known as the “Cross Traffic Alert”. Both use outboard mirror-mounted alarm / visual indicators.
Automatic High-Beam Control
In the new redesigned Lexus RX and the 450h, there is a system that illuminates and dims the high-beam headlights automatically relative to oncoming traffic. Cameras mounted on the front of the rear-view mirrors detects when the vehicle is closing in on approaching traffic as well as those vehicles travelling in the same direction. The system then disengages the high beam light. Mercedes goes a step further with this technology with its “Adaptive High beam Assist” found in the S-class and the E-class. Its version reacts by a gradual increase or lowering of light distribution based on the distance of oncoming traffic. Also, it is capable of dimming high beams in sharp turns and re-engaging the high beams when the road is clear of oncoming traffic.
Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection
Night vision is not a new technology per say, with Cadillac having offered it back in 2000. However, the Mercedes Benz updated version, called “Night View Assist Plus”, an upgrade of its night view assist of 2005, and has a system capable of accurately pinpointing pedestrians highlighting them on the dashboard display using the thermal / night-vision cameras. It also shows the direction that the pedestrian is moving. As the distance closes in between the vehicle and pedestrian, a warning appears on the night vision monitor as well as the windshield head-up display.
Android-Based In-Car Operating Systems
Although having come late into the Smartphone market, Google’s Android OS is playing catch-up’ fast and is about to make an overhaul in the in-car multimedia systems market.
This software is taking on giants like Apple and Microsoft by working with leading car makers such as Audi, Honda, Hyundai and GM alongside processor company NVIDIA in the dubbed “Open Automotive Alliance”. They, in togetherness, aim to create a common Android-based Platform that will be suitable for automotive apps with an access of almost 1 million apps.
Customizable Instrument Displays
And on future technology innovations, you can now trade in your two screens for one, thanks to innovation coming from Audi’s “Virtual Cockpit” which is to debut in the new generation Audi TT coupe due late 2014.
The German car maker combines the infotainment and navigation system functions into one high resolution Digital Instrument Cluster in the TT, with two display modes, Classic and Infotainment. The former displays the tacho and speedo with the large conventional dials while in the latter, these gauges will be smaller items in each corner of the screen to pave way for the navigation, media or vehicle functions.
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