Automotive technology has developed at such a fast pace that today’s new mainstream automobiles have many features that were only offered on high-end models before and even with a premium price tag.
But technology, once considered futuristic, is available on commuter-friendly compact sedans thanks to economies of scale, including adaptive cruise control with a stop-and-go feature.
Here’s our take on the most impressive automotive technologies in 2020!
Lane-Keeping Assist Technology
Lane-keeping assist acts as a semi-autonomous driving feature but is designed not to supplant the driver but to support her.
Cameras read the lane marking and often follow the car ahead to set the lane boundaries, meaning the systems need well-marked paths.
When the system is able to set the lane boundaries, an indicator will turn green in the instrument cluster, signaling that the system is ready to assist with steering duties.
Gently direct the best lane-keeping help systems to maintain the location of the car in the middle of the lane. Often the weaker systems ping-pong back and forth from one side of the lane to another.
Lane-keeping assistance also fails on windy roads, so it is better used on highways. The steering inputs for the system are usually gentle and easily overruled by the pilot.
Although lane-keeping assist can perform steering duties on its own momentarily, the systems are designed to be used with driver input.
If the driver’s hand is not detected on the steering wheel, a flashing message will tell you to place your hands on the wheel.
Keyless and Push Button Start
The next stage beyond the key fob remote is passive keyless entry, combined with push button start, allowing a driver to unlock, start, shut down, and lock the car without touching the key fob.
The device works by detecting the fob in your pocket or purse, and when you pull the handle or press a button on the handle, it unlocks the door.
A simple push button ignition starts the car inside the vehicle, as long as it detects the fob.
To lock the car after parking, the outside door handle normally has a touch-sensitive spot or button which you press to lock the car, again with the remote on your head. Lights flash and/or a horn beep indicate the car is secured.
Automatic emergency braking, together with forward collision warning, is one of the most significant safety developments of recent years and has been shown to minimize rear-end collisions.
It is especially useful when it comes to heavy traffic, where a moment’s inattention may leave a driver looking up to see traffic stop ahead.
This system checks the road ahead, and if the closing speed to a slowed or stopped vehicle ahead indicates the danger of a collision, an alarm will first sound – a flashing light sometimes accompanied by an alert tone.
If the driver does not respond, either by braking or steering, the system will automatically apply the brakes.
Currently, backup cameras are required in all new cars, but large vehicles and those with vision impairments really profit from the more powerful 360-degree cameras.
With this feature, a set of cameras around the car send data to a central computer that can sew together a top-down view of the car that can be shown in a split-screen display along with the rear camera view.
Wireless Phone Charging
Ever get into your car for a long drive, remember your phone is nearly out of the battery and didn’t have access to the right cable along the way?
Just about every new phone available today comes with wireless charging capabilities.
With this technology now included in most phones, manufacturers have started incorporating wireless charging pads into their cars, usually placing them somewhere on the center console.
Rear cross-traffic alert is frequently combined with a blind-spot warning since they use the same cameras or radar sensors, but a separate role is performed by rear cross-traffic alarm.
It alerts the driver to approaching traffic from either direction while backing up – usually with both an audible and a visual signal.
Some systems combine rear cross-traffic alert with automatic braking, which means that if the driver ignores the alarm, the car will automatically brake to avoid backing into an oncoming vehicle’s lane.
They say today is just the beginning of a whole new stage of innovation across the board. Automotive technology promises to be more slick and more safe so we can be sure the future of 4-wheel travel is set to get better!