Lifesaving Automotive Technology
April 18, 2019
By Blair Qualey
Published in Postmedia
The automotive industry is at the leading edge of innovation and the recent 2019 Vancouver International Auto Show put many of these leading advancements and latest technologies on display.
When one conjures up an image of auto innovation, electric vehicles, hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles pop to mind for many people. That’s not surprising given the green revolution we are in the midst of, and the fact that clean energy vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular option for many consumers. However, what is often lost in the conversation is the number of other developments that can make your drive more comfortable or even more importantly, contribute to greater driver and passenger safety.
In no particular order, the following are highlighted for their safety aspects and technological breakthroughs:
Steering Avoidance: While automatic braking systems have been on the market for some time, steering avoidance is the next logical step. Volvo, Lexus and other automakers are now introducing steering avoidance systems that are able to automatically swerve to miss objects when coming to a full stop to avoid a collision is not possible.
Automatic Emergency Braking: Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) uses sensors to determine if a forward crash may be imminent and automatically applies the brakes to diminish the severity or avoid a crash entirely. While not intended to be relied on, it’s meant as a last resort in the event a driver isn’t paying attention.
Lane Departure Warning: A momentary distraction is all it takes for a serious accident to occur and lane departure warning systems use cameras to warn a driver if their vehicle has drifted across a marked lane line. More advanced technology such as Lane Keeping Assist, can even help nudge your vehicle back into the proper lane. An important note here: many of these technologies that currently rely on radar and cameras for lane detection is at the mercy of weather. Expectations for the performance of lane keeping systems on a rainy or snowy day versus a sunny day should be adjusted, though the technology is improving all the time.
Rear Seat Alert: In response to the potential danger of a parent accidentally leaving a child in a rear car seat, a number of vehicles now have technology in place to remind drivers that a rear door was opened prior to a trip. However, the Hyundai Santa Fe goes a step beyond because it also continues to monitor the rear seat for motion after the vehicle is parked and all doors are locked.
Road Scanning: At this point in time, this feature is reserved for high end Mercedes Benz models and uses a camera to scan the road ahead to detect imperfections and adjust the vehicle’s suspension in order to account for them. It allows for a smoother ride and better overall handling capability.
Teen Driver Technology: Any parent will tell you that one of the most stressful experiences is the point when you turn over the car keys to your teenager. Several vehicle models have some form of teen driver limitations indicating when the vehicle is being driven over a certain speed or if seatbelts aren’t being used – but some new features also include a report card that provides more specific data including whether ABS or forward collision alert have been activated.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert: Parking lots are extremely common sites for fender-benders. Even with a rear-view backup camera, parking lots can be frustrating driving exercise and that’s why rear-cross traffic alert is so useful. Sensors built into the rear of the vehicle will alert the driver of approaching vehicles, shopping carts, or pedestrians who may have wandered behind your vehicle without you noticing.
What I have highlighted above is merely a sampling of some of the many technologies that are important from a safety perspective. Clearly there are price points associated with these features and these are available in only some models. So, do your research and determine which features you want or need. Your local BC new car dealer would be pleased to assist you in your search for a new vehicle with the latest technology
Are they necessary? If they save you from an accident that could have been otherwise avoided, you may be eternally grateful that you took the time and invested in a particular vehicle safety technology. And who knows, maybe ICBC will give you a break on your insurance if your vehicle features these safety technologies.
For the latest information on careers in automotive, visit: https://carsandjobs.com/
Blair Qualey is President and CEO of the New Car Dealers Association of BC. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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