Six of the best tech features already available to buyers
The latest cutting-edge technologies available now
Most car makers offer a connected smartphone app to make driving a lot easier.
Autonomous vehicles may be a little while off, but car makers are currently kitting out their vehicles with cutting-edge technologies, making driving a lot easier for many. We look at six that are available in several cars right now.
Smartphones and apps
Smartphones have changed our lives and now, most car makers offer a connected smartphone app to make driving a lot easier too. Many apps will allow you check tyre pressure or start the car remotely on a cold winter morning. For example, BMWs have an app which allows the driver interact and connect with the vehicle. With many cars on the market today, drivers are able to send navigation details straight to the car, look at the fuel level, lock the car remotely, and turn on the lights. BMW is currently working to integrate Alexa with its vehicles.
Lane departure warning
We all try to keep our eyes on the road and our hands in the ten-to-two position, but unfortunately distractions do happen.
Lane departure warning systems use cameras to check if a car has drifted across a marked lane line, giving a notification to the driver that they’ve moved out of lane. More advanced technology can help move you back into the proper lane, so if you do become distracted by something unexpected, this technology could save you from being involved in a serious incident.
Adaptive cruise control
By using a number of sensors built into a car, adaptive cruise control can match the speed of the car in front, meaning you don’t need to constantly hit the accelerator and brake while on the motorway.
Some systems allow the car to be brought to a complete stop and then will start again, making stop-and-go traffic, often found on motorways, a lot less frustrating.
Nissan’s ProPILOT is a driver-assistance technology designed for motorway use. It combines steering assist, acceleration and braking that can help the driver in heavy motorway traffic and long commutes. The ProPILOT system uses a radar sensor that detects the vehicle ahead and a forward-facing camera that detects lane markers.
Automatic emergency braking
Automatic emergency braking or AEB uses a number of sensors to establish if a forward collision is imminent and automatically applies the brakes. This can lessen the severity or avoid the crash entirely.
Many cars have the system available today but it is only meant as a last resort and drivers should not rely on it to stop the car.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto allow you plug in your smart phone and it takes over the big screen in your car.
This helps to simplify the car’s control scheme and a more familiar screen will replace it. You can then access things like your music and sat nav. Most car manufacturers are making cars that can support this system.
A more cutting-edge technology which still has a way to go is vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. Autonomous vehicles (AV) are the next big step, and this technology will become vital to support it into the future. It will allow cars talk to other vehicles, as well as much of the infrastructure surrounding them. This will help AVs operate more safely.
Currently, the 2017 Mercedes E-Class uses V2V communication in order to send information about weather conditions, traffic or other useful information to other Mercedes cars on the road.