Safety and High-Tech Cars
April 16, 2018
Technological advances in cars have become rapid and far reaching. Not only are self-driving cars being imagined, they are under development and might be the wave of the future. But, for now, how are the advances lining up to improve drivers’ safety and comfort?
Infotainment and Safety
Today, comfort has less to do with seat design and more to do with connectivity. People do not want to be separated from their cell phones. Distracted driving from cell phone use is on the rise and poses a significant risk of serious car accidents. Car manufacturers are attempting to address the connectivity and safety divide through integrated infotainment systems. The new designs attempt to reduce the distracted driving aspects of connectivity. For example, big screen GPS navigation systems are commonly being integrated into the dashboard. However, they are not necessarily intuitive and so can also distract a driver’s attention. Efforts are underway to enable convenient hands-free GPS use, so drivers can keep their eyes on the road.
Other companies are developing add-ons to provide safety features. Splitsecnd offers a plug-in device that includes location tracking, crash detection, and a 24/7 emergency call center. In the event of a car accident, emergency responders can be alerted immediately about the accident and its location. The system can be integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
The technology innovation does not stop with infotainment. To improve safety, manufacturers have installed light and sound warnings when other vehicles or obstacles are too close. There has also been progress in fitting new cars with automation systems that assist drivers in operating their vehicles. More than one brand offers a self-parking feature.
Tesla’s automated system is more advanced. Its Autopilot feature includes a camera, radar, a series of ultrasonic sensors, and a high precision GPS. Although more complete automation is anticipated in the future, options such as cruise control and self-parking are currently in use. Tesla has beta versions of self-driving vehicles that are being road tested. Tesla is also selling cars with technology that can be wirelessly upgraded to allow for more self-driving features to be used in the future.
Modern cars are built with more safety and comfort features than ever before. With the average life span of a vehicle being more than 10 years, it will take time for any broad-based reductions in car accidents from these innovations to take place.
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