What Are The 10 Latest Advances In Vehicle Technology?
Technology in all industries continues to escalate at a startling pace but the advancements in vehicles is especially rapid. Intensive research and design ensures the very latest models often outperform those of just a few months earlier. Many of the technological advancements highlighted here are usually common to more than one brand. Safety features are at the forefront along with autonomous capabilities and ecological fuel economy.
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1. Safe Exit Assistance - Hyundai Santa Fe
The unique Safe Exit feature of the Hyundai Santa Fe has been designed to increase passenger safety. It prevents collisions caused through the doors of a stationery car being opened into the path of another vehicle that is approaching from the rear. Sensors built into each door activate an alarm when detecting an oncoming vehicle then automatically locks the door. Part of the Safe Exit system is designed to prevent the tragic accidents where babies and young children die of heatstroke because their parents have forgotten they are still in the rear of the car. Once the Hyundai Santa Fe has been locked the Safe Exit system is activated if it detects movement in the car's back seats and sends an alert to the driver's smartphone. In addition, it triggers the horn and lights to warn passers-by of the danger.
2. Virtual Cockpit - Audi Q3
The majority of vehicles now feature standardised digital gauges and sophisticated screen displays. The Virtual Cockpit of the Audi Q3 is particularly advanced. The dashboard includes a large, 12.3 inch screen that displays a full-sized navigational map with a bird's eye placement. It's conveniently positioned directly behind and slightly above the steering wheel for clear visibility without distracting the driver from the road ahead. It's a technological introduction that could signal the end of using a separate satellite navigational device which is usually more awkwardly placed at the side of the console. Future developments in the automotive industry will see a rise in V2X technology that is similar to the Internet of Things to connect vehicles to everything in the surrounding area to provide information such as traffic alerts, the location of pedestrians and the timing used on traffic lights.
3. Autonomous Driving - Nissan Altima
Advancements that allow vehicles to take more responsibility for driving are becoming commonplace through various assistance programs. Nissan's Pro Pilot system uses cameras and sensors to keep the car in front at a safe distance while maintaining a central lane position. It's an introduction that is ideal for taking the boredom out of driving on motorways or being trapped in slow-moving traffic jams. The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has similar autonomous features with the addition of voice recognition control and the capability of changing lane by simply tapping the steering wheel. Mercedes' Distronic system provides enhanced road handling when negotiating corners. In the future, autonomous technology will enable cars to be driven longer distances with little intervention from the driver.
4. Electric Hybridisation - Volvo S60
Engine refinement and lighter bodywork are contributing to a reduction in carbon emissions but some manufacturers are developing hybrid models (PHEV) that include electrical power to supplement the use of traditional fuel. In addition to its 2.0 litre engine, the Volvo S60 has an electric motor that is situated near the rear axle. Its lithium-ion battery has a 10.4kW output that provides twenty-one miles of road use when used separately making it ideal for short journeys and reducing atmospheric pollution. To recharge the battery, simply plug in to the standard, domestic electric supply for two and a half hours.
5. Steering Collision Avoidance - Lexus ES
Technological advancements continue to improve safety on the roads for drivers and pedestrians. The Safety System+ 2.0 is fitted as standard in Lexus models. It uses sensors and infra red beams to detect obstructions on the road including cyclists, pedestrians and other cars. The system implements autonomous technology to steer the car around the obstacle and avoid accidents. Other manufacturers such as Volvo and Skoda have also introduced similar technology to provide extra safety for all road users.
6. Bluetooth and WiFi Connectivity - Skoda Karoq Edition
The interior of the Skoda Karoq Edition is packed with technological features including DAB radio but there is also the convenience of WiFi and Bluetooth connection. Using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited but with features such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay staying connected while travelling is easy. All of Toyota's models are fully-equipped to provide convenient recharging of mobile phones during journeys. The Avalon offers the choice of plugging phones into the USB ports that are positioned amongst the front and rear seating or using pads for cable-free convenience. Passengers benefit from being able to access in-car entertainment through mobile devices. Ford are reputedly interested in futuristic developments that concentrate on virtual reality headsets providing passengers with the opportunity to experience different landscapes to the one being driven through.
7. Interior Cameras - Honda Odyssey
Travelling with a full load of young children can sometimes be difficult for drivers who need to keep a check on what they are doing. With Honda's innovative Cabin Watch system, a camera relays events in the rear seating to a screen on the dashboard. The system is helping drivers to concentrate on the road ahead. There is also a Cabin Talk facility to make conversation with rear seat passengers easier.
8. Keyless Entry - Ford Focus
Following on from the development of door number pads to key in a security code to open and lock cars is remote technology. Ford have introduced a keyless app that allows drivers to control door locks by remote control through their smartphones. Remote capabilities also enable control of lights, sounding the horn and starting the ignition. Other features include a tracking device to help drivers who have forgotten where they have parked.
9. Electric Power - Nissan Leaf e+
Reducing greenhouse gases is now a prime concern for manufacturers in the automotive industry. Cutting carbon emissions has seen a realistic development of mainstream electric cars that are as stylish as petrol-driven vehicles. The electric Leaf e+ from Nissan even features a single charge that provides an extended 226 mile range powered by its 62 kW lithium-ion battery. The Leaf also includes an innovative single pedal to operate both the brakes and accelerator. Tesla specialise in electric cars and is continually adding to its network of thirty minute Super Chargers to prevent lengthy interruptions on long journeys.
10. Continuously Variable Transmission - Kia Forte
Fuel efficiency is a common aim amongst car manufacturers. While some are venturing down the electric route, Kia have been combining new technology with existing engineering principles. Kia's recent development of an automatic, continuously variable transmission is contributing to a reduction in fuel of up to 7% compared to a models with a manual version. The streamlined, oil-cooled engine has been designed using the alternative Atkinson cycle and a chain-driven belt to further enhance fuel economy.