One of the best things to ever happen to the automotive industry in the past few years is Technology. The rise of technology has brought major and massive changes throughout the industry. The most improved aspect in a car with the help of technology apart from the obvious infotainment system is the safety of the cars. Safety has taken a huge leap thanks to the incorporation of bleeding-edge technology into the current generation of cars.
Most of these features have proved to be life-saving on more than one occasion making them such an integral part of a vehicle. The NHTSA requires the cars to be sold in the United States to come with some basic safety kit as standard no matter whatever the segment it is from. And unlike some other aspects of a car where you can compromise with, safety is something which no one no matter in any segment should compromise.
Now, these safety features can be classified as either active or passive safety features. The passive safety feature is those which come to play in the event of an accident. These may include the likes of airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, and emergency SOS services. Active safety features, on the other hand, are those which help in preventing the accidents before it even occurs. These might include the likes of advanced driver assist system (ADAS), electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock braking system (ABS), and traction control system (TCS).
The most positive change we have witnessed is the fact that these features, considered ‘premium’, were available in high-end cars only, till a few years ago. However, with ever-growing needs of the consumers, manufacturers have upped the game and have trickled these features in the budget cars as well. Who would have imagined 2021 Toyota Corolla SE getting AEB as a standard fitment? Agreed, it is reserved for a higher end trim level, but let’s not forget what’s the retail price of a Corolla. Moreover, being one of the best-selling models, consumers get the access to such tech at a relatively lower price point.
These active safety features come under the Level 1 of autonomous driving cars. We will look at some of these smart active safety features which prove to be life-saving in the event of an accident. We will not be focusing on other Levels of autonomous driving cars that come with safer technology like fully autonomous driving as of now. Those features are still under development and what we have here are fully working technologies that work perfectly well.
Advanced Driver Assists System (ADAS)
This is a feature that is nowadays found in almost all the cars in the automotive industry. The Advanced Driver Assists System (ADAS) which was initially available on ultra-premium luxury cars made its way to the luxury car segment. Now, this feature is further tickling down to the mass market cars with the likes of Volkswagen, Ford, Toyota, and Honda cars. All these manufacturers have incorporated the Advanced Driver Assists System in most of their models.
This ultimately makes way to even more manufacturers to get on the Advanced Driver Assists System (ADAS) bandwagon thus increasing the safety of all the cars on the road. Some of the notable Advanced Driver Assists Systems in the automotive industry include the likes of Ford’s Co-Pilot360, Subaru’s EyeSight, Toyota’s Safety Sense, and Honda’s Sensing Suite.
Advanced Driver Assists System (ADAS) is not just one feature to talk about. It is actually a suite of many intelligent active safety features which all come together as one package called the Advanced Driver Assists System. Some of the features that are part of the Advanced Driver Assists System and their function is given below.
Adaptive Cruise Control
This active feature makes sure that your car stays at the set vehicle speed. The system also ensures that the car slows down or accelerates by itself to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of your car without the need for driver inputs.
Lane Departure Warning
As the name suggests, this active safety feature makes sure that your car stays in the intended lane. The system alerts the driver if it detects the car making an unintended lane change without the driver’s inputs.
Lane Keep Assist
The Lane Keep Assist system helps the car to stay in its lane by steering the car. This feature uses a set of cameras and sensors to make sure that the car stays in its lane.
Every car has a blind-spot which basically is a spot where you can not see if a vehicle is present there from your driving position. The usual blind spots in a car fall around the A-pillar and the C-pillar near the rear quarter. The Blind-Spot Alert system lets the driver know about the vehicles in the car’s blind-spot by a warning symbol mostly in your wing mirrors or in the driver information display.
This ingenious system makes the backing out of parking space very much easier. If the system detects cross traffic when you are backing out of the parking space, it alerts the driver of the same with visual or audio signals. Some very clever systems are also smart enough to even show the direction of the cross-traffic in the infotainment screen of the car.
Automatic Emergency Braking
The Automatic Emergency Braking feature has become one of the most important features in recent times. As the name suggests, the system activates all the brakes of the car when it detects a collision in front of the car. This ultimately avoids the collision and thus saves a lot of lives in the process.
The highlight of this feature is the fact that the Automatic Emergency Braking system has a faster response time than an average human being. What this means is that the system can brake safer and precisely than what you can do. So, even when you are late to the party in detecting the collision and braking, the Automatic Emergency Braking System would have already done the same.
And if you sense the collision and start to brake, the system also works in conjunction with you to make sure that you brake in time and brake harder at times. This is one of the active safety features which is now making its way to almost all cars in the American automotive industry. And 20 manufacturers in the United States have already committed themselves to make this feature standard across their entire vehicle lineup by the September of 2022.
Teen Driver Technology
This technology is predominantly found only in General Motors cars. Now if you think that is good as it is just one company, you are totally mistaken. When it is General Motors that we are talking about, then it is not just General Motors.
We have Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, and Cadillac all of which are massive players in the United States automotive industry. And this Teen Driver technology is available in all the cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks that come under the General Motors conglomerate. As the name suggests, this technology is for those Teen drivers who are actually new to driving.
This feature applies lots of restrictions to your car when enabled thus making sure that the Teen Driver just focuses on driving. Some of the restrictions include the likes of notifying when driven over a certain speed, disabling the audio system when seatbelts are not used, and filtering out explicit content from SiriusXM Satellite Radio, if equipped with the same.
Video Rearview Mirror
This feature is a very basic yet useful feature and has to be added to all the cars. The Video Rearview Mirror technology makes use of the rearview camera of the car and displays the feed on the rearview mirror or the infotainment screen of the car. This feature comes in very handy when you have lots of stuff in your boot making your rearview mirror useless.
Unfortunately, this feature which is pretty much very easy to add in a car equipped with a rearview camera can not be seen widely used. Every manufacturer or at least the major players must make this feature standard in the entire lineup of their cars. It must not hurt that much to make the already equipped rearview camera to function as a rearview screen if their car.
Stolen Vehicle Tracking Software
The number of vehicles stolen each year is on a higher rise than never before. Last year, more than 720,000 motor vehicles were stolen according to the reports. This is no ordinary number and is quite shocking to believe but thankfully, almost 56 percent of these stolen vehicles were effectively recovered.
This 56 percent recovery rate is significantly higher than what it was last year and all the previous years. The main protagonist of this increasing recovery rate is the clever in-built technologies that come with the current generation cars. This helps the law enforcement is easily tracking down the stone motor vehicles and recovering them as soon as possible.
Many major automotive manufacturers like Hyundai, Subaru, Kia, and General Motors offer this tracking software with all their current generation cars. And while Subaru Ascent engine isn’t its biggest talking point, the kind of tech that’s offered in the car has surely grabbed a lot of eyeballs, and sales figures make it evident that people are willing out make compromises on the performance front, if a car fulfills the safety needs.
360 Degree Camera
The 360 Degree Camera technology is a very intelligent feature to have on your car. This feature is very effective and helpful when it comes to parking your car in tight parking conditions. It also helps the driver then backing out of the same parking space which is quite useful. As of now, this feature is still not found on all the mass-produced cars and can be seen only in some expensive luxury models.
But it is slowly getting tickled down to the mass production cars thanks to the involvement from major manufacturers in the United States automotive industry. The system uses cameras mounted almost everywhere on the car and shows a virtual 360-degree view of the car and surrounding.
The view is actually a top-down view of your car and the angle of the view can also be changed depending upon the driver’s needs. The 360 Degree Camera system is a great help when performing parallel parking. It is usually available as a standard feature but some manufacturers do ask a moderate premium for these features to be equipped on their cars.