The automotive world is growing from strength to strength. It’s not just the appearance of vehicles that is changing for the better, the technology that defines that all-important driving experience is evolving too. Cars and other vehicle types are getting smarter, a fact that means drivers have more help than ever before. Self-driving cars may be old news but 2019 is set to be an exciting year for the automotive industry. Here we take a closer look at the technologies driving us towards a better, more efficient and safer future.
ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance Systems first arrived on the scene back in 2014. Initial developments were spurred by the US Department of Transportation, who announced that as of May 2018 it would be compulsory for all new vehicles under 4,500kg to have a rear view camera. The act was named after a toddler who died as a result of his father failing to see him as he backed his SUV out of the drive. In response to the act many vehicle manufacturers got to work on various safety alerts to ensure no tragedy like this could happen again.
Five years on and the latest innovations in ADAS couldn’t be more exciting. An increasing number of vehicles, including rental cars, are fully equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems. These include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control and traction control. Older vehicles don’t have to miss out on the action either. Many Advanced Driver Assistance Systems are accessible as add-on packages.
2. Advanced voice commands
Inspired by Alexa-like personal assistants, car voice commands are becoming more advanced, integrated and connected. With the latest innovations you can interact with your vehicle in detail. Modern day devices now have the power to find parking based on location, affordability and safety. Once you arrive at your desired parking facility, your in-car personal assistant can even pay the fee on your behalf!
A car’s use of maps is also becoming more sophisticated. You can select your route based on a long list of criteria. The most up-to-date navigational map systems allow you to choose a route based on pollution levels (perfect if you have asthma or other breathing issues), safety and even the scenery.
3. In-car health check
Your rental car’s new and improved use of maps isn’t the only emerging vehicle technology that will be good for your health. Vehicle manufacturer Ford is currently working on an in-car system that will monitor your health as you drive.
The driver’s seat will be equipped with an electrocardiography reader which will monitor heart rate. They’re even working on a system that monitors glucose levels to help drivers with diabetes take care of their health on the road. This in-car health check system will be like having your own personal doctor riding along with you everywhere you go.
4. Brain-assisted control
How many collisions could have been avoided altogether if the driver braked a little faster or swerved at the right moment? With brain-assisted control, your physical reactions can be just as fast as your mental responses. This technology uses the driver’s brainwaves to detect what they will do next and has already been proven to speed up reactions by up to 0.5 seconds. At the moment, brain-assisted control is only made possible by the driver wearing full on, electrode-enhanced head gear. The next stage for developers is to make this equipment wireless and easy to wear.
5. Shared autonomous vehicles
The latest research shows that the average car spends 80% of its time idle. With the shared autonomous vehicles currently in development however, you can share your vehicle and even split the cost. Co-owning or co-renting is on the horizon, which is great news for drivers looking for a more economical way to own or hire a car. Younger people in particular will benefit from this shared autonomous vehicle technology as car insurance prices and running costs continue to rise.
The self-driving ability of these new shared vehicles also means that for the first time people with disabilities who are unable to drive due to their condition or elderly people who may no longer be fit to drive don’t have to lose their freedom.
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