Safety technology in cars is constantly evolving. Car manufacturers are always finding new ways to keep us safe, from the humble seatbelt to pedestrian detection systems, via side-impact protection systems and ABS brakes.
But what can we expect to see in new models on the market? When buying a new car from a main dealer, such as the Jennings Motor Group, don’t be surprised if you find a few of the following technologies on your new vehicle.
New uses of cameras and sensors
Using cameras or sensors to aid the driver in certain situations, such as reverse parking, is nothing new. But some manufacturers have come up with more complex safety systems using these extra pairs of eyes. Systems that check whether a car is drifting out of its lane and give a warning signal to the driver have been around for a while. Auto Lane Keeping takes the idea a step further by allowing the car itself to make small adjustments to the steering. This keeps the car in its lane and eliminates the possibility of the driver not responding to warnings.
Until now, warnings given from these systems have been audible. But this is not always ideal. Ambient noise from the radio or the road could cause a driver to miss the warning. While hearing too many warnings, especially when they are false alarms, can be a source of annoyance. The Safety Alert Seat hopes to remedy this by using a vibrating driver’s seat. Danger coming from the left or right causes the seat to vibrate on the relevant side. Potential frontal collisions cause the whole seat to shake.
Blind spots are a major cause of car accidents. Another new innovation, again using a camera, is the Passenger Side Mirror Blind-spot Camera. The camera helps with lane changes by displaying images on the central display screen whenever the right indicator is turned on.
Another common type of accident is the low-speed, rear-end collision. A new system uses an infrared sensor to watch the traffic in front. When travelling between two and 19 miles per hour, the system automatically applies the brakes when the cars ahead stop.
One safety feature so common that it is hard to imagine there was ever a time before it, is the windscreen wiper. Unfortunately, the side windows of cars do not have wipers, which means sideways visibility is compromised during heavy rain. Hydrophobic windows hope to remedy this by repelling water, thus preserving visibility.
For improved visibility at night, forward-facing infrared cameras are being introduced on some models to detect animals or pedestrians ahead of a vehicle. The images are then reproduced in bold colours on the night-view display.
Technology never stops
When the seat belt was first introduced as standard around the middle of the last century, who could have predicted the rate at which safety innovations would develop? Nobody knows what the future holds for the world of car safety, but if the past 50 years are anything to go by car manufacturers will continue to find high-tech ways to keep us safe on the road.