Our world is in constant change, and our automobiles are no different. New technology is constantly being developed and integrated into our vehicles. Over time many new features have become available to new vehicles owners with a huge spike in technology over the past few years. Most of this new technology is generally simple to use, however it takes advanced computers hidden deep within our vehicles electrical system in order to make the features work seamlessly with our daily commute.
Safety has always been a key concern with auto manufacturers, and recently there have been a lot of advancements that make our driving experience safer. Some of these advancements are in clear view and complete control of the driver; like the navigation system available in most new cars. The new age navigation systems have become so easy to use you can simply hit a button and speak your destination. The use of this system has become so useful consumers don’t even have to look at the map, because most navigation systems actually read our directions to us so we can keep our eyes on the road.
Other advances in safety technology include systems that use cameras and radar to detect traffic ahead of the driver and will alert the driver of a possible collision by an audible tone or a vibration of the seat. Higher end vehicles have even integrated systems that will begin braking to assist a driver when the computer feels a collision is imminent. These systems known as active safety systems have been proven to reduce injury and damage in the event of a collision by reducing speeds quicker than the driver possibly could have. Another part of the integrated safety features include curtain side airbags which deploy from the upper paneling of the vehicle roof, often reducing neck and head trauma in the event of an accident as well.
The most interesting advance in technology is a device that has been used for years in airplanes and helicopters. The “black box” also known as an Event Data Recorder has been installed in some vehicles since 1996, however more than 85% of new vehicles now come with this device hidden somewhere under the dashboard. This device collects data in the seconds before collision and often afterwords. Depending on the manufacturer the device will sometimes even collect driver input as well to help law enforcement determine what actions the driver took to avoid the accident.
We all know how annoying it is to have a flat tire, or how dangerous it can be to hit your brakes and have a mechanical failure somewhere along the way. Well we now have tires with extra support on the inside that prevents them from going completely flat. These tires known as “Run flats” help the driver to maintain control and even drive to the nearest repair facility. Technology has also proven beneficial by allowing us to completely get rid of the mechanical links between our pedals and their activated components. Both our braking system and our throttle system are controlled by the vehicles computer. As the driver depresses the pedal a small voltage is sent to the computer which then relays information to the corresponding system allowing a quicker application time.
Even though safety is always an important factor in the design of today’s automobile, so is convenience. As consumers we now have vehicles that can be programmed to drive as a luxury car or a sports car, often with corresponding horsepower and gas mileage. The Audi A8 has a suspension system that can be raised or lowered to the drivers want or need. Newer vehicles are also coming equipped with 40 volt systems, as opposed to the common 12 volt systems seen in most cars; this is providing the power needed for our electrical demanding world. The Lexus LS 460 L even has the capability of parallel parking itself. With only a little input from the driver, along with brake control the vehicle will conveniently steer itself into a spot.
It is well known that most technology advancement is commonly hard for the general public to understand, most of the systems integrated into our cars to day work on their own, or with minimal driver input. Vehicles now have the capability to steer themselves into parking spots, control braking in event of emergency, and navigation systems that tell us where to go, a future where cars effectively drive us to our destination without us doing anything is very possible. Always remember vehicles can be deadly, even with the latest safety technology, so always pay attention and keep your eyes on the road.