What Are Some Types of Vehicle Technology Advancements

What Are Some Types of Vehicle Technology Advancements.

Connected Cars: A Guide to New Vehicle Engineering

As the race to innovate autonomous cars picks up speed, more automakers are introducing more avant-garde safety, infotainment and semiautonomous features to vehicles. Car tech has graduated from big, in-dash touch on screens to technologies that tin can steer a machine down the highway, connect information technology to smart home devices and even talk dorsum to you.

At the same time, car buyers are increasingly focusing on tech rather than torque.

More than than half of shoppers now say that in-vehicle engineering is more important than a car’south brand, according to a recent Autotrader study. Today’south drivers also believe safety technologies, including blind-spot detection and forward collision-warning systems, should be standard on all vehicles.

Credit: BMW

(Image credit: BMW)

Indeed, 3 out of iv drivers who own a vehicle with some grade of advanced driver assistance system (ADAS), such as auto-braking, said it makes them a ameliorate and safer driver, according to the survey. The National Highway Traffic Safe Administration also noted that 94 percent of accidents today are due to driver mistake, so it’s crucial to empathize how these technologies work and how they can protect you.

Despite this enthusiasm and momentum, information technology’s still difficult to make sense of all the bachelor high-tech options, many of which use different names for similar features, or use similar names for very different technologies. So consider this guide your comprehensive navigation system for everything that’s available.

What y’all’ll pay

Note that virtually of these options cannot be purchased separately. Instead, automakers offer them as function of a technology or safety bundle, with prices starting around $1,700 but easily reaching $3,500 or more. Furthermore, some technologies are available only on particular trim levels or special models, which bulldoze up the price further.

The expert news is that many of the technologies are trickling down from high-finish vehicles to budget compact cars, and a growing number are becoming standard features, such as emergency braking.

Infotainment

Connectivity: Built-in vs. bring your own

A “connected” car refers to any infotainment in-dash arrangement that can ship and receive updated information wirelessly via the net. These systems normally have impact screens and offering vocalization control, but they vary widely in terms of capabilities and support for smartphone apps. Each automaker offers its own system, and there are often several unlike infotainment systems within a unmarried automobile line.

In the past, the chief differentiator between infotainment systems has been whether the auto has its own built-in cellular connexion or relies on the driver’s smartphone to connect to the internet. However, every bit updated mapping and other software in the motorcar accept become more than of import, more automakers are including what they telephone call “wireless modems” (pregnant a cellular information connection). Many analysts predict that, inside the next 2 years, most new cars volition be connected.

The dashboard infotainment system of the Volvo XC90. Credit: Volvo

(Paradigm credit: The dashboard infotainment arrangement of the Volvo XC90. Credit: Volvo)

Connected cars with built-in wireless connections can accept advantage of options such as the ability to start or unlock the vehicle from anywhere,track teenage drivers and enable anti-theft features, such as remotely stopping a stolen car. After a free trial period, a monthly or annual subscription is unremarkably required, starting around $fifteen a month. (Additional fees may be required for turning the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot.)

Connected car systems no longer automatically include onboard navigation systems. With free smartphone-based navigation programs, which are continually updated, companies similar Mitsubishi have moved abroad from such expensive options, instead assuasive new owners to brandish navigation information from their phones on the auto’s in-dash display.

Continued cars with built-in wireless connections let you lot commencement or unlock the vehicle from anywhere, as well equally track teenage drivers and remotely stop a stolen machine.

Notwithstanding, built-in navigation systems take the advantage of working even when there’south no cellular coverage. And higher-resolution built-in nav systems are necessary for time to come semiautonomous and fully autonomous driving features, and then smartphone apps will not completely supplant such services.

Apple CarPlay: Siri in the dash

While drivers can utilise a few selected smartphone apps, like Pandora, in almost infotainment systems, all-in-one apps like Apple’s CarPlay are at present more pop. CarPlay mirrors a preselected group of apps in a series of screens designed for piece of cake legibility and use on a connected machine’southward LCD screen. CarPlay apps include maps, music and messaging programs. CarPlay works with iPhone 5 or later models, and a Lightning cable is recommended then that the phone’south ability doesn’t run out. And for condom purposes, the phone’s screen remains locked while it’due south plugged into the car.

Apple CarPlay brings iOS features behind the wheel. Credit: Apple

(Image credit: Apple CarPlay brings iOS features behind the bike. Credit: Apple)

CarPlay is now available in scores of cars ranging from Acura to Volvo. However, most car systems cannot exist upgraded, and so if yous want this feature, ask the dealership before you lot purchase. Apple iPhone owners should also know that CarPlay’s functions are limited to what’s in the phone; you cannot employ Siri to accommodate the temperature in the motorcar or access other vehicle functions.

MORE: Apple CarPlay FAQ: Everything You Need to Know

For older cars, aftermarket in-dash replacement systems from Alpine, JVC, Kenwood, Pioneer and Sony are also available with CarPlay.

Android Automobile: Google Maps in the nuance

Android Motorcar is Google’s answer to CarPlay and boasts many of the same features, such equally navigation and vocalism command, as well every bit a wider array of apps, all of which are available on the dashboard screen when an Android phone is continued. Android Car also at present offers the wildly pop Waze live traffic and navigation plan — a definite plus.

Android Auto takes advantage of Google Assistant and Maps for navigation. Credit: Google

(Epitome credit: Android Auto takes advantage of Google Assistant and Maps for navigation. Credit: Google)

Like Apple tree’s CarPlay, Android Auto is at present available in scores of vehicles. About cars with continued in-dash systems are now compatible with both. Google’southward software is subject area to the aforementioned restrictions as Apple’s when it comes to controlling aspects of the auto, but it tends to exist faster for navigation.

Alexa: Voice assistants in the machine

Vocalism recognition isn’t new to cars; it’south been in navigation systems for years. And today, through a connected smartphone, yous tin can even admission Apple’southward Siri or Google Assistant. But in those cases, phonation commands are limited. They can’t exist used to remotely start a car or open up its windows. Siri can’t even change the radio station.

Amazon’s Alexa, on the other hand, is intended — via specific commands or “skills” — to collaborate with thousands of connected devices. It can turn on lights, open door locks or order pizza. Now it’southward beingness used to connect living rooms to cars.

Automakers — including BMW, Ford, Hyundai and Nissan — are adding Alexa to their vehicles. In about implementations, Alexa skills are strictly 1-manner — from the home to the car — and piggyback on existing machine apps. In other words, calling out Alexa triggers the phone’southward app, so options are limited to a subset of what’southward available on the phone. You tin can ask Alexa to flash the auto’s lights, for example, but for other instructions, such as starting the machine remotely, you also take to enter a spoken PIN.

Garmin's Speak Plus brings Alexa into your car. Credit: Garmin

(Image credit: Garmin’s Speak Plus brings Alexa into your car. Credit: Garmin)

In all of the current car applications, Alexa works only through a smartphone, providing an added level of security. However, Ford, Mercedes and others are looking at embedding it in cars in the future, as well every bit supporting Google Assistant.

Like add-on navigation devices, there are a growing number of Alexa-centric gadgets for the car. Garmin’s Speak ($120) and Speak Music’due south Muse ($70) bring Alexa skills into the car — continued to your smartphone — so that you lot can call upwardly the conditions, music, Audible books and other options. These devices can’t command annihilation in the car (for example, theyt cannot unlock the doors), simply they offer added convenience for those addicted to  their home voice assistants.

Safe Features

Parking assist: No more parallel-parking nightmares

Using video cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors, parking assist or agile parking systems can tell drivers that their car will fit into a infinite and then perform the parallel-parking maneuvers for them. All the commuter has to do is pull alongside the nearest vehicle and push a push button, and the car will take over the steering, dispatch and braking to fit the vehicle into identify. Although this feature is typically role of a technology package costing thousands, such systems are now bachelor in a wide range of vehicles, from the Chrysler Pacifica minivan to the Toyota Prius.

Mercedes-Benz's Active Parking Assist system can look for open spots and park your car for you.

Mercedes-Benz’s Active Parking Assist system can look for open spots and park your car for you.

Some less-advanced systems, such as the one in the Ford Focus, require the commuter to control the speed using a foot on the brake. Automatic parking systems that can practice the aforementioned for perpendicular parking are less common and tend to be overly complicated to use. On the cut edge are BMW and Tesla systems, which let you lot to fit the cars into tight spots using the key fob as a remote command.

Adaptive prowl control plus: On the route to self-driving vehicles

While fully cocky-driving or autonomous cars are non yet a commercial reality, many of the bones technologies involved are already available in vehicles on the route. Adaptive cruise control is the offset component, which uses radar to maintain a safe distance from cars ahead. By combining that with lane-keeping technologies (using video cameras), many vehicles can bulldoze down a highway on their own.

The latest Mercedes-Benz S-Class slows automatically for sharp curves and roundabouts using built-in maps from Here.

However, about all vehicles — like those from BMW, Mercedes and Volvo — include sensors that crave drivers to keep at to the lowest degree one hand on the steering wheel.

Many semiautonomous systems not only slow down a car for traffic only likewise come to a complete stop and then accelerate again when the traffic picks upwardly. In general, however, these cars are not smart. They do non decelerate automatically for sharp corners or leave ramps. But there is ane exception: the latest Mercedes-Benz Southward-Class, which slows automatically for curves and roundabouts using congenital-in maps from Here.

While much has been fabricated of Tesla’s Autopilot feature, like like — and, in some cases, more than advanced — systems from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, it’due south designed to be used only when the driver is paying attention and has his or her easily on the wheel. Furthermore, none of these cars has lidar (light detection and ranging) sensors, which are considered necessary to make fully autonomous cars safe.

Autonomous modes: Almost in that location

Breaking new ground in the self-driving-machine infinite are two new systems that can, in fact, take over the driving tasks — but only under very specific conditions.

GM's Super Cruise will drive the car by itself on certain highways at up to 85 mph. Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: GM’s Super Prowl will drive the machine by itself on certain highways at up to 85 mph. Credit: Tom’s Guide)

GM’s Super Prowl, first offered in the 2018 Cadillac CT6, will drive the machine by itself on certain highways at up to 85 mph. You practice non have to keep your hands on the wheel (or keep touching the wheel). And considering Super Cruise uses lidar-created maps (downloaded to the car), the system is steadier and smoother than any other so-called autopilot system available.

Super Cruise uses cameras to detect the driver's attention. Credit: Tom's Guide

(Epitome credit: Super Cruise uses cameras to detect the driver’s attention. Credit: Tom’southward Guide)

The caveats are that Super Cruise works just on certain mapped highways and that the driver does have to pay attending and be ready to accept control at any fourth dimension. (A camera in the steering stalk monitors the driver at all times, so technically, it’s a Level 2 autonomous vehicle.)

Audi has said that Traffic Jam Assist, rated to command the car at up to 40 mph, will let drivers to read texts or do other tasks behind the wheel.

Audi’s AI, Traffic Jam Assist, has been touted for some time, and the company is expected to introduce it soon. Similar GM’south Super Cruise, it is designed to work on divided highways — only at much slower speeds and without the need for the driver to pay attention. Audi has said that Traffic Jam Aid, rated to command the car at up to xl mph, will let drivers to read texts or do other tasks backside the cycle. Withal, should traffic start moving more than quickly, the human sitting in the forepart seat will have to take over, or else the automobile will stop.

Rear-view cameras: Back up with confidence

More than whatever other contempo engineering science, consumer and safety advocates have been pushing for laws requiring rear-view video cameras. And they finally got their fashion.

Subaru's rear-view camera in action.

Subaru’southward rear-view photographic camera in action.

In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will require all vehicles weighing less than 10,000 pounds — including buses and trucks — and manufactured on or after May 1, 2018, to come up equipped with rear-view cameras that will, in upshot, eliminate the bullheaded spots that be behind all vehicles. These systems usually put a video view of what’s backside the vehicle on the in-nuance display and work only when the automobile is put into reverse (Tesla is one exception hither). Shoppers should consider this is an essential technology to include in any auto, including compacts like the Honda Fit, which, despite their size, notwithstanding accept blind spots.

Video rear-view mirrors: Improve behind

In a further effort to improve visibility, automakers have wanted to eliminate rearview mirrors in favor of video cameras for years. One significant step toward that goal has been GM’s video rearview mirror. Available in some Cadillacs, it uses a broad-angle video camera in back that has the advantage of never beingness obstructed past passengers or the rear roof pillars. The resulting image appears in the windshield-mounted rear-view mirror (like a regular mirror image). Several other automakers, such as BMW, take promised to adopt like technologies in the future.

360-degree views: Look around

With the multiple video cameras now installed in many cars to monitor lane markings, blind spots and what’southward backside you, automakers are increasingly combining the views to give drivers a bird’s-middle or 360-degree view of their environment.

While bird’s-eye views may seem like a gimmick, they can be useful in some situations.

The video flick is typically displayed on a auto’s in-dash LCD brandish and uses software to stitch together the photographic camera inputs to create a single image.

While bird’southward-eye views may seem similar a gimmick, they can be useful in some situations. A unmarried view of what’south around your car tin can be extremely helpful in tight parking situations, for case, where yous need to see the front and back of your car simultaneously as you maneuver a vehicle into identify.

Head-up display: Info on your windshield

Adapted from fighter-jet systems, head-up displays use small-scale projectors in the dash to reverberate icons and bones information in an surface area of the windshield just within the driver’due south line of sight. Speed, turn arrows and even standoff warnings tin be projected onto the windshield, helping drivers proceed their optics on the road.

At present available in color, head-upwardly displays should be adjustable to accommodate drivers of unlike heights. I drawback is that such displays are ofttimes difficult to see if y’all wearable polarizing sunglasses.

Head-up displays allow you too keep your eyes on the road.

Head-up displays permit y’all too keep your eyes on the road.

Initially available from such luxury brands equally Audi, BMW, Lexus and Cadillac, caput-upwardly displays are now available in mass-market cars such equally the Hyundai Sonata (starting around $25,000), the Mazda 3 (starting effectually $24,000) and even the Mini Countryman (starting at around $26,600).

Auto-braking: Avoiding or minimizing bear on

Used in conjunction with pedestrian-detection and standoff-avoidance systems, automobile-braking brings a car to a consummate stop without the driver’s intervention. At speeds below 30 mph, these systems can prevent a standoff. At higher speeds, they can reduce the severity of an impact. Automobile-braking also includes warning alarms — commonly a loud bell and red flashing image in the centre brandish.

This Volvo video shows the XC90 auto braking system bringing the car to a quick stop.

This Volvo video shows the XC90 automobile braking organisation bringing the machine to a quick stop.

Shoppers should annotation that there is no standard for how auto-braking systems should work. So some are more cautious than others, stopping several anxiety brusk in some cases to eliminate any margin for fault.

Nonetheless, these systems are considered to be and so constructive that they are available as options on vehicles ranging from the Mazda 3 and Subaru Impreza to luxury cars. Tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Prophylactic bear witness that these systems tin minimize crash impacts.

Collision alarm: First alert

Collision alarm, or standoff alert, is ordinarily coupled with standoff-avoidance and car-braking systems as the first stage in an overall standoff-prevention system. The standoff-warning characteristic uses some of the aforementioned technology designed for adaptive cruise control to monitor the distance of vehicles ahead.

A Dodge Durango collision alert.

A Dodge Durango standoff warning.

When the gap between your auto and the automobile ahead narrows too rapidly, a loud warning sounds, and a red warning light appears on the dash. Some collision-warning systems, such as the one offered in the Mercedes-Benz Southward-Form, also look for possible impacts from the side. 50

Pre-standoff systems: Proactive braking

This combination of technologies primes the brakes for a panic stop and automatically tightens seat belts. Some systems anticipate being hit from behind. Mercedes-Benz’s Pre-Condom Plus arrangement, for example, uses radar in the dorsum of the car to detect an imminent touch on.

Pre-Safe collision warnings: For other drivers

Mercedes-Benz currently offers these systems, and other machine companies will before long. The safety systems piece of work by flashing the hazard alert lights to alert some other commuter who is approaching too quickly from behind.

If the approaching driver doesn’t deadening downward, the car then not simply tightens the seatbelts but also automatically holds downwards the restriction if the vehicle is already stationary. The latter feature is intended to minimize the chance of whiplash and assist avert hitting cars ahead you.

More than: Smart Home Guide: What to Know Before You Purchase

Collision avoidance: Better all the same

These systems range from precrash preparation to full automatic braking and pedestrian avoidance. Using a combination of video cameras, radar and lidar (which uses pulsed laser light to measure distances), a standoff-abstention system pre-tightens seat belts and primes the brakes and then that when a commuter applies the human foot pedal, it takes less force per unit area to bring the car to a total stop.

Adaptive cruise control: Made for long trips

Designed to help drivers during lengthy highway trips, adaptive cruise command uses radar, and sometimes video-camera sensors, to monitor the distance between your car and the car in front of you. If your vehicle approaches a slower vehicle in the same lane, the system will slow downwardly your machine to match the speed of the car you lot’re following, accelerating and decelerating as needed. The driver can adjust the distance between the vehicles(usually in three settings: close, medium and far).

Dark vision: See in the dark

Designed mainly to prevent collisions with pedestrians and deer, the latest generation of night-vision systems use far-infrared (FIR) cameras and special software to recognize the oestrus signatures of pedestrians, cyclists and animals. Nearby threats are usually highlighted in xanthous, just warnings of impending collisions generally appear in a head-upwardly display forth with a bell or chime.

Night vision inside a BMW X5. Credit: BMW

(Image credit: Nighttime vision inside a BMW X5. Credit: BMW)

FIR sensors were initially considered to be exotic applied science, but recently, they have come up back into vogue, primarily as additional sensors in democratic-car systems. Infrared cameras tin can succeed where lidar fails, for example, such as in heavy rain and snow.

Currently, even so, night-vision FIR systems do not automatically trigger a motorcar’s brakes. That’southward because, while they can easily sense objects ahead, they may make mistakes in identifying exactly what they are seeing. (A person continuing on the sidewalk, for case, doesn’t represent the same danger as a deer moving forth the side of the route.) Nighttime vision is usually offered as a stand-alone option costing about $2,000, and is available on several models from Audi, BMW, Cadillac and Mercedes.

Proximity alerts: Helpful warnings

A growing number of vehicles, from the Tesla Model S to the Buick Imperial GS, include proximity warnings. Every bit you arroyo another vehicle or object in front or in dorsum, an audible bell ordinarily sounds, sometimes accompanied by a flashing blitheness in the dashboard’s centre screen warning that the auto is too shut to an obstacle.

The Cadillac STS side mirror warns drivers of dangers lurking in blind spots before they change lanes.

The Cadillac STS side mirror warns drivers of dangers lurking in blind spots earlier they alter lanes.

Proximity alerts can exist helpful, especially in vehicles where information technology’s non possible to see the front bumper (like in many sports cars and SUVs). If a vehicle has parking assist or standoff avoidance, the ultrasonic and camera sensors for proximity warnings are already in place. Proximity warnings, like lane-departure warnings, can be turned off.

Proximity Alerts can be helpful, specially in vehicles where information technology’s non possible to run across the front end bumper (such every bit many sports cars and SUVs).

Lane-difference warning: Too piece of cake to ignore

Using a camera that scans alee of the machine looking for lines on the route, lane-departure warning systems are common, but their effectiveness is questionable. There are many different implementations. Some warning systems use chimes, others vibrate the steering wheel and all the same others vibrate one border of the commuter’s seat, depending on which line has been crossed.

The Cadillac STS side mirror warns drivers of dangers lurking in blind spots before they change lanes. Credit: BMW

(Image credit: The Cadillac STS side mirror warns drivers of dangers lurking in blind spots earlier they change lanes. Credit: BMW)

Nevertheless, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that lane-difference alarm systems on their own do non reduce accidents, insurance claims or the number of related injuries. Co-ordinate to researchers, many drivers become inured to the alerts, and so these systems work meliorate in conjunction with machine-braking or collision-prevention packages.

Lane centering/lane keeping: Staying within the lines

Rather than just warning drivers that they are straying from their lane, lane-centering systems apply the data from the camera arrangement to actively right the steering. The effect can be subtle or distracting, depending on the driver’s abilities and the car.

The Mercedes-Benz Attention Assist feature asks if you need a break if you drift over the lines enough times.

The Mercedes-Benz Attention Aid feature asks if you lot need a break if you drift over the lines enough times.

Also known as lane keeping, it tin can be aggressive, jerking the bike to let the driver know he is straying; in some implementations, it too steers the car downwards the heart of the lane on its own.

The Mercedes-Benz Attending Assistance characteristic asks if y’all demand a suspension if you lot drift over the lines enough times. If you are accustomed to hugging the yellow line, for example, you lot may find you lot are constantly fighting with a lane-centering organization. Conversely, when coupled with lane-departure warnings, it tin can alarm a drowsy driver that it’s fourth dimension to rest.

Cross-traffic alerts: Virtual peripheral vision

Using a combination of sensors, cross-traffic warnings are typically used to aid drivers in backing out of parking spaces and driveways. This characteristic is particularly effective when the driver’s-side view is blocked, such every bit by a van, debate or snowbank.

However, cross-traffic alerts, which may sound a gong or vibrate a seat, piece of work only while the car is moving (slowly) backward. Some systems don’t automatically brake the car, so drivers need to be cautious. Other implementations brake the machine to prevent a collision.


Adaptive headlights: They movement with you


Designed to illuminate the route ahead, even effectually curves, adaptive headlights apply motors that work in sync with the steering to indicate the headlights in the management you are pointing the motorcar. In general, this helps drivers run into where they are going on cloverleafs and other curves. However, adaptive headlights do not aid you see around corners.

Adaptive headlights focus the light where drivers need it most. Credit: BMW

(Image credit: Adaptive headlights focus the lite where drivers need it most. Credit: BMW)

Adaptive headlights are often offered as function of a separate luxury or comfort bundle, usually costing around $one,300. According to a 2013 Highway Loss Data Institute written report, these systems do not seem to prevent single-vehicle crashes, just they practice reduce the likelihood of accidents with other vehicles. However, more studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of these systems.

Credit: Tom’s Guide

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John R. Quain has been reviewing and testing video and audio equipment for more than than twenty years. For Tom’s Guide, he has reviewed televisions, HDTV antennas, electrical bikes, electrical cars, as well as other outdoor equipment. He is currently a contributor to The New York Times and the CBS News boob tube plan.


What Are Some Types of Vehicle Technology Advancements

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