Advancements in automotive technology have resulted in new and safer cars and lesser traffic accidents.
That is primarily because most accidents result from human error, which these innovations are designed to help address.
Since the fashioning of the first car by Karl Benz in 1888, automobile manufacturers have constantly strived to improve the safety of their machines.
From the inclusion of three-point safety belts, disc brakes, and anti-lock braking systems to traction control, adaptive headlights, and airbags, safety technology has come a long way.
On the entertainment front, car technologies have ensured that travelers are treated to Bluetooth connectivity to their car’s entertainment consoles.
High Definition (HD) screens with various entertainment options and recliner seats have also become a staple in most high-end cars. Below are some of the cutting-edge auto technologies headed your way in 2021.
- 360º Camera
Although it is not a new technology, the 360º camera setups have been tweaked to make them much easier to use.
For starters, they now give you the option of choosing between a split-screen image or seeing everything in one picture.
360º cameras come in handy in giving you comprehensive real-time coverage of your car.
It is a great tool to have when parking.
The technology works using several cameras which are subtly mounted at different angles of the car. That could be on the front and rear bumpers, the front grille, side mirrors, etc.
These cameras render an overall perspective which is then projected on the car’s infotainment screen.
For safety reasons, the cameras activate when parking and automatically turn off once the vehicle is at high speed. That is meant to ensure that the driver is not distracted while driving.
Although the technology began with backup cameras, it has been developed and advanced to cover all car areas.
Kia, Nissan, Lexus, Chevrolet, and Volvo are a few car brands that apply this technology.
- Exit Warning for vehicles and Cyclists
Sometimes upon stopping our cars, we might forget to look out for approaching vehicles and cyclists in our hurry to get out.
Doors that suddenly swing open in the path of a speeding cyclist create a dangerous and even fatal situation for the cyclist and ourselves.
It is also bad news the car door, which might be yanked right off its hinges in a split second.
That is where exit warning technology comes in.
It uses a rear camera that captures the oncoming motorist or cyclist and relays that information to the vehicle’s AI, which then issues a verbal warning to its occupants.
Some of the most advanced exit warning systems even take it a notch higher by automatically locking the door until the road is clear.
It incorporates a visual warning on the side mirror as well, where the oncoming cyclist or motorist is highlighted.
The system will create an alert for oncoming objects moving at five mph or more.
Exit warning systems are therefore designed to preempt accidents by influencing behavioral change among motorists.
Examples of luxury cars with this technology are Mercedes Benz C-Class, Volvo, BMW, and Audi.
- Electric Cars
Electric cars provide a solution to the environmental problems caused by Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).
That includes issues such as noise pollution and a high carbon footprint.
It is difficult to mention the electric car movement and not think of Tesla Motors, the forerunner of it all.
Other car manufacturers who have joined in the electric car technology include Mercedes Benz, Porsche, and Mazda.
Electric cars are vehicles whose propulsion comes from energy produced by rechargeable batteries.
So efficient are some electric car models that even regenerate the energy lost during braking into reusable power by the battery.
Electric cars are broadly classified into two; Plug-In Hybrid Powered Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and All-Electric Vehicles (AEVs).
AEVs are the purest form of electric vehicles as they run solely on electricity. Due to the clean energy they produce, AEVs effectively eliminate your car’s carbon emissions.
They scale up to 100 miles on a single round of electric charge, with some select luxury models covering a whopping 250 miles.
With PHEVs, the vehicle uses a combination of electrical and internal combustion power.
- Self-Driving Vehicles
Self-driving cars are vehicles that move and navigate the required distance independently without the intervention of a human driver.
The car harnesses information gleaned from several sources, such as in-built sensors and Artificial Intelligence, and external sources such as google maps.
When in operation, the self-driving car can ‘read’ the surrounding conditions and navigate its way through it all.
How this works is by the traveler first providing input as to their preferred destination.
The car’s Artificial Intelligence then calculates the most convenient way to that location.
In determining the preferred route, it will consider several factors such as obstacles, distance to be covered, and the condition of the roads.
To do this, enlists the help of google maps for a real-time ‘feel’ of the road conditions.
Through Google maps, the AI can gauge the en-route landmarks, traffic conditions, and obstacles on the way.
Through Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors, the car’s AI can generate a 3D map to the selected destination.
- Advanced Driver-Assist.
To drastically cut down on road accidents, some automakers have incorporated wide-ranging driver-assist mechanisms in their cars.
These features are meant to reduce dangers posed by driver fatigue, inexperience, and non-reaction to hazards.
The features include lane centering and lane departure warning, which ensures your car stays on course. It is a valuable tool, particularly for new drivers.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) is another safety technology that enables your car to stay at a safe distance from the one ahead of you.
Other similar features include reverse brake assist and blind-spot alert.