Yahoo posted an article by Popular Mechanics on Monday which listed 6 futuristic safety technologies arriving now on some 2015 models. It’s an impressive list that provides us with insight into where car technology is headed as car manufacturers seek to make safer vehicles.
Road Departure Mitigation: A number of car models from several companies come equipped with lane departure and notification systems (see http://220.127.116.11/~wiseinsu/advanced-car-safety-systems/), but Acura is taking this to a whole new level on the 2015 TLX. Its road departure mitigation system is able to sense when the vehicle is about to run off a curve. It uses a camera and radar to recognize this and applies steering to keep you on the road.
Stop / Start Cruise Control: Wouldn’t it be great to turn on your cruise control when you’re in rush hour traffic on LBJ or North Central Expressway and let it inch forward in stop and go traffic?! I’d like that, especially if the car will apply the brake all the way when the car in front of me stops. The new Hyundai Genesis will do that and keep you in your lane when paired with their Lane Keep Assist system.
Active Glovebox Knee Airbag: Airbags have come a long way since their initial introduction in the 1970s when the only one available was mounted in the steering wheel. We now have passenger and side curtain airbag systems to protect us from a variety of crashes.
The new Ford Edge expands this concept further with their active glovebox knee airbag. The glovebox door contains a bladder that inflates in a frontal crash. As it inflates, it pops off the front of the glovebox and cushions the passenger’s legs. If that weren’t enough, the rear passenger seat belts inflate to cushion the passengers during a crash.
Secondary-Collision Brake Assist: No one wants to get into an accident. If you are in one, it would be really nice if the car wouldn’t continue on to hit something else such as another car or a stationary object. The Audi A3 solves that problem with its secondary-collision brake assist system which applies the brakes after the initial collision so you hopefully don’t hit anything else.
Camera Controlled LED Headlights: Swiveling headlights were first introduced in 2003 on the Porsche Cayenne and the Mercedes E Class. They’ve since spread to vehicles from 14 car makers. Mercedes raises the bar with its CLS model which uses a camera to sense what’s beyond the lights by signaling 24 LEDs to point them into a curve before the driver ever turns the steering wheel.
Rear Automatic Braking: Every car has blind spots and these become apparent when backing a car out of the driveway or a parking spot. Rear cameras help, but the new Cadillac Escalade senses when you’re approaching an object and applies the brakes for you. The driver’s foot must not be on the brake at the time or the system assumes you do want to hit that stationary object.
What does the future hold for these new technologies? I believe we’ll see these technologies and others (see http://18.104.22.168/~wiseinsu/new-car-technologies-arriving-now/) continue to arrive in more vehicles beyond the luxury brands as we did with airbags and antilock brakes. I’m not aware of any insurance company offering discounts for these new systems currently but believe this will change in the not too distant future.
Initially, vehicles with these safety technologies will cost more than those that aren’t equipped with them. That may have an adverse impact on insurance rates in the short term until these technologies become more commonplace. Rates should decline as prices on these systems fall and insurers have more data as to their effectiveness in protecting the car’s occupants and how well they avoid crashes.
What do you think? Share your thoughts, questions, and what technology you’d like to see on your next vehicle in the comments section of our blog or on our Google + and Facebook pages. I’d love to hear from you!