How is in-car technology progressing and what can we expect to see in the future?
Research and development into new technologies is an ongoing process for automotive manufacturers. In a fast paced and ever-changing market, consumer needs are key. In addition near constant adaptations must be made in order to improve driver safety, comfort and overall experience. Over the past decade, we have seen the addition of Apple Car Play, rear view cameras and cruise control – but what in-car technology developments can we expect to see in the future? We explore the matter with the help of Motorparks, who specialise in used cars and luxury vehicles.
Self-driving technology has been the number one topic of discussion in the industry for several years now. Most manufacturers now offer self-driving technology as part of their latest models – with most used to improve road safety.
ISA – Intelligent speed assist
Intelligent speed assist is a new safety feature which uses warning systems to alert drivers when they drive over the speed limit. By using GPS, the system is able to detect the vehicle location and reference this with a digital road map that is programmed with speed limit information for each road. The system can be used as an active speed limiter whereby it can take control of the vehicle and reduce the speed when travelling above the speed limit. It does this by reducing the throttle signal. Additionally, the system is also fitted with a speed limiting function that increases the pressure on the accelerator when you exceed the speed limit, so that it is harder to accelerate and break the speed limit.
Lane keeping systems
Lane keeping systems, or lane departure warning systems help drivers to stay on track. These systems keep you within your lane when driving on the motorway. When motorway driving, it’s vital that you stay firmly in your lane, unless you are overtaking. This system alerts you with a vibration on the steering wheel if your vehicle is unintentionally edging out of its lane – and in circumstances when the vehicle thinks you are reacting too slow, the vehicle will take control and provide steering torque to divert you back into the safe space on your lane. This is a safety feature to prevent drivers from veering out of their lane on motorways and dual carriageways where drivers around them are driving at high speeds.
BLIS – Blind spot information system
Blind spot information systems notify drivers when a driver is in their blind spot so that they can change lanes safely. When a vehicle enters your blind spot zone, the BLIS system will alert you. The detection area is on both sides of your vehicle, extending rearward from the exterior mirrors to approximately 10 feet (3 meters) beyond the bumper. The system alerts you via a small light on your side wing mirrors – when there is a vehicle in your blind spot zone, the light will illuminate. When your blind spot zone is clear, the light will switch off.
The new Nissan Leaf model is fitted with a one-pedal driving system. The electric automobile not only has double the mileage range of its previous model equivalents, but the one-pedal driving system allows for the accelerator pedal to be transformed into a multifunctioning e-pedal at a touch. The e-pedal functions as a start, stop, accelerate and breaking pedal when activated. Suitable for 90% of urban driving, the system means that the car will slow to a halt by itself with the ability to hold itself on an incline without the need of the brake pedal.
The new Nissan system is said to offer additional efficiency benefits from its previous models. Nicknamed the ECO-pedal system, the pedal controls the speed of acceleration to prevent revving up the engine. The level of fuel-efficient driving is displayed through a colour and flashing Eco-P lamp. According to Nissan, studies have proven that effective eco-driving with the ECO-pedal can contribute to an improved fuel efficiency by 5-10%.
Weather adaptation technology
Weather adaptation technology is a relative newcomer to the automotive market. Jaguar Land Rover recently announced that all of their new vehicles will be equipped with weather adaptation systems. The system allows cars to autonomously adapt to weather changes and situations to make adjustments to drivetrain, suspension, traction control and climate control for optimum efficient driving. The intelligent system will be particularly useful to Land Rover and Range Rover models, such as the new Land Rover Discovery Sport Hse, that drives on all terrains. The system is said to be able to connect to present and future weather data via telematics and GPS to sensibly adapt both inside the cabin and around the exterior.
The system is said to be able to detect when rain is forecast and close the windows accordingly. Onboard rain- and terrain-sensing mechanisms will be used to control the temperature, pressure and humidity inside the cabin, whilst interior and exterior lighting will be altered depending on the circumstances. We can expect to see this technology by 2020, alongside JLR’s autonomous technology and electrified models.
With a positive future for automotive technology ahead of us, we can expect to see the driving process, and experience, completely transformed in the coming years.