By Chuck Mai, AAA
As car-makers add more and more electronic distractions to new cars (giving traffic safety folks fits), they are also, thankfully, making cars safer.
Cameras and Sensors
John Paul, AAA’s Car Doctor, reports Subaru has introduced something they call the EyeSight system that uses a 3-D camera mounted at the top of the windshield, giving drivers a panoramic view of the road.
Honda has a device that gives the driver a view of the right side blind spot of the vehicle when the right turn signal is activated.
Mercedes-Benz has a new system called Collision Prevention Assist, available on M-Class SUVs, that uses radar sensors which monitor the distance from the SUV to a vehicle in front of it as well as to stationary roadway objects. If CPA detects an imminent collision, it sounds a warning and flashes a light.
Volvo has taken this idea a step further by autonomously hitting the brakes if it detects a low-speed crash is about to occur.
And don’t think it’s just the luxury cars offering these exciting new technologies. The latest Chevy Malibu has a forward collision alert and lane departure warning system.
About a quarter of a million people fall asleep at the wheel every day in the U.S. Good thing car-makers have systems in development that can watch us. Most use in-car cameras that keep track of what your eye lids are doing as well as absence of steering wheel movements. If they note something wrong, it sounds an alarm, vibrates the seat or tugs on the seat belt to alert the driver.
Here’s an idea from the past – from the 1948 Tucker Torpedo to be exact: headlights that move in the direction the car is turning. A growing number of vehicles have what they’re calling adaptive headlights. Good for illuminating dark curves.
Some car-makers are adding light amplification and infrared cameras that not only allow drivers to see more at night, they also identify and warn drivers of pedestrians and critters by the side of the road.
One of the most exciting new technologies is vehicle-to-vehicle communication. The idea that cars can talk to each other, while monitoring the roadway and overall driving environment, will make driving safer and less stressful. Car doc John Paul says these systems could warn drivers of slow-moving traffic, roadwork, traffic lights, school zones and weather conditions.
And by now, you’ve probably heard about Google’s driver-less cars that have received the go-ahead in several states. But wait – maybe a Massachusetts company is on the right track … or maybe the right altitude. They have created a flying car.