back to articles | March 11, 2021 | John Peterson
Categories:   Tips & Insights For Car Buying    Useful Automotive Information
7 Auto Technologies Which Seemed Just Dreams In The Past
Cars have come a long way from being fancy horses that run on fuel rather than blood. In fact, one of the vestiges of how we used to think of cars in the beginning is right in the specs. We still refer to the power of a car as ‘horsepower’. That’s telling.
Cars have come a long way from being fancy horses that run on fuel rather than blood. In fact, one of the vestiges of how we used to think of cars in the beginning is right in the specs. We still refer to the power of a car as ‘horsepower’. EssayOnTime is telling.
Today, many of these machines are as smart as our smartphones, and they’re getting smarter and more capable by the day. Consumers don’t just look at what’s under the hood and the aesthetics of the interior and exterior anymore. Technology is just as important a factor when making purchase decisions. The systems they put in cars today govern almost everything, from monitoring your engine and drivetrain to maintaining safety, enabling communication, and entertaining you.
Many of these technologies were no more than a dream just a couple decades ago, which makes it all the more surprising that they are so commonplace today as to be taken for granted. I personally have to pinch myself every time I go to an auto expo or visit a showroom to remind myself that everything I experience is real – I’m not in a dream. Or maybe I am. All of this was a dream not so long ago. Just because the dream came true eventually doesn’t mean it wasn’t a dream at some point, right?
But enough philosophizing. I’m here to pinch you in the arm too, and remind you that many of the technologies we take for granted today are actually pretty impressive by anyone’s standards. Here are 7 such technologies!
1. Driver assist technologies
Several manufacturers are now integrating preemptive technologies into their vehicles. These are technologies that kick in and react to danger when the driver is too slow, take over when the driver is in fatigue, and generally make navigating traffic easier. They come in various suites, with interesting names, like EyeSight by Subaru and Co-Pilot 360 by Ford.
Some of the features normally offered are:
Flexible cruise control
This kind of cruise control maintains the speed of your vehicle at a set point but will also slow down or speed up in order to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead (and the one behind). That’s what makes it flexible and adaptive.
Lane departure warning
This technology does exactly what its name suggests. It tells you when your car drifts out of your lane and into another. Some vehicles even go so far as to steer you back into your lane if you let go of your steering wheel.
Lane keep assist
This is the technology mentioned above. When this feature is activated, the car will steer itself back when you drift out of your lane.
Blind spot monitoring
Blind spot monitoring is related to lane tech. It checks for cars behind you and in the adjacent lane (your blind spot) when you indicate a lane change, and then alerts you if there are any.
Cross traffic monitoring
This technology is useful when you’re backing out of a parking spot. It tells you if there is any cross-traffic behind you. Some systems will even tell you exactly which direction the traffic is coming from.
Reverse brake assist
Reverse brake assist will stop your car or at least significantly slow it down if it senses any object behind your car while you reverse.
2. Emergency braking technologies
This kind of technology activates the brakes on your vehicle when the sensors pick up an imminent collision. That way, you are saved from a potential accident, or at least the damage is minimized. Emergency braking reacts much faster than the brakes, and starts working long before you slam your foot on the brakes. Also, in case you’re already braking and the system determines that you need to come to a stop sooner, it will apply the pressure harder.
3. Mobile app connectivity
Elon Musk famously said that we are already cyborgs – the metal bits are just currently out of our bodies. Nothing exemplifies this better than the smartphone. Since these devices are now a part of our lives, it makes sense for auto makers to take full advantage of what smartphones have to offer. This comes in the form of smartphone apps. Some check fuel level, others remotely lock and unlock doors, and others will even remotely start the vehicle. This is a boon for security, as the connection is your phone, which is harder to lose than a car key.
4. Teen driver assist
Only General Motors currently offers teen driver assist. However, it’s a big company, so you can expect this technology in a lot of brands, including Cadillac, Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet, among others.
Teen driver technology keeps an eye on teen drivers and notifies them if they’re driving the car too fast, of if they don’t have their seatbelts on (it switches off audio until seat belts are on), and even filters explicit content from the entertainment if the car comes with SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
5. Exit warnings
With the increase in cars, especially in cities, riding a bike can be quite a challenge. Riders are concerned about vehicles, whether they are stationary or in motion. One particularly helpful feature is exit warning technology. This feature uses sensors mounted on the rear to detect any approaching traffic, including cyclists and alerts a passenger so they don’t open a door just as the cyclist comes up.
6. Wireless connectivity
With wireless charging, wireless connectivity has achieved a whole new level. Now many models, especially those in the luxury trim ranges, have wireless connectivity and charging integrated into them. In case you want to charge your phone without breaking the bank, consider purchasing a car that has just wireless charging.
7. Video rearview
While rearview mirrors are helpful, sometimes there is so much stuff inside the car that it’s impossible to get a view out the back, or the rear window is foggy or just dirty. That’s why a video mirror makes sense. A camera is mounted on the rear of the vehicle and the rearview mirror displays the back of the car.
As you can see, vehicle technology is making rapid progress, and much of what we have today was the stuff of science fiction not long ago. I cannot even begin to imagine what the future holds, but I’m excited to find out!