Since their first introduction onto British roads in 1895, savvy car manufacturers have been coming up with new mods. Anything to make a car safer, faster, or simply cooler is always in the works – and thanks to those innovators, the newest cars are coming close to futuristic. While biometric keys and auto-drive might still be a way off, there’s plenty of cool new tricks to whet your appetite.
Heads Up Displays
Not a ‘Heads Up’ warning, but more of a tool to keep you on track, HUDs use small projectors to display your dashboard information onto your windscreen. At the moment different HUDs vary wildly in what they display, from speed to petrol levels to the direction of travel to even the temperature of your car. The focus of the design is to eliminate distractions, allowing you to focus on the road while keeping tabs on your speed, promoting safer driving. There’s still lots to come, with some start-ups developing HUD apps that project directions onto your windscreen.
Most people will be familiar with the idea of a ‘black box’ – kept in plane cockpits to record information on location and flying conditions. Telematics is the consumerist friendly, ‘pocket’ version for normal cars. AA explain that the idea behind telematics is to measure driving performance, with a particular consumer focus towards young drivers. The information collected on speed and steering is transmitted to your insurance company, allowing them to monitor your driving, and in some cases share this information with you. By encouraging new drivers to be more cautious, insurance companies can adjust premiums to reward them.
Collision Avoidance Sensors
In a bid to create more aware drivers, more and more manufacturers are including Collision Avoidance Sensors in their newer makes, thanks to a huge surge in demand. They work very simply: an alarm will go off when approaching a tree, person, or other vehicle that could result in a collision. A range of sensors are now available, with pros and drawbacks to each method – ultrasound, camera, or radar; although all are effective at covering blind spots and parking.
Hands Free Connectivity
The umbrella term of ‘On Board Systems’ is used to describe the computer systems now being introduced to ease and improve driving practices. In the last few years we’ve seen a huge expansion in hands-free systems, with it now being easy to connect a smartphone to your car and use voice control to send and receive calls and texts, programme a sat nav, or simply put some music, all with your hands at the wheel. On Board Systems are also now beginning to offer diagnostic tools, including MOT reminders.