When you think about technology in your car, you probably think about your infotainment system, the car’s stereo, and maybe the navigation system. But there are actually quite a few new technologies that you can use while you’re driving to make spending time on the road safer.
Everything from modern camera systems integrated into the latest cars to applications you can run on your smartphone to make driving safer. Here are some you may not know about.
Electronic Stability Control
What you might be more familiar with as “Traction Control” has evolved from humble beginnings as a system that would cut power when your tires were slipping into a much more advanced and effective safety feature.
Modern ESC systems have the ability to change power output and apply breaking differently to all four corners of a car to attempt to return a car to the driver’s intended course and avoid a crash.
Whatever motorist license you have, there’s an app for that. Some apps provide assistance for professional drivers, while others help you navigate unfamiliar roads. You’ve probably even used an app on your phone like Waze or Google Maps!
We’ll be clear in saying that you should never be interacting with your phone while driving in the interest of your safety and the safety of the drivers around you. In fact, there are applications designed to help you do just that. Here are a few examples with brief descriptions:
- Lifesaver—This is a great app for parents of new drivers. It offers GPS monitoring so you can see where your child is driving and notifies you if they exceed speed limits, while also blocking cell phone features like texting, making phone calls and using the internet while driving. It also includes a gamification component and rewards good driving.
- iOnroad—Monitors the road situation around you using data from GPS, accelerometer and smartphone data. When you are too close to another car, your phone will flash an alert while the app is on.
- Drivesmart—Automatically routes incoming calls to voicemail and auto-responds to text messages. There’s a paid version of this app that expands on the basic functionalities by intuitively switching the app on when accelerometer data indicates that your car is moving.
- SafeDrive—Allows parents to monitor where new drivers go and see their speeds. Parents can set alerts for when their children exceed a certain speed. Keep in mind, your new driver will need to allow you to monitor their driving, so maybe have a conversation about this one ahead of time.
This little technology, which started as a cute smartphone app to add a dinosaur to the background of your picture has become a useful and practical thing. Namely as a tool to help train safer drivers. You could make the argument that augmented reality in cars dates back as far as the first use of Heads-Up displays on vehicles made in the 1990s, but what we’re able to do with modern technology is a lot more useful.
For best results, this technology will need to be integrated into your car, so don’t expect to get the benefits just by downloading an app to your phone.
For example, the new AR software Navdy uses GPS and crowd sourced map information to place important highlights like road signs, navigation directions and your vehicle’s proximity to the cars around you in your line of sight on the windshield. This allows you to process this information without taking your eyes off the road.
This technology is trickling down from the ultra-luxury cars that enjoyed it 5 or 6 years ago to more mainstream models now. Lane-keep assist does exactly what the name suggests. It helps you stay in your lane by providing audio and tactical feedback when you come close to the painted strips that denote the edge of the lane on the road. Your car can do this because of new camera systems that can identify these lane lines and process exactly where a lane goes. In some cars, you also get a proximity warning when you get close to another solid object like your garage door or another car.
These new camera systems are also able to provide a view of your car from the side in some new models, and are another example of how new technologies are making cars safer than ever before.
It’s still anyone’s guess as to how long humans will be behind the wheel, so make sure you brush up on your own skills, train new drivers well and take advantage of the perks these new technologies offer!