Whether it’s keeping drivers safe on the roads, or designing luxury comfort features, automotive manufacturers are always striving to improve their vehicle technology. But with technology moving at such a fast pace, what can we expect to see next? We’ve enlisted the help of Grange, who offer prestigious vehicles including the McLaren 570 Gt, to show us what the next few years will bring…
AI and autonomous technology
Self-driving cars have been a huge talking point in the industry for several years. Most manufacturers now offer self-driving technology as part of their latest models – with most used to improve road safety.
Let’s take a look at lane keeping systems and how they can improve driver safety. These intelligent 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.
Blind spot information systems (or BLIS) are another clever innovation designed to keep us safe on the roads. 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.
When drivers exceed the speed limit, ISA (Intelligent Safety Assist) technology uses a combination of audio and visual signals to send an alert. 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.
Comfort and eco features
JLR are leading the way in weather adaptation, by equipping all of their new models with the technology. 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 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. One feature suggests that the system will automatically close your vehicle windows if it senses that rain is forecast. 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.
This helpful gadget should be rolled out by 2020, so we don’t have to wait much longer to see it in action!
Of course, the popularity of EV’s has led to manufacturers adapting their offerings to include more eco-friendly features and models. With news of how air pollution is negatively impacting our planet and quality of life, automotive manufacturers have been striving to develop all-electric models. An increase in EV charging services from suppliers such as Northern Powergrid and the widespread availability of charging points has meant that the market looks set to take off once again.
Another manufacturer who has been leading the way when it comes to innovative eco tech is Nissan. The new Nissan Leaf 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 ECO-pedal system can control the acceleration speed so that the engine doesn’t over-rev. 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%.
So, there we have it – there are a number of new tech innovations on the horizon. With a positive future of technology ahead of us, we can expect to see the driving process, and experience, completely transformed in the coming years.