Technology that saves lives – and fuel- is getting better and cheaper. That means it’s no longer confined to luxury brands like Mercedes and Volvo. It’s showing up in mainstream vehicles like the Nissan Rogue and Ford Fusion.
“What we see today as slightly elitist technology is changing very, very fast,” said Steven Lunn, chief operating officer for TRW Automotive, which supplies electronics and other parts to car makers.
TRW says its newest radar is a quarter of the price of the model it sold 10 years ago. Its cameras are smaller and cheaper, too, making it easier to put multiple ones on each car.
Here are some up-and-coming features that drivers can expect on their next cars:
• Collision warning with automatic breaking:
New cars have radar and camera systems that warn you, with beeping sounds, of a possible front-end crash. Some even stop the vehicle, or at least slow it enough to make a crash less severe. More sophisticated systems apply the brakes if a car veers off the road and heads toward a moving or fixed object.
Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, Infiniti, Volvo and other brands offer automatic braking to avoid a collision, but more automakers will follow soon.
• Advanced cameras:
Auto cameras are showing up on more cars ahead of a government requirement to install backup cameras, which is expected by 2015. But with cameras getting smaller and cheaper, automakers aren’t just putting them on the back of the car anymore. Honda has side cameras that come on automatically when a turn signal is employed, so drivers can spot obstacles while turning. Some car companies are adding cameras that can read wrong-way signs, detect large animals such as deer, and even note the colors of traffic lights.
• Lane Centering:
A camera can follow the road and gently nudge a car – using the brakes – to stay in the center of a lane. Some lane-keeping systems, sound a beep or vibrate the driver’s seat if a camera senses that a car is swerving out of its lane.
• Adaptive headlights:
Audi, Mercedes, Mazda and Acura have adaptive headlights that swivel in the direction the car is going to help drivers see around corners as they turn. And, many cars now have high-beam lights that sense oncoming traffic and dim automatically.
By 2025, new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will have to average 54.5 miles per gallon of gas. One feature will almost be a must-have; a stop-start device that shuts off the engine at a stop light and automatically turns it on when the driver releases the brake. – //insurancenewsnet.com