Recently, automakers have been on a battle of supremacy, with each brand trying to outshine the others on different aspects. This battle has given rise to the production of cars that smarter, stronger and provides more comfortable handling. Also, the technology fitted in these cars has also seen a whole lot of improvement. From cars that can drive themselves, to cars that speak to the driver, car technology has seen a massive improvement in recent years. Here are five of the most impressive car technologies you might want in your car
1. The Land Rover Trailer Park Assist
Even if you’re used to the awkward opposite steering inputs required to reverse a trailer, the Advanced Trailer/Tow Assist feature that will be available on Land Rover cars like the discovery, range rover and so on simplifies the task. The system is put to work via the vehicle’s in-dash touchscreen. Drivers will have to indicate the type of trailer they’re towing as well the dimensions of the trailer, then move forward to align the trailer and calibrate the system.
While the previous Land Rover Tow Assist feature simply just showed on the in-dash screen which way the wheel needs to be turned to steer the trailer, Advanced Tow Assist goes a step further by actually steering the trailer using the pop-up knob for the Terrain Response control in the center console. After the Terrain Response knob on the center console is pulled upward an indicator lights up and control of the steering wheel is transferred to the knob, while the driver controls the speed of the vehicle only, via the accelerator and brake pedal.
Advanced Tow Assist uses a set of colored lines on the in-dash screen to show the direction the trailer will travel based on steering inputs and will display green lines when the vehicle and the trailer are in perfect alignment. This has made backing up a large horse trailer into a narrow area bordered by a wood fence and framed by a set of wood beams simple and stress-free.
If you plan to regularly tow a trailer with the Land Rover, the Advanced Tow Assist not only makes the task easier, it could also save you from expensive and embarrassing bumps and scrapes.
2. The Audi virtual cockpit
Simply put, Audi’s Virtual Cockpit replaces your usual analog dials with an adaptive TFT screen. That means you’ll able to use it much like an infotainment system, bringing up everything from music playlists to sat-navigation and directions and everything in between.
It’s not touchscreen enabled, and usually relies on voice control or steering wheel-mounted controls to operate it, and thanks to the magic of the Volkswagen Group, you’ll find this feature almost entirely across the Audi range, with some other versions like VolksWagen’s Active Info display installed in other Volkswagen group cars. Volkswagen typically charges about $800 for its Active Info Display, so they’re evidently a few years away from being standard fitment.
Apart from the superficial notion that they look slick, a virtual cockpit is one of those technological steps that you wonder how you had managed without it before.
In addition to displaying all sorts of fuel efficiency and eco-driving statistics, the Virtual Cockpit will also present information about what you’re listening to, who you’re talking to on the phone, data about the tire temperatures and G-forces pulled while cornering on bends.
3. Hyundai’s panoramic roof airbag
Hyundai Mobis, the company’s Research & Development wing, has revealed a new airbag system for panoramic sunroofs and claims it to be the first in the world. The new airbag system is designed to help keep occupants inside a car that rolls over during an accident, instead of them being thrown out through the panoramic glass roof. The airbag is built into the roof lining and bursts open from the rear to the front in about 0.08 seconds.
Hyundai said that during the development process, the airbag was deployed in a road test using some dummies and prevented the passenger from being flung out of the car and also cushioned the impact on the head. Therefore, serious injuries that might have led to the death of the passenger were reduced to minor injuries.
4. Bentley’s biometric storage
Bentley has introduced a technology seemingly pulled out from a James Bond film. It’s a biometric security system to access a hideaway storage compartment made for the Bentayga SUV.
The system which was developed by Bentley’s commissioning division Mulliner requires a fingerprint scan to access the storage compartment fitted in the car. The system is integrated with the compartment that is made from high-pressure die-cast aluminum. Inside, however, the compartment also houses two USB ports and an auxiliary port to charge your phone.
Bentley did not provide any detail on pricing and availability for the biometric security system but expect to pay a pretty sum of money for the added security.
5. Mercedes Benz road surface scan and magic body control
The new Mercedes Benz S-Class is the world’s first car capable of detecting the road surface undulations in advance. If Road Surface Scan detects such unevenness by means of the stereo camera mounted on the windscreen, Magic Body Control sets up the car’s active suspension beforehand to deal with the situation. This helps to ensure a unique level of comfortable ride. Its almost as if you are on a flying carpet gliding over the road. This highly sensitive and innovative sensor system used by Magic Body Control is optionally available on Mercedes vehicles starting with 8-cylinder engine models. As part of this system also, the suspension can be adjusted to highly comfortable or a bit rigid(sports mode) through the “Comfort” and “Sport” settings.
How it works
The Road Surface Scan uses a stereo camera positioned behind the windscreen. The camera measures the road up to 15 meters in front of the vehicle and with a height measurement accuracy of more than around 3 millimeters. This provides a precise picture of the road surface levels. Together with the information provided on the driving conditions, the control unit continually calculates the best movement strategy for dealing with unevenness in the road. Based on this informations, the active suspension is able to make the damping harsher or softer within microseconds in advance and this is done individually for each separate wheel, and also increase or decrease the load on each wheel via the active hydraulics. This can help to reduce the vehicle body movements significantly. Since the Road Surface Scan is a camera-based system, it is only able to function during the day in conditions of good visibility and on suitably surfaced roads as well as at speeds up to 130 km/h.
Magic Body Control is based on the Active Body Control suspension featuring active suspension that improves both comfort and driving dynamics. In the case of Active Body Control from Mercedes-Benz, the four springs are fitted with hydraulic cylinders to enable the force in each spring to be adjusted individually. As a result of this, the vertical, rolling and pitching movements to which the car’s body can be subjected are almost completely made up for. The control unit gets information on the current driving conditions from various acceleration sensors and compares it with the data from the pressure sensors in the springs and the level sensors on the control arm. All of this results in a combination of optimum comfort and impressive driving dynamics.