Improving the driving experience: Progress for in-car technology
In today’s increasingly competitive automotive market, car manufactures have been looking towards creating the best possible driving experience for their customers. With self-driving technology on the horizon and an increasingly eco-conscious consumer, manufactures have had to adapt their offerings in order to remain competitive and relevant. But what developments to in-car technology can we expect to see in the next few years, and how much progress has already been made?
ISA (or Intelligent speed assist) is a new feature which lets drivers know when they have exceeded the speed limit on almost any road. 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.
The new Nissan Leaf electric model 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.
This new technology was developed with the goal of maximising efficiency, improving on the standards already set by previous models in this range. Nicknamed the ECO-pedal system, the pedal controls the speed of acceleration to prevent revving up the engine. 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%.
Lane departure warning technology
Drivers can now switch lanes more easily and safely with the addition of lane departure warning systems. These 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.
Adapting to the weather
A relative newcomer to the market, weather adaptation systems allow vehicles to adapt to road weather conditions. Jaguar Land Rover recently announced that all of their new vehicles will be equipped with the systems, which allow 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 intelligent system will be particularly useful to Land Rover and Range Rover models, such as the new Land Rover Discovery Sport Hse, that drives on all terrains. 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.
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. We can expect to see this technology by 2020, alongside JLR’s autonomous technology and electrified models.
BLIS – Blind spot information system
When a vehicle enters your blind spot zone, the BLIS (blind spot information) 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.
The future looks bright for in-car technology and with driver safety, environmental efficiency and driver comfort being prioritised, we can expect to see the industry transformed within the next few decades.