How have driving assists changed with the times? In the previous article, we touched on the more traditional forms of driving aids. Today, we take a look at several modern safety-specific ones that have gone mainstream!
With technologies advancing at an exponential rate, it is to be expected that sooner or later, the automotive sector would stand to gain from such developments. And gained, it has. From radar sensors to advanced telematics, cars are now smarter than ever. For this segment, we will explore the following features.
Adaptive Cruise Control
An evolution from the humble cruise control feature, this advanced variant (referred to as Adaptive Cruise Control, or ACC) employs front-mounted sensors to spot vehicles in front, before adjusting the travelling speed accordingly. They are either laser or radar-based, and drivers can adjust the sensitivity on the fly.
More advanced versions of the ACC can even follow the lead car to a halt in heavy traffic, and move from a standstill without driver intervention. This is especially helpful when you get stuck in a jam or in slow peak hour traffic, and would rather let the car do most of the work.
Made popular by numerous Japanese automakers during the Bubble Era, ACC was initially designed as a state-of-the-art piece of technology reserved only for the best. However, it has since gone on to become a staple in many entry-level premium cars.
Lane Departure Warning / Lane Keep Assist
You may have come across the Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS) in newer cars. As its name suggests, these technologies help to keep your vehicle centred in the lane you’re in, and prevents you from deviating into other lanes and potentially causing a collision.
Both of them employ cameras & sensors to detect road markings. Once the LDW system realises that you are straying away from your lane, it will provide aural, physical and/or visual feedback. This includes flashing lights, warning chimes, and even steering wheel vibrations. If no action is taken, LKAS takes it a step further by taking over and gently steering the car back in line.
Blind Spot Monitoring System
Ever had near-misses with other motorists when changing lanes, mainly due to them being blocked by your car’s blind spots? Automakers have set out to solve this issue by introducing blind spot monitoring systems into their modern offerings. This helpful piece of kit provides visual feedback to the driver, and warns them of potentially hidden from view.
Cars equipped with this technology usually have uprated side mirrors that have built-in warning lights. When an obstruction is detected by the car’s sensors, these lights will flash to alert the driver.
Some carmakers have also gone the extra mile by mounting cameras onto said mirrors. When the turn signals are engaged, the camera view is then reflected on the digital gauge cluster. This in turn eliminates the need to turn your head all the way to check your blind spot (although we still recommend doing it as a good driving habit). As such, it does not matter if your vehicle has chunky C or D pillars, as its blind spots are virtually removed!
At the current rate of growth for such technologies, it comes as no surprise that you can easily find these features inside many vehicles today, even bread-and-butter ones. From keeping your vehicle in the correct lane, to alerting you of potential hazards in your blind spots, safety is assured.
However, as with all types of assists, they are not supposed to completely replace the driver but merely to aid them in getting from Point A to Point B as safely as possible. As such, we strongly advise you to practise good and sensible driving habits at all times even with the assists turned on.
In our next segment, we will run you through performance-oriented driving assists that will make your driving experience a much more rewarding one!
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