As we shift towards electric vehicles and semi-autonomous cars, driving will become a different thing. Less involving on motorways at steady speeds, less exciting too. But the flipside is that all this new tech should make the roads safer, with fewer collisions. Here’s the latest;
Innovations in Assisted Driving, connectivity and safety dominate the list of nominations for the 2020 What Car? Technology Award, sponsored by Thatcham Research.
The ten nominees, selected by a panel of experts from What Car? and Thatcham Research, now move to the final stage of judging. The winner will be announced on 14 January, 2020 at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards.
AUTOMATED SALLY TRAFFIC – MARVELLOUS
Among the innovations are a car-to-car communication system that pools traffic information and shares details of hazards, an evolution in air-bag technology that promises to give passengers and drivers added protection in dangerous side impact crashes, and a pair of Driver Monitoring Systems – technology that will play a key ‘Guardian Angel’ role in the safe introduction of Automated Driving by ensuring drivers are ready to take back control of their vehicle.
“We want to celebrate the vehicle technologies that are not only innovative by today’s standards but will also establish new platforms for the future,” said Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research’s Director of Research and one of the award panel judges. “At the same time, we are encouraging carmakers to consider how a new system is introduced, so that it’s safe and drivers use it. We’re looking for the game changers; technology that brings comfort and convenience benefits, while making the driving experience safer and more engaging.”
Thatcham Research has supported the Safety Award category for six years, and now adds its backing to the Technology Award category for the first time in 2020.
Steve Huntingford, What Car? editor said, “We are delighted that Thatcham Research is not only sponsoring the 2020 What Car? Technology Award, but that its experts have joined the judging panel. This is a time of huge innovation in the car industry, with the next few years likely to bring more change than the previous 50.”
ON THE SHORTLIST
Brands and products on the Top Ten list include;
Technology: Emergency Assist on Arteon
Description: Integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Side Assist, Lane Assist and Park Assist functions to bring the car safely to a standstill in the event of driver blackout. Before taking action, Emergency Assist attempts to rouse the driver with brake jolts, steering jerks and by sounding an alarm.
Avery says: “Emergency Assist offers huge safety benefits for all road users in the event of an incapacitated driver situation. Although this may appear to be a niche function, it is essential technology for the Automated vehicles of the future.”
Technology: Route-Based Speed Adaptation on various models including the A-Class
Description: Uses map data to anticipate bends, roundabouts and junctions by slowing the vehicle to appropriate speeds. Once navigated, the vehicle accelerates back up to speeds pre-set by the driver. Integration with Active Distance Assist maintains a safe distance from vehicles in front.
Avery says: “This is a step forward in Assisted Driving, and uses mapping and information captured by the camera to automatically slow the vehicle down when approaching bends, junctions and roundabouts.”
Technology: Driver Monitoring on Mazda3 and CX-30
Description: Part of the wider I-ACTIVSENSE array of safety technology, uses infrared camera and LED technology to monitor the driver’s eye width, blink rate, and facial expressions to determine levels of drowsiness and fatigue. Also monitors the driver’s line of sight and eye movements to assess whether they are paying attention to the road. Driver Monitoring sounds a warning alert if the situation becomes dangerous and will activate automated features such as braking to address the problem.
Avery says: “This is the first of two pioneering Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) in contention for the award. We believe DMS is the next big thing in safety technology. The Mazda system uses infrared cameras to ensure that drivers are not becoming drowsy and are paying attention to the road. That Mazda is making this emerging technology available on an affordable vehicle is commendable. We will see DMS fitment increasing in the coming years, which is great news for keeping drivers attentive and safe.”