Smarter Cars: 9 Tech Trends - InformationWeek

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7/30/2014
12:32 PM
David Wagner
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Smarter Cars: 9 Tech Trends

Can your car wake you up if you get sleepy behind the wheel? Or recommend a good Mexican restaurant? These nine technologies will soon change the way we think about cars.
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Current market safety sensors
If you have shopped for a brand new car in the last few years, especially a luxury car, you've started to see this trend in action. Parking assist and backup cameras are yesterday's news. Increasingly, we're seeing cars with lane control, active cruise control, tailgating warnings, braking assist, and collision prevention technology. They all rely on a series of external sensors (usually a combination of radar and visual sensors) to determine how close an object is. The sensors usually give an audio cue followed by automated intervention. Braking assist (pictured) is one of the best examples as it really makes simple use of technology to prevent the most common of collisions. A newer application of this technology is active cruise control, which decelerates slightly for you when you are approaching a slower car. While none of this technology can prevent sudden violent movements that sometimes cause accidents, they can prevent minor careless mistakes from turning into bigger tragedies. One technology coming down the pike is 3D imaging using lasers that will make all of these technologies even more accurate and useful.

Current market safety sensors
If you have shopped for a brand new car in the last few years, especially a luxury car, you've started to see this trend in action. Parking assist and backup cameras are yesterday's news. Increasingly, we're seeing cars with lane control, active cruise control, tailgating warnings, braking assist, and collision prevention technology. They all rely on a series of external sensors (usually a combination of radar and visual sensors) to determine how close an object is. The sensors usually give an audio cue followed by automated intervention. Braking assist (pictured) is one of the best examples as it really makes simple use of technology to prevent the most common of collisions. A newer application of this technology is active cruise control, which decelerates slightly for you when you are approaching a slower car. While none of this technology can prevent sudden violent movements that sometimes cause accidents, they can prevent minor careless mistakes from turning into bigger tragedies. One technology coming down the pike is 3D imaging using lasers that will make all of these technologies even more accurate and useful.

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David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/6/2014 | 1:36:04 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
Just put down the phones when you're driving, people. 


Or pick them up AFTER you buy a self-driving car. :)
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/4/2014 | 4:26:08 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
While the tech may be advancing, peoples' use of it isn't. Just put down the phones when you're driving, people. 
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 12:27:02 PM
Re: outside airbags?
@leeB120- I'm 99% sure that's a hoax. I can't find a definitive link to prove it, but I really think if any bump on the hood triggered airbags they'd have long been taken out or repaired.

Either way, external airbags wouldn't go off on content. It would be too late by then. They need to go off proactively with a different system.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
8/1/2014 | 12:22:12 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
My next car will have that auto-parallel-park feature, no doubt. I will drive around so much longer now looking for one that doesn't require parallel parking. My high school driving instructor would be displeased...


@Kristin- Ha! All you need to do is move into a neighborhood with a parking shortage. I became the best parallel parker in the world in grad school. :)

My skills have diminished now with a garage. 

What I want now is a car with sensor to keep from running over the junk in my garage. :)
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 9:06:19 AM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
My next car will have that auto-parallel-park feature, no doubt. I will drive around so much longer now looking for one that doesn't require parallel parking. My high school driving instructor would be displeased...
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 9:04:44 AM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
But if I'm stuck in traffic, I'd much rather be reaading a book or playing a game or talking to my family than worry about hitting the bumper in front of me.


^^Scary to think that I've seen people do all those things in traffic without autonomous cars...
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/1/2014 | 9:03:19 AM
Re: External airbags
@Susan -- that's exactly what I was thinking. @Dave's points about the cost are another good one: At what point does a fender bender cost less than external airbags? How does this factor into whether or not they deploy? Lots of variables, but will be interesting to see if they come to fruition.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 5:14:49 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
@Lorna- Don't worry, by that time we'll be 3-D printing food anyway. :)
Lorna Garey
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Lorna Garey,
User Rank: Author
7/31/2014 | 2:30:56 PM
Re: Talking not just to me ...
I guess that's true! I just hope these are perfected by the time I am too old to drive myself around to the grocery store.
David Wagner
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David Wagner,
User Rank: Strategist
7/31/2014 | 2:17:36 PM
Re: Connected cars
@kstaron- Ha! Well, i hope they won't be able to do Clash of Clans on their windshield. But you do bring up a point-- we have to make sure we use it to augment the driver, not distract them.

This is someplace where we can learn a lot from fighter pilots.
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