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Vehicles that predict collisions? The future is now

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    Friday, April 11, 2014, 12:56 PM - There have been huge advances in technology in the past years and there is no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. In regards to the automotive industry, there have been several technological advances to make our drive easier and safer.

    Gerry Malloy, editor of Autofile.ca and technical columnist for the Toronto Star's Wheels section explains what new innovative technologies he has seen, “There have been lots of advancements in powertrains focused on reducing fuel consumption. Typically things like smaller engines, improved aerodynamics and a widespread focus on weight reduction. Other areas of rapid advancement include the whole field of connectivity, both in term of in-car infotainment and communication technologies and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems.”

    Companies in the automotive industry are creating their own brands of driver-aid technologies. For, example, Mercedes-Benz has developed “Intelligent Drive” and Infiniti has something called the “Safety Shield”. Malloy explains, “The more generic term, now widely accepted in the industry, is Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). In short, they assist the driver in various ways from maintaining a consistent distance behind vehicles ahead to providing warnings and information regarding potentially dangerous situations to automatically intervening to prevent collisions if they become imminent.”

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    One such vehicle that can intervene to prevent collisions before they happen is the Infiniti Q50. Michael Kopke, Senior Manager and Chief Marketing Manager of Infiniti Canada says, “We really try and create a safety bubble around the car. We try to get passive safety features for the driver instead of active, active being seat belts or air bags. Those are great safety features but we really don’t want to have to use them.” The Infiniti Q50 has a feature called ‘predictive forward collision warning’ which has the ability to see up to two cars in front of your car.

    Kopke explains, “There’s a sensor on the front of the car that is bouncing radar forward. This technology can identify if the distance between your car and the back bumper of the car in front of you starts to close really, really fast.” If this happens, the vehicle will actually warn you that something is happening and you need to press on the breaks. Kopke continues, “If you don’t do anything, the car will actually deploy a percentage of breaking for you.” The “warning” comes in two forms. There’s a visual warning in the form of a small digital screen that will show yellow flashing. The other is an audible warning that Kopke describes as a “bong” noise.

    “Basically, the car is getting two signals back. One from the car immediately in front of you and one from the car in front of the car in front of you,” explains Kopke. So, even if your vision is obstructed by a large truck driving if front of you, this technology will still alert you if the vehicle in front of the truck goes into a panic breaking situation.

    Malloy explains that the technology behind Advanced Driver Assistance Systems is becoming more common and is highly effective. With all of these new advancements and innovations in automotive technology, who knows what we can expect to see next?

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