With self-driving cars just a few years away, some of the vital technologies that will help computer systems navigate our roads are already available on some of the newest vehicles hitting the market. You can’t buy a fully autonomous vehicle yet, but there’s plenty of cars for sale on websites like Auto Trader, that contain some of these safety technologies that are sure to save thousands of lives in the future.
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
This is the technology that’s got buyers and manufacturers alike talking. AEB is known by many different names across the industry depending on the carmaker, including forward collision alert, collision mitigation safety system and a pre-collision system. The system works by using sensors, radars, lasers and cameras at the front of the car to detect an oncoming hazard and automatically brake. This technology works at speeds of up to 40-50km/hr.
- Adaptive cruise control
The latest generation of this long-time stalwart of car safety now uses cameras, lasers and radar systems to maintain a safe, constant distance between you and the vehicles ahead and behind. The technology will also slow down the car if traffic worsens, and bring it back up to speed again when the road is clear.
- Parking assist
This is particularly handy for drivers who often have to negotiate tight inner-city spots. Parking assist uses the sensors attached to the front and rear bumpers to guide you into a parking spot safely and will warn you if you get too close to a wall, curb or another car’s bumper.
- Electronic stability control (ESC)
This technology was first introduced in the 1990s, but is still improving and developing on new vehicle models today. ESC kicks in when a vehicle begins to lose traction and slip on the road, and will apply one or more of the brakes and dial down the vehicle’s power to regain control of the car.
- Lane-keeping assist (LKA) and lane departure warning (LDW)
These systems work in tandem, using cameras and lasers to monitor lane markers and keep you driving in the right lane on a highway. LDW will chime or beep if you drift out of your lane, and LKA will then gently guide you to return you back to your correct place in the road.
- Rear-cross traffic alert
This system senses when traffic may cross your path while you’re reversing, and it is particularly helpful when you’re backing out of a parking spot or a driveway. Some advanced systems will also automatically brake to avoid an accident.
- Blind-sport warning
This system uses a special camera or radar mounted to the rear of the car and will tell you when another vehicle is lurking in your blind spot; this will stop you from pulling out by accident. This is particularly helpful on busy highways, where cars can approach very quickly from behind as you attempt to pass. An advanced blind-sport warning system will also brake, or, if possible, steer the vehicle back into the center lane to avoid a crash.