Over the last couple of decades, vehicle safety features have come a long way.
With features such as airbags, crumple zone, and seatbelts, the traditional focal point was minimizing damage after accidents. In recent times, however, automobile manufacturers have shifted focus to preventing crashes altogether.
Considering road accidents in the US incurred over 42,000 fatalities in 2021—an increase of 10.5% from 2020—we can see why this progression is necessary.
Technologies like antilock braking systems, electronic stability control, and traction control have mainstreamed to the point of becoming must-haves in modern vehicles. So, we are going to skip over them and spotlight some of the industry game-changers instead.
Keep reading for 8 of the latest vehicle safety features you could consider having in your future car purchases.
Blind Spot Detection
Standard rear-view and side-view mirrors provide decent coverage of vehicles at the back or those on your sides. However, every vehicle has blind spots.
These are the zones that aren’t visible in your rear-view and side-view mirrors. For this reason, drivers pose a serious threat to vehicles in blind spots while switching lanes.
Blind spot detection keeps track of such vehicles and alerts you visually or audibly. By increasing your spatial awareness, it minimizes the chances of a collision on changing lanes.
While most modern cars come with side-mounted cameras, some applications involve ultrasonic and radar sensors on bumpers or both sides.
This vehicle safety feature tracks your car’s position against your chosen lane and alerts you when you go off the course. How? By giving you a visual cue, physical sensation in the form of vibration, or by setting off a beep.
There’s another variant of this technology—the lane departure warning.
On the whole, it follows a similar objective, but this time there’s a small steering and braking assistance. This gives you added safety and keeps you from deviating and bumping into another vehicle.
Night vision is not yet common but we are starting to see it in high-end automobile companies like Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, BMW, and Audi.
So, how does it work?
Automotive night vision typically uses a thermographic camera to operate, which in turn employs an infrared sensor to detect heat emitted by road obstacles. Then, that thermal data is processed into a black and white image, which is displayed on your infotainment screen.
This feature comes in handy when you’re driving on the outskirts or roads with scattered lighting. Night Vision ensures an extra layer of protection to wildlife and pedestrians faintly visible to the naked eye.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control (ACC) takes conventional cruise control up a notch.
While the latter maintains the speed set by the driver, Adaptive cruise control adjusts your car’s speed to keep you at a safe distance from other vehicles.
Coming to behind-the-scenes, this futuristic technology uses a system of sensors and cameras to analyze your position and traffic dynamics. Whether there’s bumper-to-bumper traffic or red light ahead, ACC will provide a semi-autonomous stop-and-go control.
We’ve been having front, side, and curtain airbags for a while. Now, center-mounted airbags are coming out ahead in automotive tech.
In 2021, we saw this latest version of airbags featured in Toyota Yaris, Kia Sorento, Mazda BT-50, and Isuzu D-Max.
Center airbags provide cushioning between the heads of the driver and the front passenger. This minimizes the risk of neck and spine twisting in rollover and side impact cases.
Safe Exit Assist
Safe Exit prevents you from opening the car if a potential hazard is detected approaching your car from behind.
As utilized in the 2021 Kia Carnival, the system uses sensors around the tail lights to detect incoming traffic. If there’s a risk, the car sets off a chime and locks the passenger doors till it’s safe to step outside.
That said, Kia wasn’t the only automobile that featured Safe Exit Assist in 2021. Hyundai and Audi were among the others that came forward with it, though Audi’s Safe Exit Assist did not include locking the door automatically.
Autonomous Emergency (AEB) Braking has become a standard in modern vehicles since its inception in the late 2000s.
The conventional AEB employs sensors to monitor obstacles ahead and automatically applies brakes if the driver fails to respond on time.
AEB’s extension—Interstation-Scanning AEB—particularly keeps track of vehicles at the intersection and alerts the driver if a potential collision is sensed.
Overhead Vision or 360-Degree Cameras
While you might be well familiar with parking sensors and rearview cameras, overhead vision is a relatively new safety feature.
Overhead vision technology places a camera over your car and gives you extra visibility with a bird-eye view of your surroundings. This comes quite useful when you’re maneuvering in tight spaces or navigating close obstacles.
Taking this ahead, SUV giant, Land Rover, takes a leap into the future with the underfloor view to provide visibility on the terrain underneath.
Over to you
Most next-generation cars would be able to significantly reduce the risk of accidents through ground-breaking technologies.
With features like blind spot detection, a 360-degree camera, and night vision, you get a better view of the road. On the other hand, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist give you enhanced control over your car. And if there’s a chance of collision, intersection-AEB and safe exit assist keep that from happening.
So, as you count bells and whistles in your next car, keep an eye out for safety features. This way, you could enjoy your ride without compromising your life and property.