Tuesday 9 April 2013

The Evolution of Car Technology

There is no doubting the impact technology has had on cars over the past few decades. We take a look at some of the most important advancements.
Satellite Navigation
Gone are the days of pulling by the roadside and asking for help or flicking through a road map. Without Sat Navs, some of us would be lost, literally. Not only do they get us from A to B, but they calculate the best route, give estimations of journey times and highlight oncoming traffic jams whilst calculating an alternative route quicker than you can say “where am I?”.

Parking assist
Those who find it difficult may say parking assist has been the most important technological advancement in the last decade – or else they would have to park further away! But in all seriousness having these can reduce the number of insurance claims you need to make.

Alternative fuels
Okay, so alternative fuels haven’t taken off just yet, but the technology is advancing. The success and popularity of the Toyota Prius has shown the demand is there. One of the reasons why the uptake of electric cars has been slow thus far is the cost factor. Until the technology becomes affordable and is on par with the performance of petrol and diesel, electric cars will continue to account for a tiny minority of vehicles on the road.

Perhaps the most important impact technology has had on cars is safety. It’s hard to believe wearing a seatbelt was made mandatory only thirty years ago but since then a plethora of safety features are helping to save lives every day. They’re now so common most of us take them for granted.

For example, driving long distances can be tiring. It can be easy to lose concentration on the road. Features such as lane assist have been helping drivers keep in between those two white lines while tyre pressure systems have been warning drivers for years. Tiredness recognition systems take safety to a new level. By analysing the steering wheel movements your car can determine if you are feeling drowsy and suggest you take a break. These safety features are available on the new SEAT Leon. Why not see for yourself and arrange a test drive with SEAT?

What’s next? - Driverless Cars
The next big development has to be without doubt driverless cars. They’ve been a thing of sci-fi films for decades but this advancement may not be in the too distant future – possibly as soon as 3-5 years. Tech giant Google are leading the way on this new frontier which already has a working prototype. The appeal is not just the leisurely ease of a journey with driverless cars, it’s the safety aspect too that could have a dramatic impact on the roads.

Google suggest a society with driverless cars would negate human error and could reduce accidents; it could see road rage as a thing of the past too. Computers also have the ability to drive more efficiently, reducing carbon emissions and therefore helping the planet.

So how does it work? As you would expect the car is covered in sensors and lasers from boot to bonnet to continually survey its surroundings. With these the computer can create a three-dimensional image. A camera can not only differentiate colours of a traffic light, but it can also read road signs.

What do you think has been the most important technological advancement in the car industry?