The Driver-Friendliest New Car Tech of 2013
Cars have always symbolized freedom for Americans and the latest in auto-friendly technology is designed to make us even less restricted behind the wheel.
First, there’s the road-monitoring car from Lexus. Dubbed their “advanced active safety research vehicle,” this robotic car is their current test system designed to monitor road conditions to help drivers steer clear of danger..
While the ultimate goal for Lexus with the system is to eventually reduce traffic fatalities to 0 percent, the technological challenge behind its operating success is making sure sensors read properly and the software is appropriate.
While Lexus focuses on aiding drivers, Audi is aiming to make driving optional with its autonomous vehicle. Currently, Audi is testing a self-parking car that can back out of a parking spot, navigate out of a garage, and pull right up to waiting passengers. But it plans to someday sell cars that can take the wheel on a highway and drive on autopilot. [See also: Audi Debuts Self-driving Car]
Known for its navigational systems, Garmin has now taken the technology that it uses in airplanes and cockpits and made that available for automobiles in the form of an “infotainment” system.
The device, which looks like a computer embedded into a car’s dashboard, features a 10-inch touchscreen and allows the driver to read email, use apps and access navigation, all from behind the wheel.
For safety purposes, the ability to activate features by touchscreen while driving is eliminated, although the user can activate them via voice control.
But Harman’s new interactive heads-up display takes a different approach. It projects road info, warnings and lane guidance features in front of drivers on to their windshield so they don’t have to look down at a screen to get navigation information.
The infrared gesture system allows users to raise and lower the volume of the music they’re playing, change a track or swipe away an incoming call just by moving their hands.
The high definition and full color display make lane warnings easier to see and allow drivers stopped at a stoplight to get a full image of whoever is calling them.