|Friday, December 15, 2017
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Cars are changing 

We are all aware that now technology has its foot placed firmly in almost all parts of modern day life and we are often not aware of why or what has or will be introduced or indeed what it will mean to us.

We are going to focus on some things that are changing in the car industry and how this may affect our future driving. On the 28th April 2015 the European Parliament voted over regulations to introduce what is called eCall Regulation and they voted in favour of passing this piece of legislation. What this means is that from April 2018 all new cars will have to be equipped with what is known as eCall Technology. This means in brief that in the event of a serious accident or incident eCall automatically dials 112, Europe’s single emergency number.

Apparently eCall is a perfect example of an EU supported project that developed technological solutions to help save people’s lives, and the legislation now allows the delivery of real benefits of digital technology. So how does this work…… The eCall technology will communicate the vehicles exact location to emergency services, (via one assumes a GPS system of some sort), the time of the incident, direction of travel, (which of course is important on motorways in the event of accidents). This will happen even if the driver is unconscious or unable to make a phone call. There will also be a manual option by the pushing of a button in the car, for example if a witness activates this because the driver is not able to, eCall will transmite the data that is absolutly necessary in the case of an accident. This information will only leave the car in the event of a severe accident and will, we are told, not be stored for any longer than is necessary. Does this mean then, one wonders if we are heading towards a paperless world with regard to accidents? We will have to wait and see ….

Now we will look at self driving cars and what’s happening on this. There are well over 1 billion cars, trucks and buses on the planet, and that does not even include off road vehicles and construction equipment, many of which could be turned into “ground drones” in the future.

Traditional manufacturers like Ford and Volvo are facing off against technological companies such as Google and Apple, alongside this there are start up companies such as Zoox and Nutonomy. In Europe one such startuop company called FiveA1 is attracting substancial attention and the firm has raised 26.8 million pounds .The firm is based in Cambridge and is building its own autonomous driving system with a view to taking on transportation services such as Uber and similar companies of self diving taxis.

There are some other technological features that you may have heard about which are coming to a lot of new cars, dependant on manufacturers and models. Some of these features are:

SCC-otherwise known as Smart cruise control. A sensor fusion calculates the distance from the car in front and maintains a safe distance without the driver having to use the brake (unless of course someone slots into your safety gap, which often happens!).

HUD- otherwise known as Heads up display. This is driving information that is projected onto the widscreen and allows the driver to grasp information whilst keeping thier eyes on the road.

AVM- Around view monitoring system giving a 360degree camera view which enables the driver to see front, rear, side and blind spots around the vehicle.

LKAS-Lane keeping assist system.This security system activates warning lights, alarm and pre safe seatbelt to alert the driver of a lane departure.

Some of these are already in use on certain makes and models but no doubt in the future they will become the “norm” not the added extras or exceptions on high value vehicles .