January 9, 2019

How smart cars are changing the way we will all commute

There is no question that cars are getting smarter. The advances in automobile technology and automobile innovations over the past decade have taken cars to a whole new level and as we move forward, we can expect not only further technological advances but also an environment where more and more vehicles on the road contain the latest technology. Long gone are the days of manually winding down your window, listening to CDs or using your key to unlock your car. Today, nearly every car on the road has modern-day technology such as electric windows, Bluetooth connectivity, and remote control door locks. These technologies, once considered features of luxury cars, are now a standard feature on any new model off the production line – even the most basic models at the cheapest prices.   This sort of technology is just the tip of the iceberg and soon, technologies like Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning and electric windows will be joined by other more “everyday technologies” like electric seat mechanisms, buttons replacing the handbrake, and keyless boot access.   Whilst it is great that more and more cars are including these technologies, it is the smart car technology that should be getting car enthusiasts really excited. Whilst that technology is already being rolled out in a lot of premium model vehicles here in Australia, it has yet to filter down to the more basic models, however, it won’t be long until the features we discuss in this article become “standard” on every vehicle.   When this happens, the way we all commute will change forever. Congestion will be reduced. Accidents will be reduced. Cars will become more efficient. The future is an exciting one, especially for those who commute a lot on our roads and it’s only a matter of time before we start to see more and more of these technologies rolled out. Autonomous and semi-autonomous cars will be the real game-changer and signal an exciting future and one that should be a lot safer for all road users.

Technologies to improve car safety

Car safety is one area which is being greatly improved by technology. There are a number of features that are already featured on premium models here in Australia and these include:  
  • Collision warning and avoidance – this is a big one and will be one of the first technologies to be rolled out to more vehicles. These collision warning technologies include autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, intersection collision warning, lane support systems, lane keep assist, and reversing collision avoidance.
  • Fatigue assistance – sensors are used to monitor driver attention and detect drowsiness, alerting the driver and prompting them to take a break. This technology is already being deployed across public transportation including buses.
  • Braking stability – systems like electronic stability control, emergency brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution are all helping to improve road traction by detecting if a vehicle is about to lose traction, adjusting the braking to individual wheels to stabilise the vehicle and prevent skidding.
  • Speed alert – this technology has been around in some guise for a while now, however, it is continuing to improve. Alarms can be triggered when pre-set speeds are exceeded. Systems can also be set that understand the road conditions and the speed limits for that road, alerting drivers when they exceed that speed.

Technologies to make cars smarter

Whilst technology to make cars safer is always going to be a priority for car manufacturers, there is also a goal of making cars smarter (which in turn will make them safer). These smart technologies fit in with the wider movement towards smarter transportation networks, including the move to smart cities around the world.   As cars become smarter, they have the ability to “talk” to other vehicles on the road, as well as communicate with transmitters and sensors that are positioned along the roadside.   Using the data collected from thousands, and eventually, millions of sensors will allow smart transportation networks to provide real-time information to drivers, providing accurate information about arrival times, and traffic conditions ahead as well as providing alternative routing based on the driver’s destination and current road conditions.   Connected roads and cars are a gamechanger and as well as reducing congestion, they will also help to reduce accidents. Cars will be fitted with automatic emergency calling that will detect when a vehicle has been in an accident and alert emergency services with the exact location.   The technology behind vehicle to vehicle (V2V) and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communications will also enable drivers to get up-to-date information about upcoming hazards, emergency vehicles and even traffic light changes, helping them to drive more efficiently, but more importantly, more safely.

Embracing technological changes

The automotive industry is one of the leading lights when it comes to the adoption of new technologies, along with other leading industries like online gaming and hospitality.    Whilst safety is an important factor for car manufacturers, the customer experience is another important element. People buy a car because of the way it looks, but also the way it feels and the features available.   Industries like gaming and hospitality rely on keeping ahead of the game when it comes to delivering the best customer experience and technology is letting them do just that.    From an interactive live casino experience, like the one offered by Betway Casino, to keyless, frictionless check-in, offered by Hilton Hotels, technology is changing the way we all lead our lives.    Technological advances in the car industry will have repercussions that extend way beyond simply the driving experience. They will be part of the wider movement that sees cities and transportation networks become smarter as the world becomes more connected.