The number of vehicle safety systems has grown quickly over the past decade, which is why it is normal to get confused about some of these technologies and their main purposes. Understanding how all of these operate and how they can help you avoid an accident is key to deciding whether they are worth it.
If you own a vehicle that has some or all of the features mentioned below, it’s important to know how they work and what to do if you get an alert about a potential accident. So, let’s begin describing each of the modern vehicle safety systems that we see in cars nowadays.
Adaptive Cruise Control
This technology uses the car’s radar and camera modules to change the cruising speed when detecting a slower vehicle ahead. With adaptive cruise control on, your car can maintain a specific distance from the vehicle in front of you. There are usually three set options for the following distance, but also advanced versions that can bring your car to a full stop if the car ahead stops. This feature is handy and reduces driver fatigue, but is still not something that should work on its own without monitoring it.
Active Park Assist
Next up on our list of modern vehicle safety systems is what’s known as active park assist. This feature seeks out and measures empty spots to help you park your car. In fact, it will automatically steer the vehicle into the position and practically park it for you. The only thing that you would need to operate is the accelerator and brake. Active park assist is present in both parallel and perpendicular parking capabilities, and while the technology is not perfect and can easily hit curbs or closely parked vehicles, it is still something that makes parking easier in many ways.
Automated Emergency Braking
The use of forward-facing cameras is again highlighted in what’s known as automated emergency braking – a system that warns the driver of a potential forward collision with another vehicle, pedestrian, or object. Then, the system applies braking itself to prevent collision. There are braking systems that are also controlling vehicles that are reversing. However, drivers in the UAE should not rely on such features, as they don’t always brake hard enough or early enough to prevent an accident.
Automatic High Beams
We all know how irritating high beams can be – luckily, modern car manufacturers developed a technology that puts this problem in the past. New headlamp systems automatically switch to high beams when no vehicles are present on the road, using light-sensitive sensors and high-tech camera modules that can easily detect oncoming vehicles, adjusting to low or medium beam strength.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Sonar sensors that are commonly found in the rear bumpers, as well as cameras in the exterior mirrors, have been put to new use lately. A technology known as a blind spot monitor watches adjacent lanes, alerting drivers to other vehicles that might be in the blind spot or hidden by the car’s roof pillars. The technology is often symbolized with a warning light in the exterior mirrors which illuminate or flash when a vehicle is detected close by or in the adjacent lane.
Lane Departure Warning
Lane departure warning is a technology that uses a camera-based assistance feature and looks for lane markings. The system alerts the driver if the vehicle is in danger of wandering out of its lane or has started exiting the lane without activating the turn signal. Similarly to this, a technology known as Lane Keeping Assist prevents the vehicle from going in another lane by providing a visual or an audible alert to accompany any lane departure without the turn signal being activated.
This feature is currently offered on luxury cars from brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and others. It uses forward-facing thermographic cameras to watch for pedestrians, animals, and vehicles that are difficult to spot in the dark. The system is accompanied by a small display that is usually present on the infotainment screen, showing an image of what is ahead and any potential obstacles outlined in a heat signature.
As you could see from the above mentioned, vehicle safety systems have come a long way over the years. In times when most of the road accidents involve some form of human error, the combination of these technologies are meant to provide the best chance of preventing a crash, reducing driver fatigue, or simply making driving easier and safer for everyone.