Impressive New Technology Available on Today's Cars

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【Summary】Although self-driving cars are getting much of the attention lately, automakers are introducing many new high-tech features in today's new models.

Eric Walz    Apr 26, 2017 4:40 PM PT
Impressive New Technology Available on Today's Cars

Autonomous vehicles are being tested in California and around the world. However, a fully autonomous car is not yet available to the public. While we are waiting, there is still plenty of innovative automotive technology already available in today's cars. Here is a look at some.

Mercedes Benz Remote Parking Pilot


Parking assistance aids can be found in many vehicles today. Mercedes Benz has taken this idea one stage further with Remote Parking Pilot. With this feature, drivers can park their car using an app on their smartphone while standing outside the vehicle. This system is ideal for narrow parking spaces and garages, where exiting the vehicle is difficult because of a wall, or an adjacent car is too close to allow you to fully open the door to comfortably exit.

Mercedes Benz Pre-Safe Impulse

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With all the cameras and radars cars are now equipped with, it is likely your car will spot danger before you do. If your Mercedes Benz identifies that a side impact is imminent, it will actively move the driver or passenger away from the door towards the centre of the vehicle. It does this by inflating air chambers in side bolsters of the seat within a fraction of a second. The occupant is then moved further away from the impact zone reducing the risk of injury. This system is available in many 2017 Mercedes models.

BMW Gesture Control

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Many vehicles are equipped with voice activated controls. Most drivers are used to being able to ask their car to make a call or find a destination. However, BMW has created gesture control so that a driver does not have to speak to activate some features, a driver can simply just wave their hand in front of the car's center console.

With BMW's iDrive system, a driver can forego pressing any buttons or turning any knobs to do things such as increase or decrease the audio volume, answer or reject incoming phone calls, zoom in on maps, and more. Making any of six available hand gestures in the vicinity of the center console allows 3D sensors to register and complete the request by using your hand gestures. Whenever a gesture is available, a small icon appears on the 10.2-inch high-resolution touch-screen on the dash. It is available in the 2016 and newer BMW 7 Series.

BMW Display Key

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Since keyless entry and push button start became common, the usefulness of a physical key has been declining. Although we still need them, BMW decided to make their keys more interesting. The BMW Display Key includes a small touchscreen display, allowing you to check fuel levels, check your parking location, turn on the vehicle's conditioning before you enter a hot car, and confirm that your vehicle is locked after you exit the vehicle, all from the key fob.

Volvo's Pilot Assist II

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There are plenty of semi-autonomous features already available. One of the more impressive is Pilot Assist II by Volvo. This system controls the steering to keep you in your lane, and also keeps you at a steady driving speed.

Your Volvo can detect cars ahead and automatically brake to maintain a safe distance, or speed up to keep you moving with the flow of traffic.This technology is also available on other premium models such as Tesla and Mercedes-Benz, but Volvo's version does not need clear road markings to keep the vehicle in a lane. Pilot Assist II can detect the edge of the road even if it is not clearly defined and does not rely on other cars as indicators to determine your lane position.

Tesla's Biochemical Weapon Mode

One of the most unusual features in any car comes from Tesla. Tesla's new Model X comes with a Hepa filtration system, developed using technology from the aerospace industry and hospital systems.

According to Tesla, air pollution has a significant and pervasive impact on public health and the World Health Organization, now considers it "the world's largest single environmental health risk," with more than three million people dying every year as a result. This is more than twice the number of people that die in vehicle accidents each year.

Tesla developed a HEPA filtration system capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria, and pollution before they enter the cabin and systematically scrubbing the air inside the cabin to eliminate any trace of these particles.

The end result is a filtration system hundreds of times more efficient than standard automotive filters, capable of providing the driver and her passengers with the best possible cabin air quality no matter what is happening in the environment around them. Tesla is so confident in this technology, they claim you could survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in your car.

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