Every year the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) presents an award for the Best New Technology of the Year.
The winner is chosen by a jury of 12 AJAC journalists with specific technical qualifications, following presentations on the technologies by their manufacturers.
This year, 23 new technologies were submitted for consideration, from which 10 were shortlisted as finalists. In alphabetical order by manufacturer, they are:
Ford Hands-Free Liftgate Control:
The hands-free liftgate system on the Ford Escape uses two sensors in the rear bumper to detect a person’s shin and kicking motion, to trigger opening of the liftgate.
The system is programmed to safeguard against accidental opening when an animal runs under the car or when the vehicle hits a bump on the road.
General Motors Front Centre Airbag:
Available in the 2013 Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Chevrolet Traverse, the airbag is designed to help protect drivers and front passengers in side-impact crashes on the opposite side of the vehicle.
It deploys from the right side of the driver’s seat and also is expected to provide benefit in rollovers.
General Motors Front-Rear Automatic Braking:
Available on the Cadillac ATS, XTS and SRX, this technology acts like a “virtual bumper,” slamming on the brakes as a last resort to help if the driver fails to react to another vehicle or object in the vehicle’s path.
It can help drivers avoid crashes in low-speed conditions and reduce impact speed under higher speed circumstances.
General Motors FNC Brake Rotors:
Ferritic Nitro-Carburizing, or FNC, is a GM-exclusive corrosion protection process incorporating a unique surface treatment equivalent to one-tenth the width of a human hair.
Featured on the Buick Lacrosse and Regal and Chevrolet Malibu, Impala and Volt, it provides effective braking performance and superior corrosion protection.
Honda Lane Watch:
Honda Lane Watch blind spot display provides an expanded rear view of the passenger side roadway through the vehicle’s multi-information display (i-MID).
It uses a camera positioned below the passenger-side exterior mirror to display a wide-angle view of the passenger side roadway when the right turn signal is activated or when a button on the end of the turn signal stalk is pressed.
Mazda i-ELOOP Regenerative Braking:
This regenerative braking system on the new Mazda6 is the world’s first passenger vehicle regenerative braking system to use a capacitor.
It recovers kinetic energy during deceleration to generate electricity, via a variable-voltage (12—25V) alternator, which is stored for subsequent use in a high-capacity electric double-layer capacitor (EDLC).
Mercedes-Benz Crosswind Assist:
This system in Mercedes-Benz vehicles uses the ESP sensor to detect crosswind gusts and automatically intervene with the brakes to correct the tracking.
Brake intervention on the wheels on the side of the vehicle facing the wind results in a yaw motion which counteracts the crosswind, reducing the vehicle’s lateral drift.
Mercedes-Benz Magic Vision Control:
This system uses fluid guides integrated on both sides along the wiper blade, with minute laser-cut spraying holes, to supply washing fluid to the windscreen discreetly where it is needed, just in front of the wiper blade lip.
The windshield washer fluid reservoir and washer hoses are heated for better protection against icing up, allowing the windshield to be cleaned more effectively at low temperatures.
Nissan Backup Collision Intervention:
Nissan’s BCI systems help alert the driver of approaching vehicles or rear objects when the driver is backing up. BCI uses radar sensors installed on both sides near the rear bumper, to detect an approaching vehicle from the side and sonar sensors to detect objects in the rear.
The system gives visual and audible warnings and pushes the accelerator upward before applying the brake if the driver fails to respond.
Subaru EyeSight Technology:
Available on the 2013 Legacy and Outback, EyeSight uses two cameras to detect obstacles in front of the car, send a warning to alert the driver, and adjust the vehicle’s speed to limit potential damage and possibly avoid it altogether.
It combines seven separate functions, including: pre-collision braking, brake assist and throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane sway warning and lead vehicle start alert.
The winning technology will be announced Feb. 14 at the Canadian International AutoShow, in Toronto.
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