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8 Essential Technological Innovations For Cars

There are many technological improvements in the automotive world over the last decade. Wheels.ca breaks down the 8 most essential innovations you need in your car.
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8 Essential Automobile Technologies

Keeping up with automotive technology is harder than Keeping Up With The Kardashians. That’s why at Wheels.ca, we’re here to help. Check out the eight most essential automotive technologies that can change your driving experience for the better.

  1. Rear Mounted Camera

With a rear-mounted camera, reverse parking will never be an issue again. You’ll never have to worry about dinging up your car (or a stranger’s) or scraping your bumper on any surface. No longer will a curb, ice or fence ruin your paint job.

Having a rear-mounted camera is almost like having a sixth sense; the visual aid provided by the camera (usually appearing on the dashboard or centre console), in addition to the audio warning (usually a beeping that gets louder as you get closer to an object) almost completely negates poor reverse parking skills. If you’ve ever wanted to be Spiderman, the rear-mounted camera system and audio cues would basically give you “spidy sense.” Sadly that’s as close as you’ll get to becoming Spiderman.

Toyota Corolla back-up camera

Back up camera on the 2015 Toyota Corolla 

  1. Lane Watch Cameras

The next level of camera implementation technology are lane watch cameras which are a feature on the 2015 Honda CRV and other models, although other manufacturers implement them as well. The system features a wide-angle camera mounted on your side windows that activates when you flick your direction switch; the vehicle or center console displays the footage, which in turn reveals your blind spot. Never worry about straining your neck or side swiping a car again.

  1. Night View Assist Plus

Driving during the evening and night always presents challenges. With reduced visibility and the all-encompassing blackness of the night, especially in rural areas, Night View Assist Plus by Mercedes-Benz can recognize potential hazards on the road within a range of up to 160 meters, ensuring a safe and collision free ride.

How does it work? The built-in thermal imaging camera can recognize objects such as pedestrians or large animals. If the system does recognize an object, the area that houses the instruments such as the speedometer will toggle to the night vision camera, which identifies whatever is ahead. The transition to this mode is seamless and not distracting at the slightest to the driver.

Night View Assist

Night View Assist Plus by Mercedes-Benz

  1. Electric Engine Cars

Electric engine cars are just that; automobiles that are propelled by electric motors that utilize batteries and/or other electric energy sources. Electric cars have come a long way in the recent years. The travel ranges of all makes and models are increasing, although the size of the electric car and batteries used determine how far it can go.

RELATED: An electric car timeline

Many newer condominiums are adding recharging stations in their garages as well. If you live in a house, all you need is an outlet to plug into. If you don’t have the time, you can always do a battery swap. This is the process of removing your discharged battery for one that is fully charged at designated stations. Although battery swap and Supercharger stations are reserved specifically for Tesla Motor vehicles, that doesn’t change the affordability of e-vehicles produced by other automotive manufactures.

RELATED: Battery-swapping and other electric-vehicle lunacy

  1. Tesla Motors

Tesla Motors is an American company that ONLY designs and manufactures electric cars. What makes Tesla Motors different than your other electric car manufacturers is that not only did they produce the world’s first fully electronic sports car, the Tesla Roadster, but they also produce electric powertrain components for other manufactures, such as Daimler and Toyota.

RELATED: Tesla Model S Big Reveal: D For Dual

Tesla Motors also began building a network of fast charging stations in 2012. Tesla’s don’t come cheap, but the money saved on gas is phenomenal, especially since Tesla’s Supercharger stations can provide the Model S with 240 kilometres of range with a 20-minute charge (charging elsewhere, such as home, takes longer). The Model S was also designed to enable fast battery swaps within the Supercharger stations, which is always a plus. Currently there are 148 Supercharger stations in North America but only one Supercharger station in the US offers battery swapping. The list is expected to grow exponentially in the years to come as Tesla Motors releases more economically friendly vehicles that would justify an increase in Supercharger stations and battery swapping equipment (which only takes 5 minutes).

Tesla Model S

Photo supplied by Tesla

  1. Laser Headlights

Sounds cool but it’s probably not what you’re thinking; you won’t be able to shoot actual lasers from your car’s headlights. Sorry, you can’t be 007 just yet.

BMW announced this innovation at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor show stating it would be incorporated into its i8 sports car (although Audi is currently manufacturing a variation of laser headlights as well); according to the manufacturer, lasers will be 1000 time more powerful than LED. What does this mean to you, the consumer? A more aerodynamic, energy efficient vehicle and optimal driving experience.

  1. Hands-free Lift Gate

Have your hands been so full that opening the trunk door was a Mission: Impossible?

Fear not! (At least, not anymore) More and more vehicles, such as the 2015 Lincoln MKC and the 2014 Ford Escape Titanium come equipped with the hands-free lift gates. As long as the key fob is on your person, all you’ll have to do is approach the trunk and move your foot underneath the bumper. A motion detector will automatically lift the trunk for you. You literally have no more excuses to not go shopping.

Foot Lift Gate

Foot Lift Gate on the 2014 Ford Escape

  1. USB Car Charger

With all the electronic devices everyone has, one USB charger usually doesn’t suffice, especially if you have kids or carpool. A USB Car Charger  with multiple ports comes in very handy.

USB adapter converter plug with charging cable on a car

 

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