Tech Tuesday: The latest tech toys for your car

By Bobby Roshdi Wheels.ca

Oct 20, 2015 4 min. read

Article was updated 8 years ago

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Much like your ever-expanding waistline after Thanksgiving weekend, automotive technology continues to advance. Belts and seatbelts won’t stop their march forward so all you can do is sit back and embrace change. Here are 6 new automotive technologies that are cooler than that kid Seth you went to high school with. Remember? He had the hearts of the student body and a motorcycle. tech toys

1. Vehicle-to-Vehicle Technology/Vehicular Ad Hoc Network

Imagine cars that can talk to each other. No, they won’t be talking about celebrity gossip and the weather but rather about useful information like the Toronto Raptors... In reality the goal of this technology is to help reduce and eventually eliminate vehicle accidents.

V2V communications creates a wireless network designed to inform vehicles and their drivers of things such as: speed, location, braking, direction of travel, traffic lights, pedestrian location, traffic irregularities (i.e. car passing a red light) and more. The driver would be alerted of problems via audio cues and alerts via a Heads-Up Display. The frequency used for this technology is the 5.9GHz frequency. The technology would work between car-to-car forming a network with other technologically capable vehicles and smart traffic signals (called Vehicle to Infrastructure or V2I tech.


Image Source: Extreme Tech

2. Inflatable Seat Belts

Inflatable seat belts clear upgrades to the current iteration found standard in most cars. Upon an impact of at least 8 mph, the seat belts inflate in less than 40 milliseconds and, according to Ford, spread crash forces across 5 times the body are of traditional seatbelts.

These belts are designed for the backseat and resemble a larger than average 3-point harness. After being deployed, the belts deflate after 6 seconds, which can be helpful if a car rolls over as it provides passengers with mobility without being pressed upon. Ford currently offers this technology in several models, as does Mercedes-Benz and Lincoln.


3. Knee Airbags

Car accidents often injure people when their lower extremities make contact with the dashboard. Although these injuries are not fatal, they can cause life-long injuries or disabilities that can drastically decrease the quality of one’s life.

The advent of knee airbags aims to remove that problem. These can be installed under the footwell, steering column and below the glovebox. The knee airbag, when deployed with the front airbag, will keep the occupants in a stable position, reducing overall injuries as they are protected in the proper position.

4. Ford MyKey

MyKey technology helps (read: forces) teenagers or hypothetically anyone the car owner doesn’t like too much but trusts enough to use the car (I.e. in-laws) to drive responsibly. How? It promotes seat belt use, limits the vehicle’s top speed and caps audio volume.

It works pretty easy. You can program any key via the car’s message center. When someone uses the same key, the car detects the code and activates the settings you chose. For a list of modes and options, visit Ford.com.

Be warned. Your loved ones will hate you.


5. Mercedes-Benz Magic Sky Control

Your child-like dreams of becoming a wizard of come true, in a very, very limited sense. Congratulations Gandalf.

Some Mercedes-Benz vehicles come equipped with large panoramic roofs. The view is great but sometimes passing light can be bothersome and can also heat up the cabin. With Magic Sky Control, you can alter, by electric means, the amount of light coming in: go from “dark” to “transparent.” Whether you like open skies or shade, the choice is yours and it’ll work in seconds.

Mercedes-Benz Sky Control

6. Airless Tires

South Korean tire company Hankook is currently the 7th largest tire company in the world. It is also developing an airless tire that, unlike your pop, never goes flat. The Hankook iFlex tire, or Non-Pneumatic Tire (NPT), utilizes eco-friendly materials and is supposed to be a breakthrough. The tire has gone through vigorous tests and has shown to match conventional tires in performance aspects.

Airless Hankook tires

Image Source: Hankook Tire
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