Keeping up with in-car technology
New features dedicated to driver safety
In recent years, manufacturers of new vehicles have made their vehicles and occupants safer by introducing features designed to either help avoid an accident happening in the first place, or to take pro-active measures to help reduce injury to occupants when an accident is deemed to be unavoidable.
Electronic Stability Control (ESC), for example, is along with pre-tensioner seat belts and multiple airbags an expected safety feature on all new vehicles these days.
ESC has been hailed as one of the best safety inventions since the seat belt because it is pro-active, and can detect a vehicle starting to lose steering control and will automatically apply individual brakes (and in some cases reduce engine power) to help bring a vehicle back under control.
The seat belt and airbag technology has also been taken to new heights of safety, and developed to a stage where if an accident is unavoidable, then steps are taken to ensure occupants are better protected at point of impact.
Blind spot monitoring warns the driver of passing vehicles caught in that “blind” spot area and flashes an alert in the outside mirror or gives a warning beep if the driver indicates to move out of their lane and another vehicle is alongside.
Another feature becoming more common is being able to set following distances to a vehicle in front when the cruise control is activated. If following gaps close suddenly or to a predetermined distance as traffic slows, then the brakes are applied automatically to stop the risk of a nose to tail impact. Driver lane departure warnings have also become the norm and warn the driver when they are wandering out of their lane and the indicators have not been activated.
The good news for those who can’t afford a brand new vehicle is that over time these safety benefits will filter down and become common and standard features of a high percentage of used vehicles, much like ESC is doing now.
The even better news is some of the pro-active safety features we mention are now available as an aftermarket fitment. An Auckland based company called Retro Vehicle Enhancement (RVE) are able to provide via a dedicated network of installers nationwide, a variety of safety aids at affordable prices.
Their most popular product is called Intelligent Driver Assist System (or IDAS) and is designed to enhance a vehicle’s safety and includes the following features:
●Front Collision Warning (prompts a driver to set a safe distance at any speed)
●Lane Departure Warning (generates an audible signal if the vehicle deviates from its lane)
●Driver warning when traffic ahead is about to move off.
Additional features include:
●Digital video recorder (constantly covers outward views front and rear when the vehicle is in motion or when parked)
●Instant recording function (stores the previous 30 seconds leading up to an incident the driver wishes to store)
●Touch operation LCD display
●GPS track recording and digital speedometer
●Battery discharge prevention
●Micro SD card for full function PC playback
RVE Group managing director Dave Stanners said the system brings real advantages to a number of different vehicle vendors and operators.
“For fleet and rental operators this is a great way to improve the safety and security of vehicles. The warning system also assists in improving the standard of vehicle operation, and assists with driver attention,” he said.
“These systems are gaining in popularity around the globe for private owners as well.”
The current nationwide list price for the IDAS is $1499.
A separate blind spot monitoring kit can also be sourced and installed through RVE. For more information go to rve.co.nz