Car Care: Car safety aids get smarter
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AA Motoring says sensors and reversing camera now on most new vehicles
Driver aids and assists are becoming increasingly common in today’s new vehicles as manufacturers respond to the public’s demand for well-equipped car safety packages.
Standard equipment in most new cars are parking sensors and a reversing camera which helps drivers navigate out of tight spots by providing views of the vehicle and alarms.
Reverse sensors monitor proximity to objects close to the front and rear bumper and progressively alert the driver of any approaching objects, especially handy when it comes to parking. The closer you are to an object, the faster and more prominent the warning gets.
Sensors combined with a reversing camera form a basic starting point that the vast majority of car manufacturers now adopt. The camera is usually positioned near the rear number plate, in a central location, to give an even view of what’s going on. The image is then projected on a screen inside the vehicle — and sometimes this is a small screen incorporated into the rear vision mirror.
The display screen inside the car may have horizontal lines that simulate the width and path your car can travel. These can be lined up with a parking space to ensure you fit in the spot.
Upgraded systems include steering angle or “projected path” lines. Based on the angle of the steering wheel, these lines change position to help the driver carry out the perfect parking manoeuvre in record time.
Some systems also adopt Blind Spot Information Systems (BLIS) where Rear Cross Traffic Alert is incorporated. BLIS has the ability to warn drivers of approaching vehicles from your blind spot when changing lanes in traffic.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert scans up and down the street to be able to warn drivers of approaching vehicles as they reverse out of a carpark or driveway.
This is extremely helpful when trying to reverse in areas where there is a limited view of the road because of the obstruction of vehicles.
Top-spec parking systems are fast adopting cameras that feature a 360-degree, bird’s eye view of the vehicle and its surroundings. These systems make use of multiple cameras around the car, which provide an aerial view of the vehicle, giving the driver an even better perspective of obstacles around them.
And now the ultimate reversing safety aids have been launched in the flagship BMW 7 Series — the luxury sedan. The German car maker has introduced a feature that doesn’t just warn you of obstacles — it also actively stops the vehicle from continuing to drive if it senses an impact is imminent.
Expect to see this kind of innovative development flow through to new vehicles, as the automotive industry continues to adapt and flex its sensor-related technology to its full potential.
With all this modern technology it’s still best practice to get out and have a look yourself if you’re not sure what’s behind you. After all, it only takes a few seconds to be safe.