Safety & Convenience Features of New Cars in the AftermarketSeptember 3, 2014 By Todd Ramsey
Driver safety is a rapidly growing concern, and both OEM and aftermarket manufacturers are finding new features to heighten awareness and inhibit inattentiveness behind the wheel for the driving consumer. In addition, convenience features in highly optioned vehicles fresh from the factory also have made strides to the mainstream consumers.
Just take note of the list of new car features that now come as standard or optional equipment from the factory:
• Self Parking - Lexus LS460 was the first in 2006 and now Toyota, BMW, VW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Chrysler, Chevy and others have appeared.
• Rear-View Cameras – According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 85 percent of the 2014 model cars on the road offer rear-view cameras as standard or optional equipment.
• Reverse Sensors – Many vehicles have reverse sensor systems, clearly evidenced by the small ultrasonic sensors in the bumper. When the car is in reverse, audible warnings that increase in frequency indicate the vehicle is closer to the obstacle. Some systems also provide visual indication with lighting of different color.
• Lane Departure Warning – Also called “Lane Keeping,” these systems aim to keep the vehicle in its lane. Many OEM-optioned systems take it a step further, and provide tactile feedback in the steering wheel and a steering response that doesn’t ‘jerk’ the car back into its lane when the driver responds.
• Forward Collision Warning – Keeping a vehicle from following too close and avoiding a front-end collision is what these systems do. All provide visual and audible warnings and many take over the braking system if a response to the warning is not detected.
• Blind-Spot Detection – Detecting blind spots is another popular OEM feature that keeps drivers from running into other vehicles on the road. Often, these have visual warning cues in the mirror, sail panel or A-pillar area to indicate the presence of an obstacle in the driver’s blind spot.
• Automatic Hatch Open/Close – This is a feature found on many premium-optioned Ford, Mercury Honda, Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac SUVs. The Ford feature even allows you to throw your foot under the bumper to initiate opening the hatch. Many other vehicles like minivans have automated sliding doors for ease of access. All of these features can work from the factory key fob remote.
• Adaptive Headlamps – The ability to “follow the road” with the headlamp trajectory is one of the latest safety features present on some premium vehicles. This helps the driver keep eyes on the road in curves, but also helps from blinding oncoming drivers by controlling the angle and throw of the lights. Adaptive headlamps are very sophisticated systems.