Now more than ever, it’s important for dealers to stay up to speed with the latest automotive technology. Autotrader recently published a list of new vehicle technology to look out for in 2019, mainly consisting of driver assistance safety features. The most competitive new vehicles offered on the market today can be found with most of the following: radar cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, automatic high beams, blind spot detection, parking sensors, and rear cross traffic monitoring.
As these technologies are new and still evolving, what’s viewed as a comprehensive offering now will likely seem underwhelming in just a few years. Below, I’ll cover the tech that should make up the next generation of driver assistance safety features that will likely become commonplace in the next couple of years.
Most new vehicles are now available with automatic emergency braking. They come with a sensor mounted at the front of the vehicle, and if that sensor detects an object in the road, the vehicle will apply the brakes to avoid impact. Steering avoidance functions in a similar manner where the vehicle will steer away from an object, effectively swerving to miss it.
Front Cross Traffic Alert
Cross traffic alert systems work through a vehicle’s parking sensors or blind spot detection system. This innovation sounds an alert when a vehicle is approaching from the angle and might be outside of the driver’s field of view. The rise of rear parking sensors is accompanied by the rise of rear cross traffic alert. Front parking sensors are the next frontier with front cross traffic alert soon to follow.
Lane tracing is an evolution of lane keep assist, a feature that watches the yellow or white lines that vibrates the steering wheel or takes control of the vehicle to nudge you back in if the vehicle senses a driver is about to drift. In certain situations, this can have a pinball effect, nudging the vehicle from one side of the lane to another, rather than promoting one smooth, straight line of travel. Lane tracing accounts for this shortcoming by looking at both sides of the lane at once and actively working to center the vehicle between them.
Stop and Go
Radar cruise control has been on the market in varying forms for around a decade and is now offered on most mainstream vehicles. Traditionally, these systems have only functioned at highway cruising speeds, but they are now evolving to work in stop and go traffic as well. In this function, they’re able to inch the vehicle forward and bring it to a complete stop, allowing the driver to relax their foot from the gas and brake pedals.
Rear Automated Emergency Braking
Just like front automated emergency braking, rear automated emergency braking will bring the vehicle to a complete stop if it is in danger of hitting an object while in reverse. This feature serves a second line of defense to a backup camera, helping to avoid unnecessary injuries or repairs.
While full vehicle autonomy is still years away, automakers like Tesla and Cadillac are beginning to offer systems that allow a vehicle to drive itself for short periods. These systems are capable of piloting a vehicle at highway speeds for extended periods despite branding misconceptions about the degree of autonomy. Drivers can take their hands off the wheel, but they need to monitor via cameras to ensure they’re ready to take back the wheel at a moment’s notice.
The features listed above represent the new frontier in driver assistance safety features. As newly redesigned vehicles emerge onto the market, expect them to include at least some of these features. Understanding these complex new technologies and articulating their benefits to customers will help dealers forge meaningful relationships while increasing chances of closing the sale.