I will cover several main ideas in this report. First, I will cover an overview of the technologies that will make driving more comfortable, such as In-car Internet and Coast-to-Coast Radio. I will then cover different ways to make driving easier, such as intelligent cruise control, and voice control. Finally, I will cover technology that will make driving safer. This will include push-button help, seeing through fog and NightVision, and smart seats.
I will now give an overview of the new technologies that are aimed at comfort. You will soon be able to send and receive e-mail, get news, traffic reports, sports scores, and stock quotes all without taking your eyes off of the road. This will all be done on the Internet through voice commands and a voice synthesizer. In order to activate these functions, all the driver has to do is say, “Start my E-mail” into a microphone on the steering wheel and the onboard computer will go to a specified web site where it will download the requested information and convert the text to spoken words for hand and eye free operation. The price will be about $2000 and a monthly fee for connecting to the Internet. This technology will be offered on the 2001 Cadillac Seville or DeVille and the 2001 BMW 750iL and Z8 models.
Another form of comfort technology is Coast-to-Coast radio. This technology is used so that you will never need to face static or have trouble finding good stations in areas away from home. By the end of the year, two companies, XM Radio and Sirius Satellite, are expected to have satellites In place that will be able to broadcast synchronized radio signals all over the country. In addition to the high fidelity, static free sound, you will be able to listen to one station, from coast to coast. There will be about 100 channels to choose from with 50 being commercial free. You’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.95 to enjoy this benefit. BMW, Ford, and DaimlerChrysler have announced to have this as an option on new models soon.
A final comfort tech is active body control. This sophisticated active suspension system is designed to counteract all types of body lean. It stops all lean from cornering, braking, or acceleration so that the car stays flat at all times. The result is a plush, comfortable ride. This also gives you the ability to control the car’s ride height and give you better clearance or better aerodynamics. This is currently only available on the Mercedes Benz CL-Class.
There are several new technologies that will make driving much easier for drivers. The first of these is intelligent cruise control. Any cruise control system can maintain a set speed. This new system also maintains a set distance from other cars too. This system uses radar to detect any cars ahead for about 500 feet. If a slower vehicle is detected in front of your car, the system will slow down the car until you reach the set distance that you selected earlier. This is currently only available on the Mercedes Benz CL-Class.
The next technology geared towards making driving easier is the electronic parking guide. This simple system uses radar to measure how close the vehicle’s bumper is to other objects and signals the driver with both visual and audio alerts to stop the need for guessing if your close or not and gets rid of the chance of scraping your bumper. This is currently only available on the Mercedes Benz CL-Class.
The next piece of sophisticated technology is voice-recognition technology, or simply the ability to control systems by talking to the car. This lets the driver keep his eyes on the road and his hands on the steering wheel. The hard part about developing this technology was getting it to recognize different voices and inflections. There are still some bugs, but it’s a good first try. You will be able to control audio, climate-control, and cellular phone systems easily. With just a word or two, drivers can control radio station, CD tracks, and volume, adjust temperature, switch audio sources, dial a number, and lots more. The driver must remember several key words for the technology to operate properly. It doesn’t always work though, sometime you have to repeat the word or the system will just ignore you. This technology will eventually get much better though since the current technology is first generation. You will be able to enjoy this feature on the Jaguar S-Type and the Mercedes Benz S-Class.
I will now discuss several safety features that will be put into high tech cars. The first safety feature is push-button help. With the push of a button, you can get travel information, roadside assistance, and emergency aid with the Mercedes Benz Tele Aid System. It connects you to a 24-hour center that can track your vehicle’s location via GPS. In an accident, the system will automatically call for help and transmit your location, while center personnel direct emergency help to the vehicle. This will also easily and quickly locate your car if it is stolen. This is currently only available on the Mercedes Benz CL-Class.
The next technology which will make the roads safer are Thermal Imaging and NightVision to see through fog and at night. This technology uses a heads-up-display, like on fighter jets, mounted on the dashboard in front of the driver. This heads-up-display, or HUD, then projects the image onto the windshield. This NightVision gives the driver a view of the road ahead and picks up any heat-emitting objects., such as people, animals, and running cars. Heat-emitting objects appear in white on a black background. This can sense anything three times as far as low beams. When you are driving, you don’t look directly at the HUD, but your peripheral vision would pick up the bright object in the NightVision display. This can be used to avoid deer, see cars in dense fog, or even see a parked police car with its lights out and its engine running sitting by the side of a highway. This is only available on the 2000 Cadillac DeVille.
The final safety technology that I will cover is smart seats. One new system has 10 air cells which sense the passenger’s weight distribution and automatically adjusts for better support, while other seats have heaters and cooling fans in them for maximum comfort. There are even massaging backrests to calm you down. For safety, seats are being tied into the passenger airbag systems. One system uses sensors that actually detect the electrical activity in a person’s body. Using this, the system can tell if a child is in the seat (by monitoring the height) or if a person is leaning against the door. In either case, the side airbag is deactivated and the front bag deploys at a lower speed. These various systems will be options on Cadillac’s, Mercedes-Benz’s, Lincoln’s, Lexus’, BMW’s, and Acura’s.
In this paper, I have covered many topics. I have shown how you can use your car to check e-mail, get the weather, or listen to the radio without interference. You will be able to let the cruise control drive for you, park easily and without worry, drive without any sort of movements inside of the car, and control the car with voice commands. You will be able to get help with the push of a button, see on a pitch-dark night, and won’t have to worry about airbags hurting you.
Your life will be affected in many ways from these new technologies. You will have much less things to worry about and have more fun driving. You will be more comfortable, and also safer. With these new technologies and the other technologies that will surely come, the roads will be a much safer place with less accidents and faster trips.