Sensors are working overtime as new cars scan the road for crash risks. But what do all the fancy acronyms mean?
ROAD safety used to be about how vehicles broke. Now it’s about how they brake. In place of crumple zones, seatbelts and airbags to minimise harm in the event of an accident, carmakers are using sensors to try to avoid the crash in the first place.
The array of TLAs (threeletter acronyms) marketing departments use to tout these technologies is as numerous as car brands themselves.
These days, there’s no reason to be impressed if a salesperson talks about standard ABS (anti-skid brakes), traction control or electronic stability control — by law all must be on every new passenger vehicle sold.
And over the next few years, you can expect even more acronyms in the standard features list, as authorities look to mandate the fitment of more safety technology.
The real surprise is that the cheaper, mainstream brands are offering similar technology to the luxury makers. Just last week, Skoda announced that autonomous braking would be standard on its cheapest car, the Fabia hatch, which starts at just $15,990 driveaway.
The move shows how fundamentally cheap it can be to add lifesaving technology on the production line. And it e embarrasses some of those prestige brands who continue to bundle sensor-based safety features in “packs” costing t thousands of dollars.
Sadly the same ap applies to basic tech such as reversing cameras. When a lens can be fitted to the rear of a $14,490 Honda Jazz there’s little excuse not to have it on every car, let alone one with a sixfigure price.
Carsguide looks at the latest technologies, most of which are available from mainstream brands, either as an option or as standard equipment.
Adaptive cruise control is a must-have for those who travel long distances in Australia. Drivers can set the speed and the car uses radar sensors and/ or cameras to gauge the distance to the vehicle in front and then maintain a gap, automatically braking and accelerating as required. Premium systems are fitted with a stop-and-go function that, as the name suggests, can bring the vehicle to a complete stop behind another car at the lights and then accelerate back up to speed as the traffic moves off.
AUTONOMOUS EMERGENCY BRAKING
Touted as the next big thing in software-based safety, autonomous emergency
Main picture: Some Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) units can detect pedestrians and cyclists.
Below from left: Blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control, cameras scanning the road and pedestrian