The most advanced safety systems in the world are now available in cars sold in India. Here’s a roundup of the most significant of them, and some notable examples of the cars in which they can be found. Not surprisingly, all of them are in the premium and luxury segment.
Blind-Spot Information System
This system is designed to identify the vehicles that are in the dangerous ‘blind spots’ of your side-view mirrors. The system also detects cars that are advancing towards yours at high speeds. A light built into the side view mirror illuminates when it detects such activity from another car, thus warning you of its presence.
Found in: The Volvo XC60
BMW’s reversing assistant is a unique and highly advanced form of reversing technology that hasn’t been seen before. It comes as a godsend if you find yourself stuck in a narrow and tricky-to-manoeuvre street, and have the need to back up. All you need to do is press a button, and the car will take over the reins and begin to reverse on its own. It retraces the first 50 metres and will back up exactly the way you came in (we’re curious to see how it would work in India, though).
Found in: The all-new BMW 3 Series
Adaptive Cruise Control
Cruise control systems have evolved beyond just being used to maintain a particular speed – they can also save lives now. With the use of sensors and radars, adaptive cruise control can gauge the speed of the cars in front of and around you, and modulate the brakes and accelerator accordingly. If the system senses a potential collision, it will brake hard while tightening the seatbelts. Once it senses the lane is clear or traffic has sped up, it will return the car to its original cruising speed, all without your input.
Found in: From the Audi A8 to the Bentley Mulsanne, this piece of technology is found in almost every high-end car out there.
Active Roll Mitigation
Apart from head-on collisions, drivers also have a chance of losing control of their car while going too fast around over sharp corners, causing the car to skid off the road or collide with another car. In such cases, the Active Roll Mitigation system will apply the brakes and modulate the throttle as needed, to help you regain and maintain control of your car.
Found in: The Lamborghini Urus
Unique to Mercedes-Benz, the pre-safe sound technology protects the human ear from possible deafness that can be caused due to a crash. The noise of a crash — shattering glass, crunching metal and the explosive deployments of airbags — can hit 165 decibels or higher, and can cause permanent hearing damage. Pre-Safe Sound emits a sound called “pink noise”, which prepares human ears for loud noises if an imminent collision is detected. At around 80 decibels, pink noise triggers muscles in the ear to contract by reflex, automatically bracing the eardrum for the extremely loud noise of a crash.
Found in: The Mercedes-Benz E-Class
If your car crashes or is hit by another car, the emergency response system prevents the car and you from further damage by automatically disconnecting the battery terminal from the alternator, and switching on your parking lights. Emergency response systems in BMW cars also alert their response centres of the accident and make crash details available to emergency personnel, who inform the closest police or fire station.
Found in: The BMW i8
Night Vision Assist
Night vision assist technology makes use of thermal-imaging cameras placed on the front of the car. The cameras spot animals or people on the road, by reading heat signatures of anything within 1000 feet. An image is generated of the highlighted person or animal, and is displayed on the screen between the instrument clusters, alerting the driver to either slow down or pay close attention.
Found in: The Porsche Cayenne
Driver Fatigue Alert
These systems judge the driver’s driving technique and pick up on signs of fatigue, like driving erratically or frequently moving out of lanes. The system then makes an audible chime and suggests you take a break. It is linked to the car’s navigation system, so it will find a rest stop or coffee shop and will alert the driver of its location.
Found in: The Jaguar XE and XF
Rear Cross Traffic Alert
While backing out of a parking spot, it’s sometimes difficult to spot an oncoming car. The rear cross traffic alert system assists the driver in manoeuvring out of a parking space and in everyday situations, when it is difficult to see crossing traffic, such as blind entrances or exits. The vehicle detects objects that are approaching it, and will warn the driver by emitting acoustic and visual alerts.
Found in: The BMW 5, 6 and 7 Series