We live in a world of ‘smart’ everything. Smart phones, smart TVs, even smart kitchen appliances. But we are only now witnessing the emergence of the smart car. The Canadian International Auto Show – taking place this week at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre – is showcasing new and groundbreaking automotive technologies in their Autoconnect Showcase. These technologies can steer for you, park for you, brake for you, and keep you safer on the road. Using GPS, cameras, radar, laser tracking, and advanced computers, the world’s major car manufacturers are quickly making the dream of the autonomous car a reality. Here are five of the most stunning automotive innovations on display at the 2014 CIAS…
Mercedes S-Class: Steering Assist
Cruise control is fun, but how about cruise control that does the speeding up, slowing down, and even some of the steering for you? The Mercedes S-Class, among other vehicles, is pioneering this technology. As you go around curves, the wheel will automatically adjust to guide you smoothly around. If the guy ahead of you is hogging the passing lane, the car will automatically slow down to his speed. The system even keeps you in your lane if you drift across a solid line, or try to change lanes while someone is in your blind spot. Check it out for yourself in their simulator.
Lexus GS 350: Driver Monitoring & Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
They say that driving tired is just as bad as driving impaired. With driver monitoring, it becomes a little safer (protip: you still shouldn’t do it). The good people at Toyota have invented a system that detects when your eyes stray from the road for too long. If your eyes linger and you begin to nod off, a loud beep will alert you to the fact that you are piloting a 4,000 pound hunk of metal moving at over 100 kilometers per hour. The Lexus GS 350 can also automatically match speed with other highway traffic using its dynamic radar cruise control. Road trips just got easier.
Ford C-Max Energi: Self Parking
One revolutionary concept on display at the CIAS is the self-parking Ford C-Max Energi. Simply pull up to your destination (the front door, not the parking lot), and send your car to go park itself… without you inside. Suddenly, every valet in the world is looking for a job. No word on whether the car can follow someone walking through Yorkdale’s parking lot in order to snipe their spot.
Subaru Outback: Collision Prevention and Pedestrian Detection
All those jobless valets flooding the streets could create quite a serious collision hazard. Subaru’s Eyesight system can help with that. Using CCD cameras to monitor the road, Eyesight will detect pedestrians and other collision hazards, alerting the driver with a beep and even applying the brakes in extreme situations.
Infiniti: Predictive Forward Collision Warning
Most of the previously mentioned vehicles can detect collision hazards from the car in front of them. Infiniti’s new collision prediction system gazes two vehicles ahead and alerts you to the danger. Possibilities for the future are unlimited. Could they be working on a system that looks three cars ahead? Only time will tell.
We truly aren’t far from fully autonomous self-driving cars. Mercedes hopes to have one on the market as early as the year 2020. There are still many technological hurdles to overcome, but you can get a glimpse of the future at the 2014 Canadian International Auto Show.
If you’re planning on heading to the Auto Show this year, let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.