Today, many economy cars have so-called “self-drive” capabilities, at least in part. A poll out of Canada suggests many drivers are skeptical of autonomous features and in fact, multiple surveys in dozens of traffic-laden nations have reported the same for years, but consumers continue to gobble up models with various autonomous features year after year. There’s a sort of “trickle-down” process, wherein high-end vehicles arrive with specialized autonomous features first, and then the technology slowly works its way down the price scale. These are a few of the more popular features you can find on the market today:
ADAPTIVE CRUISE CONTROL
One of the oldest versions of automated driving, cruise control has been around, in one form or another, for nearly 60 years. In 1960 Cadillac began putting cruise control on all its new vehicles. Soon after that, consumers were not only used to the technology but embraced it. Cruise control’s modern iteration includes the adaptive capability, which means the newer tech is able to sense what the cars around you are doing and adapt speed accordingly. Some experts think all the autonomous features will eventually work their way into the marketplace the way cruise control did: incrementally over a decade or more. Once the new, smart ACC systems are in place on every car made, which should be by 2025, luxury vehicles will be forever changed.
Lane-keep is one of the newer autonomous features and is credited with boosting the overall safety of the driving experience by alerting drivers whenever they stray from a marked lane. There are limits to the technology because many streets don’t have clearly-marked lanes and unless you override the system, you can’t change lanes without starting the warning system to kick in. Note: putting on a turn indicator automatically overrides the system. Luxury vehicles with LKA are going to be safer and force drivers to use their signaling systems when necessary.
Automatic parking is one of the newer but most beloved autonomous driving features to come along. It seems that drivers have always despised the hassles of parking, especially parallel parking. Luxury vehicles can be particularly hard to park, which is why AP is one of the biggest changes in the luxury vehicle segment, where most models already offer the technology as an option, but more and more are including it as a standard feature.
One of the latest members of the automated driving lineup is sign-recognition. When a driver turns the system on, the car’s computer can read and abide by speed limit, no parking, and other specialized signs on the open road. Luxury vehicle owners who have the option to add SR are doing so in large numbers. Not only can the system read signs but it can verify directions and read informational signs that feed information into the car’s routing database. In the not-too-distant future, luxury vehicle drivers might be able to avoid speeding tickets by saying, “I had the SR system turned on, officer. Really, I did.”
Photo Credit: BMW