10 Best Vehicle and Technology Innovations of 2018
The future is nowby Safet Satara, on
The car industry never sleeps (except in August) and every year it provides us with numerous solutions to new problems, and with innovations that make us want new cars even more. This is a rundown of 10 awesome vehicle and technology innovations for 2018.
In the shortest of terms, this is the only semi-autonomous system in the world that allows you to take off your hands from the steering wheel. Not even the Tesla Autopilot can allow you that (but you do that nevertheless). It is a $5,000 gadget perfectly suited for working on the highways.
Read the full story here.
The Ram 1500 eTorque is the most fuel efficient truck on the market.
With the help of a powerful 48-volt generator installed instead of the alternator, the FCA managed to improve the efficiency of its engines.
The system adds 130 pound-feet of torque and dramatically helps the truck to move off and coast. According to the EPA, the eTorque saves fuel and provides up to 2 mpg more compared to a truck or SUV without it.
For now, the system landed on 1500, the Wrangler, and the Cherokee, but we can expect it to reach many other FCA cars as well. As a mild-hybrid system, the eTorque definitely achieves a lot.
Read our full review on the 2019 Ram 1500 ETorque.
In the search for new ways to cut emissions and save fuel, manufacturers have come up with many new systems and technologies, such as engine start/stop, active aero, coasting options, dual-clutch transmissions, mild-hybrid systems, and and more. The latest is Infiniti’s new VC-Turbo engine.
This thing can adjust the compression ratio on the go. Seamlessly it seems.
The tech is already in the Infiniti QX50, and it works something like this - when driving normally the compression ratio will be lowered for fuel efficiency. Put your foot down and it will switch to a higher compression ratio. Neat, I guess.
Read the full story here.
Although not yet in production, the new “Vehicle to Everything” technology developed by Qualcomm may definitely improve safety on roads.
Audi, Ford and Qualcomm partnered on the development of a cellular network in order to allow all vehicles on the road to have contact with each other. The system is crafted to “support improved automotive safety, automated driving, and traffic efficiency” on the roads. Of course, it does require an all-new form of partnerships between manufacturers as the end goal is communication between all the cars on the roads. “C-V2X is critical to enhance road safety and also gives us a look into the key role that vehicle-to-vehicle and 5G wireless technologies play in the future of Audi and the automotive industry in general to support autonomous driving,” said Gerhard Stanzl, Head of Predevelopment Smart Mobility and Machine Learning, Audi Electronics Venture. “This interoperability demonstration marks a major milestone on the road to safer driving and we look forward to working alongside the extensive automotive ecosystem in helping accelerate C-V2X deployment globally.”
The system is currently in the testing phase and could reach the next generation of cars along with the development of the 5G network, of course.
Read our full review on the 2019 Audi E-Tron Quattro.
Using advanced suspension systems to enhance safety in a crash isn’t something one would deem possible. Yet, the air suspension on the latest Audi A8 does exactly that.
Thanks to a multitude of sensors and cameras, the Audi A8 has a really good view of its surroundings. In an event of an unavoidable crash, the car can actually see the other car approaching and prepare the occupants for imminent danger. It does so by stiffening up the seatbelts and preparing the airbags for deployment. However, the air suspension will also raise the car by 8 centimeters (that is more than 3 inches, so it’s a lot). It can do so in half a second. Audi essentially wants to expose the stiffest parts of the A8 to take the most of the damage. Clever thinking.
Read our full review on the 2018 Audi A8.
In an effort to make cars as safe as possible, Hyundai crafted a rather interesting system called Rear Occupant Alert. In the simplest of terms, the system utilizes a Blind monitoring system that tracks cars approaching from behind when the rear door is opening or child lock unlocking. If the system senses that a car, or, say, a cyclist is approaching, it will automatically prevent the unlocking of the child lock. Furthermore, it will alert the driver with a sound and a graphic on the instrument cluster. If the door is opened, it can only do so much and alert the driver about the impending danger. The system is available on some other cars apart from Hyundai as well.
Read our full review on the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe.
Derek Patterson is the engineer behind the most advanced tailgate design in the history of trucks. He helped design the latest MultiPro Tailgate for the GMC Sierra trucks. The company revealed that it has been working on the design for years with a lot of time actually spent on testing the tailgate. After all, it has to endure the harshest of conditions.
The tailgate itself is a rather complex piece of design which can be adjusted in six different ways.
It can act as a usual tailgate, it can be a step, or it can fold away completely. Furthermore, it can be a standing work table, a load stop, and it can neatly help with easier access to the bed. As trucks are among the most popular vehicles in the U.S. and the tailgates haven’t evolved in ages, I find this innovation one of the most intriguing ones.
Read our full review of the 2019 GMC Sierra Denali.
Wireless charging pad for an electric car? That sounds awesome. BMW has been working on inductive charging for some time and the latest news is that the company started running tests in the US. The idea about it is a simple one - drive on top of the charging pad, the car will automatically start to charge its battery and you will not even think about it. It would work wonders in parking garages. Go to your job, park your car, and it is already charging.
You would not need to plug it in at all. If smartphones can do it, so should cars.
Read our full review on the 2018 BMW 530e iPerformance.
Say “Hey Mercedes, give me a weather forecast for today,” and the new Mercedes-Benz car will respond. This is the new MBUX infotainment system, crafted to work as seamlessly as possible. You can control it by voice, by touch or by gesture and it offers all kinds of integrations imaginable - Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink.
It is possibly the most advanced and the most precise infotainment system on earth.
Mercedes-Benz had a system that monitors your behavior and decides if you are focused on driving, tired or whatever. The system worked even on the previous generation of the E-Class. However, the times have changed and Subaru revealed possibly the most advanced system geared to monitoring your behavior behind the wheel and deciding on your behalf whether you are paying enough attention to driving.
With an infrared camera, the system can recognize your facial expressions and, apparently, precisely decide if you are falling asleep, are distracted or just having a bad day.
It is a bit creepy, isn’t it?
Well, the DriverFocus works in conjunction with other safety systems and will sound signals and show warnings if it senses you aren’t 100 percent focused on driving. The system is already in use in the new Subaru Forester.
Read our full review on the 2019 Subaru Forester.