Google made a car that drives itself. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) is studying 3,000 vehicles that actually talk to each other. Each day, advancements are being made to make our cars safer and easier to navigate. And while the car that drives itself may not be on the market for a few years, many new and exciting auto features have recently debuted that are already changing the face of driving.
Earlier this week, The Hartford and MIT AgeLab published the results of a study that examined 25 new automotive technologies and their benefits to drivers age 50 and older. The study reviewed systems like assistive parking and emergency response, and ranked the top ten most beneficial technologies for older drivers. The rankings are based on these older drivers’ unique needs, concerns and priorities.
According to a recent study by AARP and J.D. Power and Associates, 62% of new cars are purchased by drivers 50 and older. It is incredibly important to assess these technologies when looking to buy a new car, because these features can dramatically impact the safety and maneuverability of the vehicle. The Hartford found that safety is the number three priority for 50+ buyers, following fuel economy and reliability.
Here are our top five favorite new technologies from The Hartford’s list:
- Smart headlights: Smart headlights are lights that change intensity and angle of direction in order to reduce glare and make driving easier at night or during inclement weather.
- Emergency response systems: Emergency response systems have been around for a few years, but a quick response to a car accident or medical emergency can make a huge difference.
- Blind spot warning systems: These systems warn you of objects or other vehicles that are in the car’s blind spot, making merging into traffic and changing lanes a much safer task. According to the study, changing lanes and merging make up 24% of older drivers’ biggest concerns when behind the wheel. This new feature also benefits drivers who have difficulty craning their neck.
- Assistive parking systems: Cars with assistive technology may have the ability to park themselves, without needing the driver. Assistive parking systems can also let you know distances to spots and will warn you if there are any objects in the way.
- Drowsy driver alerts: Drowsy driving alert technology lets you know when your inattention or tiredness is a problem. It creates an alert that brings your attention back to the task at hand. This is an incredibly important safe driving feature, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 accidents each year.
The other five features highlighted in the study are: reverse monitoring systems, lane departure warning, vehicle stability control, voice activated systems and crash mitigation systems. See the full top ten list or check out The Hartford’s “Research Results” Infographic.
What features would you most like to see in your new vehicle? What technology makes you feel safe behind the wheel? Let us know by leaving a comment below, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter!