While you cannot reinvent the wheel, you sure can improve how it works. Ever since the invention of the first car, automakers have remained steadfast in improving the driving experience.
Constant innovation has seen car designers come up with features that improve your comfort and driving experience and secure your safety.
Some of these attributes come as standard staples in particular models, but in some cases, the features are sold as optional add-ons.
In the latter case, the buyer is given the leeway to decide whether a particular element is vital enough for him or her to purchase.
Regardless of how they are packaged, the undisputed truth is that these aspects have revolutionized the motoring industry.
So, here are five car features that every modern car ought to have.
1. Lane departure warning
The lane departure warning system uses cameras and sensors located within the car to warn you when you are about to leave your designated lane.
The car may deliver the warnings through beeping sounds, subtle vibrations in the driver’s seat, or visual alerts.
However, this warning system will not raise an alert if your turn signal is on. The lane departure warning is designed to help prevent you from inadvertently drifting off lane or into a ditch.
An example of a car with a lane departure warning system is the 2016 Honda Civic Touring.
In recent years, the lane-keep assist and lane centering functions have also been designed to further keep the car in its rightful place on the road.
Lane-keep assist works by activating the steering and braking system to help you stay in your lane. Nonetheless, you can override the function by turning on the turn signal or turning the steering wheel, notwithstanding the warning.
On the other hand, lane centering assist keeps the car centered and is particularly useful when turning around bends. Unlike lane departure warning, lane centering assist is a convenience rather than a safety feature.
2. Head-Up displays
Imagine not having to look down at the dash to read those vital stats you usually need when driving. Why? Because all this information is projected for you on the windshield, of course. Futuristic, isn’t it?
Cars such as the 2016 Mercedes Benz C-Class and the BMW 7 Series are luxury vehicles with this technology.
Head-up displays will show you the speed you are moving at and any alerts that need your attention, such as the forward-collision warnings.
Where you rely on the car’s navigation system to find your way around, the Head-Up display may also display some navigational cues on the windscreen.
The automotive industry borrowed this technology from the aviation industry, where it has been used for decades.
3. Forward collision warning
For the driver who is prone to distractions when driving, the forward-collision warning system alerts them of impending collisions before they happen. That enables them to take remedial measures such as swerving or braking.
The system uses radar or optical sensors to detect a vehicle ahead and warn the driver accordingly.
An example of a car with this feature is the 2016 Mazda3 (also known as the Mazda Axela in Japan).
To ramp things up a bit, designers have also developed pedestrian and blind-spot warning systems as further aids in preventing collisions.
As the name suggests, the pedestrian detection system alerts you of the likelihood of hitting a pedestrian, and in some vehicles, the system activates the brakes. However, studies are still underway to determine how effective this system is, particularly at night.
On the other hand, the blind-spot warning system utilizes sensors strategically located at the rear of the car to monitor the car’s blind spots or areas that your mirrors might not cover.
Should the system detect a potential hazard, such as when you are about to change lanes towards the path of the car in the blind spot, the system will alert you.
4. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system
The Automatic Emergency Braking system supplements the forward collision warning alert in helping the driver avert an accident.
Depending on the car, the AED system may be customized to apply to specific situations only, such as driving at low speeds or in the city.
In some models, the feature is called the Collision Mitigation Braking System, Smart Brake Support, Active Brake Assist, or the Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist system.
The 2020 Mazda 6 has Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection. Other vehicles equipped with AEB include the Honda CR-V, Toyota Camry, among others.
AEB is vital in initiating mitigating measures the moment a potential accident is detected. It aids the driver brake on time. It also helps in effectively stopping the vehicle when the brakes applied by the driver are insufficient.
5. Ambient lighting
Ambient lighting refers to the soft illumination that a car has in its cabin.
Unlike traditional overhead lights, which bathe the entire car in light, ambient lighting is strategically placed on select items. You will mostly find it in areas such as the center console, dash, footwells, and door handles.
Ambient lighting creates a pleasant mood and helps create spatial perception when driving in dark areas or at night.
The driver is thus able to perceive the vehicle’s space parameters thanks to ambient lighting.
According to research, the lighting a car has can affect the driver’s fatigue levels and mood.
Top car brands such as Mercedes Benz and BMW have incorporated an array of colors in their ambient lighting settings to leverage these findings.