I wonder how many people remember the effort required in double clutching and shifting to steer a vehicle. The end of a drive in those vehicles left a driver with severe aches and pains all through their shoulders and legs. Auto technology has come a long way to simplify and ease the life of drivers.
The steering wheel and transmission
With the introduction of power steering, most people have said good–bye to the days of struggling with the wheel to get it to do their bidding. In power steering, the mechanism (either hydraulic or electric) discerns your slightest movement to the steering and effortlessly steers the vehicle in that direction. Add to this the development of automatic transmission and you have a vehicle that is easy to drive by the feeblest of drivers.
Parking sensors on vehicles
Once upon a time, drivers had to acquire a sixth sense known as ‘judgement’. This judgment refers to an assessment of distance between your vehicle to that of other vehicles or objects around it. Amongst other things, this judgment was required to ensure you would not bump into another vehicle, wall, or sidewalk, when trying to park. However, today, the innovation of sensors, have made driving and parking extremely simple. The sensors compute and relay the distance of objects from your vehicle to displays hooked into the rear view mirror or the instrument cluster. Sensors may be placed only at the rear end of the vehicle, or on all sides of the vehicle. These sensors are a big help in letting drivers gauge how far their vehicle is from other vehicles, stationary objects and even pedestrians.
Rear view cameras
In addition to the parking sensors is the ingenious rear view cameras. These rear view cameras are especially beneficial in parking vehicles that have blind spots. As the name suggests, this device is a camera located at the rear end of the vehicle with a live feedback to the rear view mirror. This way the driver can see sections not visible under normal circumstances in the rear view mirror and can reverse into tight spots with confidence.
Smartphone Parking Management Apps
I kid you not; the technology is out there and available to Smartphone users of many countries. The parking-industry association the International Parking Institute (IPI), has confirmed that there are Smartphone applications that give drivers a real time aerial view of parking areas that visually confirms the availability of parking spaces and provides directions to selected spots. These apps also deliver warnings to notify drivers that their meter is about to run out. Drivers can then use the same app to pay and extend their time on the meter without having to run out to the parked vehicle. If the driver is lost and unable to remember where the car was parked, the app assists the driver find the forgotten parking space.
This innovation is not just driver friendly, but also eco-friendly. As IPI’s executive director Shawn Conrad stated – ‘by reducing the time customers spend searching for a parking space, fuel use and carbon emissions are lowered and air quality is improved’.
This little list of technological marvels that have made the life of drivers a lot simpler is just the tip of the iceberg. With Google and Oxford producing self-driving cars, who knows what is on the auto-innovation horizon.
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