Cars have come a long way since when they were first invented, and any car that you buy today, even the base model of some lines, will come comprehensively outfitted with advanced features and technology. Lexus is one of many automakers responsible for several automotive innovations over the years – in 2002, the premium brand introduced LED headlights to the automotive world – donned by the LS 600h. Ten years later in 2012, the Lexus LS debuted with the first high-beam LED headlights. Now, almost another ten years later, the 2020 Lexus RX SUV comes equipped with a pioneering BladeScan adaptive headlight system. These are the inventions and innovations that are defining the future of the automotive world, so without further ado, here are some of the other interesting vehicle technologies of our time and some other brands and their pioneering car innovations.
Five Modern Vehicle Technologies
There are a near-infinite amount of car-specific technologies and innovations out there, so here we list just some of the newer additions:
- BladeScan Adaptive headlight System – Though first introduced with the RX, soon all of Lexus’s SUV models and other vehicles will come standard with the all-new Blade Scan adaptive headlight system. The system simply improves the lighting precision of the LED high-beam headlights in order to make specific difficult-to-see areas, such road margins, pedestrians, obstacles, and distant road signs, easier to see and from a further distance.
- Blind-Spot Information System – Volvo is attributed with the first use of the blind-spot information system, a technology that uses cameras or sensors in the sideview mirrors of the car to sense cars within the drivers rear-diagonal blind spots. If there is a car in those blind-spots, the system will alert the driver with a visual and/or audible prompt. This has become a really nifty addition especially for large-size vehicles such as pickup trucks and crossover SUVs.
- Lane Keep Assist – Automation and driver-assistance technology has become the center of attention throughout the automotive industry and media. Lane keep assist is an automatic function that can be activated when desired. It utilizes the car’s steering and brakes along with some sensors to automatically keep the car centered within the road lanes.
- Built-in Wi-Fi Hotspot – Along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, Wi-Fi hotspot capability is also starting to become a staple in most modern cars. It allows for several devices to connect to the internet at a time, and helps people stay connected even in low-signal areas.
- Voice Recognition – With how many vehicle accidents are attributed to drivers being distracted by their mobile phones, voice recognition technology will soon be a standard. This software lets drivers verbally call out commands for the vehicle, from answering a tethered phone to even initiating a vehicle function such as cruise control. In the USA, the backup camera became a mandatory feature for all new cars produced as of 2018, so we’re sure that anything that improves automotive safety will follow suit.
Brand-Specific Vehicle Inventions
Here are some of the vehicle technology inventions that particular brands have been credited with or have patented. Most, if not all inventions and innovations were conceptualized by specific individuals working within the automotive, engineering, and scientific space, but these are some that the brands themselves have taken credit for, some are exclusive to the brands own models, others have become staples in all modern cars.
- Mercedes-Benz – Distronic adaptive cruise control. Anti-lock braking system.
- Audi – Matrix laser LED headlights.
- Citroen – Mechanical disc brakes.
- General Motors – Air cushion restraint system (air bags).
- Volvo – Three-point safety belt, including for middle back seat. Side Impact Protection System.
Automakers have focused mostly on the performance and design side of things for a long time. However, at present and going forward, electric vehicle technology and autonomous driving are the center of attention in the automotive world. That encapsulates battery and charging station technology as well as camera, sonar, radar, and other sensing technologies. This is all in an effort to improve the eco-friendliness of transportation by moving beyond the combustion engine and fuel economy to electricity and zero-emissions. It’s an exciting time within the automotive sphere, and there’s a lot to look forward to for the future.