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Safety tech explained: a guide to the key systems (II) 2020-07-16


Blind spot monitoring


What is it: A piece of technology that keeps a virtual eye on traffic around your car that may be lurking in your blind spot – the areas to the rear and sides that are often invisible to wing mirrors yet big enough to hide a car, truck or motorcycle.


Why it’s importantBy virtue of their design, some cars have large blind spots – and it’s often the biggest and heaviest SUVs with small rear windows that are the culprits. By using the short-range parking sensors embedded in the rear bumper (or sometimes a camera-based system), blind spot monitoring will sound an alarm if you put your indicator on to merge into an adjacent lane that’s already occupied by another car, truck or motorcyclist.


Reversing camera

What is itTechnologically simple, a reversing camera is simply a rear-facing video camera mounted somewhere on the back of a car – often above the licence plate on the bootlid or tailgate, or housed within the rear bumper, or even behind the car maker’s logo.


Why it’s importantThe statistics on the number of children killed by reversing vehicles in driveways alone are saddening, but those deaths could be easily prevented by having a camera to let the driver know when the area behind them is clear. Thankfully, reversing cameras are almost universal on many modern cars, even those in the smallest vehicle segments.

Lane departure warning

What is itA camera-based system that monitors where your car is relative to painted road markings or – in more advanced systems – the road’s edge. If it determines that you’re straying from your lane and you haven’t signalled with your indicators, it lets you know.


Why it’s important: Driving outside of your lane is often a sign that you’re either distracted from the task of driving or you’re becoming drowsy – both of which are dangerous for obvious reasons. If the lane departure warning is being triggered frequently, it’s as good a signal as any that you need to pull over and rest so you can refocus.


Fatigue monitoring


What is itFatigue monitors vary in how they detect your state of consciousness, with some using a camera to scan your face and look for visual cues (like slowly narrowing eyelids or head jerks) while others monitor the position of the steering wheel to detect abrupt movements or other fatigue-related patterns.

Why it’s importantBecause sometimes you don’t realise just how tired you might be getting. Fatigue is a big killer, and just like lane departure warning, a dedicated driver fatigue monitor can be an invaluable wake-up call to prompt you to pull over and either have a powernap, or change drivers.


What is it:A lesser-known feature but one that’s becoming reasonably widespread, rear traffic alert uses the car’s rear camera and its reverse parking sensors to scan the street behind and to the sides, issuing an alert if it detects vehicles approaching as you’re reversing.

——Source:carmagazine.co.uk


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