Learning About & Experiencing Technology That Makes Driving Safer- 2011 NYAS

April 21, 2011 Comments Off on Learning About & Experiencing Technology That Makes Driving Safer- 2011 NYAS

While attending the New York Auto Show (#NYAS) with Auto Alliance, I was able to meet with representatives from Ford, Volvo, and Mazda to talk about the technology in their vehicles that makes them safer than cars manufactured 10 years ago. The goal for auto companies I spoke with is to integrate technology in a non-invasive way to make us safer behind the wheel.
Volvo’s Don Johnston

Volvo’s Product Communication Manager, Dan Johnston, spoke about their safety concept car and the way they incorporate technology into vehicles without it being a distraction to drivers. Johnston said there’s a “migration towards prevention and driver awareness” in their vehicles. He said there’s “not 1 technology that will get us there” and rather, there’s a need for collective technology such as Volvo’s technology package, pedestrian detection, blind spot option, and stability control which are designed to work together.

Cameras in the front of Volvos have a 60 degree radar sensor that photographs objects, matches them to a database, and knows in 50 milliseconds what the object is to warn drivers of the obstacle. Johnston said that the first generation of this technology can detect objects 32” tall or more but second generation technology will recognize smaller objects to detect the presence of animals or children. The Technology Package also includes sensors designed to detect obstacles in the road.
Volvo S80, just one of many of the vehicles Volvo offers with a Tech Package.

Besides the technology, cars are made to withstand the impact of a collision thanks to high strength steel that is designed to absorb impact sustained during an accident rather than transferring the force to the passengers. Volvo’s XC90 uses ultra high strength steel in some parts of the car to provide protection to the passengers sitting in the third row. Mazda’s CX5 hatchback has a hatch made of reinforced steel. 

The Volvo XC90 has crumple zones engineered in the back
to keep passengers safe if rear ended.

Like the Volvo XC90, Mazda’s use of reinforced steel in key areas makes it safer for consumers to provide protection around passengers but the ability for the vehicle to crumple when rear ended.

Mazda’s SUV with SkyActiv Technology

Mazda also spoke about the roll stability in SUV lines like the CS7 and CS9. The dynamic stability control senses driver needs to provide safety. Electronic sensors monitor speed while anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and dynamic stability controls make for a responsive and productive vehicle.

While it was great to hear about the technology in such vehicles, it was another to experience it. Outside the massive Javits Center where the New York International Auto Show was being held, Jeep set up an outdoor off-road type test track to experience the technology other car manufacturers told me about.
Here’s a video that I took during my Jeep Off Road Experience:

The entire time I was on the course I felt safe.  I never felt that the Jeep was going to roll on any of the inclines during the traction or stability tests.  The Jeep traversed the log course with ease when putting the ground clearance to the test.  I had been warned that the suspension test over a series of logs could be bumpy and while it was, I felt secure in the vehicle which is a testament to the technology that auto manufacturers are using in current models.

Photos of the Jeep course:

I learned so much meeting with auto manufacturers and talking to Wade, Liz, and Scott who were kind enough to invite me to be part of the Auto Alliance’s online press team during the press preview days.

I look forward to sharing additional information with you about the latest technology in vehicles designed to make driving safer and photos of some amazing concept cars from the auto show floor.

Auto Alliance and Hynes Communications paid for my travel and accommodations to attend the New York Auto Show.  I was not compensated in any other manner for my time.  My opinions posted here are my own. Logo courtesy of Auto Alliance. 

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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama

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