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Self-Driving Car Features Your Next Lease Model May Already Have
" Your next leased vehicle won’t be fully autonomous - but it’s likely to have safety features that are close to autonomous. Or which autonomously operate the vehicle for short periods of time. The most common self-driving features are listed here. It’s important to always maintain vigilance, and be ready to resume control of your vehicle at any time. "
Adaptive cruise control
Cruise control has been around since the advent of motor vehicles. The British Wilson-Pilcher (early 1900s) and the American Peerless (1910s) both featured an engine governor, which enabled the vehicle to maintain a constant speed whether it was going uphill, downhill, or on a flat. Modern cruise control systems, which came into heavy use in the USA in the 1970s, allow the driver to set a cruising speed by pressing a button when the vehicle achieves that speed. Adaptive cruise control, the next step in cruise control evolution, uses on-board sensors to keep cars like the Volvo V90 a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. If traffic slows down, so does your car. When it speeds up, your car returns to cruising speed.
Active parking assistants work in different ways, dependent on the manufacturer of the vehicle. But whatever the mechanics of what’s actually going on behind the scenes, the effect is the same: broadly speaking, if your car has active parking assistance it will help you to park. Usually reserved for parallel parking, a parking assistant can tell you if a space is big enough for your vehicle and even take care of steering carefully into it. It’s incredibly useful in larger vehicles like a Land Rover or BMW X5. In some models, parking in perpendicular spaces is also assisted.
Many brands offer Lane Assist on their vehicles. It’s an update to the same technology that used to sound a warning if you began drifting out of your lane: only now it’s also able to gently steer your vehicle back to a central course within the lines. To work, Lane Assist needs to be able to clearly see the lines demarcating your lane. The manufacturer sets a minimum speed for the Lane Assist technology to work—it’s 40mph on a VW or a Seat, for example. Like much of the ‘self-driving’ tech on modern vehicles, Lane Assist isn’t completely autonomous: you’ll be gently re-steered towards the centre of your lane, but the function lets go of control as soon as you override it. All of which also means that it’s important to maintain a close watch on the road, and be ready to take control of your car at any moment.
Pre Collision Assistance
Systems for mitigating or avoiding forward-facing collisions, like Ford’s Pre Collision Assist, are a logical next step from collision-warning systems. Forward collision preventers don’t just detect a likely frontal impact: they also deliver a warning and apply the brakes if you don’t apply them yourself. The operation of such systems varies from manufacturer to manufacturer: Skoda’s Karoq, for example, is fitted with both Front Assist and Predictive Pedestrian Protection. Front Assist scans the road ahead for vehicles, while Predictive Pedestrian Protection is able to perform an emergency stop if pedestrians suddenly step out while the vehicle is travelling between 3mph and 18mph.