For the Auto Industry, the Future is Now

Detroit Free Press

Tech­nol­o­gy that saves lives – and fuel – is get­ting bet­ter and cheap­er and more avail­able, and not just for high-end lux­u­ry vehi­cles any­more.

Get the details on life-sav­ing tech­nol­o­gy that is here and now.

Cam­eras that check around the car for pedes­tri­ans. Radar that stops you from drift­ing out of your lane. An engine able to turn off auto­mat­i­cal­ly at traf­fic lights to con­serve fuel.

Tech­nol­o­gy that saves lives — and fuel — is get­ting bet­ter and cheap­er. That means it’s no longer con­fined to lux­u­ry brands like Mer­cedes and Vol­vo. It’s show­ing up in main­stream vehi­cles like the Nis­san Rogue and Ford Fusion.

“What we see today as slight­ly elit­ist tech­nol­o­gy is chang­ing very, very fast,” said Steven Lunn, chief oper­at­ing offi­cer for TRW Auto­mo­tive, which sup­plies elec­tron­ics and oth­er parts to car­mak­ers.

TRW says its newest radar is a quar­ter of the price of the mod­el it sold 10 years ago. Its cam­eras are small­er and cheap­er, too, mak­ing it eas­i­er to put mul­ti­ple ones on each car.

High-tech options can still cost a few thou­sand dol­lars more, but those costs will come down as tech­nol­o­gy improves and automak­ers add them to more and more vehi­cles.

Here are some up-and-com­ing fea­tures that dri­vers can expect on their next cars:

  • Col­li­sion warn­ing with auto­mat­ic brak­ing
  • Advanced cam­eras
  • Lane Cen­ter­ing
  • Adap­tive head­lights
  • Stop-start

By 2025, new cars and trucks sold in the U.S. will have to aver­age 54.5 miles per gal­lon of gaso­line, up from the cur­rent 30.8 mpg. One fea­ture will almost be a must-have: A stop-start device that shuts off the engine at a stop light and auto­mat­i­cal­ly turns it on when the dri­ver releas­es the brake.

Alex Moli­naroli, a vice pres­i­dent with John­son Con­trols, which makes bat­ter­ies that pow­er the sys­tems, esti­mates they raise gas mileage by a min­i­mum of 5%.







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