For years, we've wanted more from our cars. More power. More performance. More luxury. More gadgets. More recently, we've wanted less, at the same time: Less weight. Less expense.
All the time carmakers have been giving us more of some things and less of others, cars have continued to get safer, and that's a trend we hope will always continue. To this end, Nissan has announced its latest safety innovations to help reduce accidents and further reduce injury or death.
The new systems are part of Nissan's Intelligent Transportation Systems technology.Reducing pedal misapplication
With the words "unintended acceleration" still lingering in everyone's minds and in the knowledge that a large proportion of reported cases were down to drivers simply pressing the pedal that makes the car go faster, you might think a technology to help prevent such instances would be useful. Instead, better driver education is still the best solution to those problems.
Where Nissan's system for unintended acceleration works is in lower-speed scenarios such as parking lots.
Plenty of drivers damage their cars every year by mistakenly applying the gas in a car park rather than the brake and careering into another vehicle or worse, a pedestrian. Nissan's system uses sonar and an "Around View Monitor" to detect obstacles.
If the car decides you're in a car park, it prevents heavy applications of gas so you don't lunge into an object before you have time to brake.Multi-Sensing System
Sometimes, little mistakes can have big consequences. As a result, systems like blind-spot warning, lane departure warning and moving object detection can help attract your attention to things you might have missed.
We've seen the first two systems before on other vehicles, but you might not have heard of moving object detection.
This system uses sensors and a rear-view camera to detect moving objects - pedestrians, children, animals - behind the car as you reverse and uses buzzers and display signals to warn you. It could be a useful way of preventing child back-over deaths
.Predictive Forward Collision Warning System
This may be familiar to you too and manufacturers like BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have offered it for several years, but it's a welcome addition to less expensive vehicles.
The car monitors the acceleration and deceleration of vehicles in front. In the event vehicles in front slow at a quicker rate than anticipated, the driver is warned with a buzzer, signals on a display and as a further warning and in accident preparation, tightening of the seat belt.
If all else fails, and when a collision is unavoidable, the system can brake with emergency force.We tested a system like this at Frankfurt
with Mercedes-Benz, and found it very impressive.Other systems
It's not just new technology that's being utilized - the more familiar systems still work too. As with other carmakers, Nissan continues to make advances with airbags, seatbelts and simple technologies like automatic lights and wipers.
You get more car now than ever, but it's not at the expense of more safety than ever, either.