First Gear English edition, Technology 0n wheels (Chapter 05)


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Everything you need to know about your first car.

Welcome to the wonderful world of wheels!
We know that every single person dreams of owning a car. It’s understandable: a car epitomises independence. Success. Stature. Mobility. The freedom to go your own way. But we also know that the decision to purchase a car can be fraught with challenges. What car do you buy? What can you afford? What about the servicing requirements? What safety features should you look out for? What about safety out on the road? These and many other important questions plague your mind. First Gear aims to address all these topics and many other essential issues associated with car ownership. We have canvassed the opinions of the world’s leading authorities and this book aims to give you independent, authoritative and utterly essential advice. We want to take the mystery and malaise out of car ownership, and replace it with easy to follow advice and tips… so that your road to car ownership isn’t filled with potholes! We trust that it will provide you with a stress-free introduction to the world of wheels.

Enjoy your first car; you’ve worked hard for it!

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First Gear English edition, Technology 0n wheels (Chapter 05)

  1. 1. CHAPTER 5 Technology 0n wheels Gone are the days w hen your car was jus contraption with four t a mechanical wheels that got you B. These days, it is m from point A to ore like a supercompu with possibly more th ter on wheels, an 100 mini compute controlling ever ythin r systems g from the door lock s and brakes to 36  First Gear   First Gear  37 
  2. 2. without the risk of stalling or rolling Defying gravity backwards. This also eliminates the need Rolling backwards on an incline can be to engage the handbrake to hold the car scary. Ask Jack. The last time he momentarily, leading to a smooth and attempted to pull off on an incline, the simple start when pulling away on a hill car rolled back and he ended up or in one of those multi-storey car parks. rearranging the front bumper of the car It transforms even the most junior of behind him (that car’s owner wasn’t drivers into geniuses. particularly pleased with the new arrangement). Music on wheels If you don’t want to play bumper cars CDs … what are they? Cassette tapes … with the vehicle behind, your best bet is never heard of them! You can now test to pick a car with a Hill Launch Assist the acoustics in your car and turn it into feature. It prevents your car from rolling your personal rock concert by playing back for up to three seconds as your foot music from your MP3 player, USB stick or travels from the brake to the accelerator phone. You don’t even have to worry pedal. about battery power on long journeys As soon as sufficient engine torque is – the system charges your device as you available, the feature releases the brakes play it. the starter and ignition system. under the collar because they’re being Cars are becoming more and more delayed. As the stress builds up, Jack high-tech as automakers work towards starts to think how nice it would be making safer vehicles that are also if someone could park the car for him – or better still, if the car could just Over 100 easier and more enjoyable to drive. There is loads of car technology out park itself. there (some technology is more useful The thing is – it can! If it has an Active than the others!). Here are some of the Park Assist feature, that is. To activate most useful and fun features that you the system, just press a centre console The number of mini computers should consider having in your car. button which activates ultrasonic in the average car sensors that measure and identify a Bye bye to parallel feasible parking space. It then calculates parking woes the optimal steering angle and quickly For the fifth time, Jack is trying to steers the vehicle into the parking spot reverse his car into that ever-so-tricky for you – hands free. The driver must parallel parking bay. Will I ever get this maintain control of the vehicle by right, he asks himself. In the meantime, shifting the transmission and operating a long queue of cars has lined up behind the accelerator and brake pedals. him. Some of the drivers are amused Yippee, hassle-free parking. Plus you at the Jack parallel parking sideshow; never ever need be embarrassed at your others are getting dangerously hot parallel parking skills again!38  First Gear First Gear  39
  3. 3. Car of the future What do you think cars will look like in the next 10 to 20 years? That was the question we posed to J Mays, group vice president of design and chief creative officer, Ford Motor Company. Here’s what the designer behind Ford’s personality-driven Start concept car has to say… "From an exterior standpoint, it’s going to be more of the same. Exterior design is always going to be the thing that characterises first and foremost, what the car should represent in the customer’s mind. But over the last 10 years, interior design has become more and more important because that’s where people spend all of their driving time." To activate the microphone that Look Ma, no hands detects your voice command, Jill simply One of the funkiest yet affordable presses a button next to the steering features of new cars today is wheel and speaks her command. If she Bluetooth® with Voice Control. This wants to access her climate control allows you to operate your mobile, system, for instance, she just says climate control and audio system “Climate”. Or, for the phone, she says using voice-activated commands – all “Phone” and so on. The system allows wirelessly. Practically, this leaves you Jill to receive and make phone calls, and free to keep your eyes on the road and also access her mobile’s phone book your hands on the wheel. This feature and calling history… all hands free. digital information or favourite music helps Jack to drive safely, even as he behind while on the road. chats with his buddies. At one with your car For example, Ford has built on its Bluetooth® is a trademark of Bluetooth SIG The latest buzzwords in car technology award-winning SYNC device connectivity Inc., and is used under licence. are “seamless integration”, meaning that system to deliver an intuitive connected automakers are finding ways to help you driver experience called MyFord. It connect with your car so that you won’t replaces many of the traditional vehicle have to leave your communications, buttons, knobs and gauges. With more 40  First Gear   First Gear  41 
  4. 4. voice commands, clear, crisp LCD up-to-date information includingscreens that can be customised and business listings, news, sports andfive-way buttons such as those on cell weather – without the need for a built-phones and MP3 players, drivers can in navigation system.choose which information is front and The new thing that is probably goingcentre through a button click, voice to dominate car design in the next 10command or touch-screen tap. years is going to be the human-machine Developed with Microsoft, Ford SYNC interface, where all the navigation takesis an advanced software platform that place inside the car. The human-allows motorists such as Jack and Jill machine interface will becomethe convenience and flexibility to bring increasingly sophisticated with voicedigital media players and Bluetooth®- activation and multi touch-screenenabled mobile phones into their technology. Cars are becoming morevehicle and operate the devices via like rolling computers and that’s goingvoice commands or with the steering to transform the way people drive. It’swheel’s radio controls. In the U.S., it can also going to transform the way weeven deliver personalised traffic reports, design automobiles.precise turn-by-turn directions and42  First Gear First Gear  43