This week consumer and ratings company Canstar Blue recognised eight motoring innovators for a host of features and services on offer to the Australian public. Applications were accepted for services spanning the automotive industry that had been launched within the last 18 months. After a shortlisting process, award winners were chosen by Canstar Blue and announced to the public. EFTM Motoring Editor Chris Bowen took part in the judging process which resulted in a number of key safety measures being honoured.
Back over Avoidance (BoA) by Bosch
Forcing the car to a halt if a person is detected behind while reversing. Back Over Avoidance is designed to prevent the type of unfortunate accidents that are all too common across Australia. Using Radar and ultrasonic sensor fusion technology, the BoA system – developed in Melbourne with the support of a grant from the government’s Automotive New Markets Program – identifies the closest object of interest and applies the brakes if a collision appears to be imminent.
IntelliSafe Pedestrian Detection by Volvo
The world’s first cyclist-detection system, IntelliSafe could help prevent collisions between cyclists, pedestrians and motorists by alerting a driver to their presence, and automatically braking if they swerve out in front. Using radar embedded into the grille and a camera built into the rear-view mirror, the sonar-like system scans the area around the car, categorises objects found, and makes the driver aware with a flashing warning light on the windscreen and audible alarm.
Volvo Car Australia Managing Director, Kevin McCann said IntelliSafe continues Volvo’s long tradition of developing world-first innovative safety technology for vehicles which saves lives and reduces injuries.
“In 1959 Volvo gave the world the seat belt, and since then we have developed over 150 safety innovations, including numerous world firsts, such as the first rear-facing child seat, the Side Impact Protection System and the City Safety Autonomous Emergency Braking System, among others. As a pioneer in innovative safety technology, we are delighted to receive the Canstar Blue Innovation Excellence Award.
EyeSight by Subaru
An advanced driver-assist system, EyeSight is designed to actively assist drivers in avoiding common frontal collisions, low-speed impacts and lane-drifting. Acting as an extra pair of eyes, the system uses stereo cameras to recognise road hazards and alerts the driver to them. It can ‘lock on’ to vehicles directly in front and when used together with adaptive cruise control, can slow, stop and accelerate to maintain a safe distance.
Subaru Australia Managing Director, Nick Senior, said: “We’re delighted our EyeSight driver assist technology has been recognised for excellence in innovation.
“Safety has always been a top priority for Subaru, and when we introduced the EyeSight driver assist technology in 2012, we elevated our safety commitment even further, potentially preventing collisions or reducing the severity.
“In Australia, EyeSight has attracted insurance premium reductions for vehicle owners, while late last year in Japan, Liberty and Outback models equipped with EyeSight were awarded top ratings in a new type of assessment conducted by the Japan New Car Assessment Program (JNCAP).”
MyKey by Ford
Giving parents piece of mind when they let their children borrow the car, the MyKey system can set restrictions on speed limit, radio volume control, log the number of kilometres travelled and constantly remind the driver to buckle their seat belt by muting the radio. Relying on two keys for the car – a master key and MyKey – the technology is the first of its kind in the industry, encouraging young people to be safer drivers. EFTM first encountered MyKey during our review of the Ford Fiesta ST.
Ride:HUD by Nuviz
Encouraging motorcyclists to keep their eyes on the road, Ride:HUD is the first head-up display system in the world. It allows riders to see navigation information, phone calls and their music library – all via a see-through display in their field of view. Retrofitted onto the majority of full race or modular helmets, the system is connected to the rider’s smartphone and is controlled by a handlebar-mounted controller, designed for motorcycle gloves.
Touchpad by Mercedes-Benz
By using the same simple finger movements that you would with a smartphone, the waist-high Touchpad device gives drivers, quick, easy and convenient control over their main menu and media functions, including volume adjustment. Its unique handwriting recognition feature allows users to comfortably enter text, numbers and symbols, allowing for convenient entry of address and telephone numbers. This is a superb system as we discovered during our recent drive in the Mercedes Benz C-Class range.
iCare by Hundai
Billed as Australia’s best customer care program, iCare gives absolute transparency in service pricing – an area of much contention for some –and a level playing field for dealership pricing. With lifetime capped price servicing, plus an easy to use online booking portal to connect with dealerships, iCare provides maximum price for every service for every Hyundai ever sold in Australia, while bundling together some of the best service offers on the market, including the country’s first five-year unlimited kilometres warranty.
“We are delighted that Hyundai iCare is the first recipient of this important new innovation award in Canstar Blue’s extensive automotive category,” said Tony Hutton, General Manager of Aftersales Hyundai Motor Company Australia.
“We’ve long claimed that iCare is easily Australia’s best customer care program of its type, and this award confirms that claim,” he said, “iCare definitely delivers standout transparency and ease of vehicle service for all Hyundai owners.”
The Tesla Model S
The world’s first fully-electric sedan, the Tesla Model S comes with an autopilot system that combines a front camera, radar and sonar sensors to let the car virtually “drive itself” on the open road or in dense traffic. The centre console consists entirely of a 17-inch touchscreen that enables control of media, phone and internet connectivity, external cameras, and energy consumption. It can follow other cars, accelerate, brake and change lanes with a tap of the indicator. Our wide reaching review of the Tesla Model S certainly proved the pioneering attributes at play here.
Safety Comes First
With key safety features coming up trumps Chris Bowen offered the following “Manufactures have strived to improve occupant safety in the event of a crash. Physical, structural and mechanical enhancements like crumple zones, airbags and seat belt pretensioners have helped lessen the chances of serious injury. But increasingly – in some quite amazing ways –hidden technology is now lessening or even entirely preventing accidents from occurring in the first place.
“A whole host of sensory technology has existed for some time, but importantly in 2015 it is now widely available and affordable. Chances are that the average consumer may not have an in-depth understanding of the in-built lifesaving investments made by manufactures. The anonymous nature of small cameras in the windscreen, sensors in the front grill and rear bumper, don’t hold the same appeal as a vehicle’s looks, for example. But it’s when one of these systems comes into play that a customer will fully marvel at what’s on offer.
“Automobiles are now a showcase of technology and manufactures have the ability to take some elements of human error out of the equation. The relentless march towards the utopia of zero car injuries or fatalities is well and truly underway.”
Chris Bowen was paid for his services by Canstar Blue
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.