Technology rules the road. There are so many gadgets and features designed to take the stress out of driving and keep you safer on the street. Here are the Top 10 Cool Tech Gadgets coming to cars in 2015.
1. Run-off road protection system - 2015 Volvo XC90, $60,700 + $2,200 for the Convenience package with run-off road protection system: Volvo’s Run-off Road Protection system is a world first. If you drive off the road accidentally, the all-new Volvo XC90 detects what is happening and takes matters into its own hands to reduce injuries to passengers.
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1. Run-off road protection system - The front seat belts tighten automatically while energy-absorbing seats protect your spine from a hard landing by guiding you through the process of going into a ditch as gently as possible.
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2. Perpendicular park assist - 2015 Chrysler 200C, $24,995 + optional $1,995 SafetyTech package: Parallel parking systems aren’t new, but perpendicular parking systems are. The 2015 Chrysler 200C can perpendicular park itself, reversing into a spot at a crowded mall with ease.
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2. Perpendicular park assist - Push a button on the dash and the system guides you step-by-step to eliminate the stress of parking. Ultrasonic sensors at the front and rear will find a suitable parking spot. The driver controls the brake and throttle; while the system controls the steering wheel.
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3. Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection - 2015 BMW X6, $68,890 + $2,500 stand-alone option for Night Vision with pedestrian detection: BMW’s Night Vision with Pedestrian Detection warns drivers of dangers beyond your headlights. The system can detect animals and pedestrians in the dark by using infrared technology to see things before they’re visible to the naked eye. An infrared camera scans a range up to 300+ metres ahead of the vehicle – that’s more than three football fields - and 200 metres beyond what the Xenon headlights can illuminate. Then it relays a real-time video image onto the LCD screen.
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4. In-car Wi-Fi - 2015 Cadillac ATS, $36,110; data plans start at $10/month after three-month trial service: Connectivity has reached new heights thanks to OnStar with 4G LTE, available on many GM vehicles. It brings a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot inside and around the vehicle. You can also connect up to seven devices at once including laptops, smartphones, video game consoles or tablets so the entire family can stay online on the road. At 100x the speed of 2G, the mobile data network is fast and powerful.
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5. Hand-free liftgate - 2015 Ford Escape Titanium with the hands-free liftgate, $31,999: If your hands are full carrying grocery bags to the car, Ford’s hands-free liftgate will make it a cinch to load and unload them into the cargo area of the Escape. There’s no need to fumble for keys to unlock it. As long as the key fob is on you, simply walk up to the rear bumper, gently kick your foot under it and the power lift gate opens or closes automatically. The hand-free liftgate technology has been around for a couple years, but is now offered on the C-Max and the 2015 Escape. It will likely be a feature on the Focus and the Fiesta in the years to come.
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6. Automatic high beams - 2015 Mercedes E250 BlueTEC 4Matic, $59,500: Adaptive High-Beam Assist on the Mercedes-Benz E-Class provides the best lighting at all times by automatically operating the high-beam lever for you. A camera monitors the activity in front of the vehicle; while an intelligent image-processing algorithm detects and calculates the distance of other vehicles. At speeds above 55 km/h, the system can switch on the vehicle’s low beams automatically if an oncoming vehicle is detected. The system works quickly, updating data to the headlamps every 40 ms.
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7. Automatic braking - 2015 Subaru Legacy 2.5i Touring with Technology Package option, $28,995: Subaru’s EyeSight driver-assistance system acts as an extra set of eyes on the road and an extra foot on the brake. The system, which integrates Adaptive Cruise Control, Pre-Collision Braking and a Vehicle Lane Departure Warning, uses two cameras to monitor activity ahead of your vehicle. If the system senses a forward collision is imminent, it can bring the vehicle to a complete stop without any driver intervention to avoid a collision.
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8. Predictive forward collision warning system - 2015 Infiniti Q50 3.7 AWD with Moonroof, Premium & Navigation, Deluxe Touring & Technology (with Predictive Forward Collision Warning system), $49,100: Infiniti's Predictive Forward Collision Warning system advises drivers of risks beyond the driver’s field of vision. The system can sense the relative velocity and distance of a vehicle directly ahead of it, but it can also do the same for a vehicle travelling in front of the preceding one. If that vehicle suddenly brakes, the system will warn the driver with visual and audible cues.
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9. Swarovski Crystal Active LED headlamps - 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic coupe, $147,500 + $4,000 option: The headlamps on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class are a show-stopper thanks to the world’s first Swarovski Crystal Active LED headlamps.
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9. Swarovski Crystal Active LED headlamps - 2015 Mercedes-Benz S550 4Matic coupe, $147,500 + $4,000 option They’re unique and stunning in appearance, but they also provide excellent illumination on the road. It’s a $4,000 option – but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to $147,500 price tag on the S550 4Matic coupe.
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10. Pedestrian airbags - 2015 Land Rover Discovery, $38,920: You’re familiar with airbags inside a vehicle, but have you ever seen one outside of a vehicle? The all-new 2015 Land Rover Discovery Sport actually has a pedestrian airbag; it deploys from the front hood. It’s designed to protect a pedestrian from serious injuries if they’re accidentally struck at the front end of the vehicle. Unfortunately the pedestrian airbag isn’t available in Canada, yet.
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