Center for Auto Safety Asks Nissan to Brake Check Itself
Advanced driving aids have been slighted once again. This time, the Center for Auto Safety is asking Nissan to issue a safety recall on several models it believes have received too many customer complaints about their automatic emergency braking systems.
It also claims the manufacturer is already aware of the situation, after filing an public-information requests that showed Nissan being in possession of more than 1,400 complaints and field reports alleging the systems are activating when they shouldn’t. The company is also on the receiving end of some lawsuits over the matter.
We’d hate to harp on Nissan more than necessary. The manufacturer already has a laundry list of problems it’s hoping to solve, and there’s clear evidence that advanced driving aids are acting goofy across the board — especially as they become more commonplace. Last week, we reported on another AAA assessment encompassing multiple brands that once again showed just how reliable these electronic nannies aren’t.
Feds Vs the Future: NHTSA Begins Tests on Mirror-replacing Cameras
With camera systems replacing mirrors on vehicles eligible for sale in other parts of the world, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has decided to test how drivers might make use of them in the United States. On Tuesday, the agency said it plans to test “driving behavior and lane change maneuver execution” in cars with traditional mirrors and camera-based visibility systems.
The NHTSA also said it’s soliciting public comments on the matter, signaling that the agency is at lease semi-serious about allowing digital screens to replace old-school mirrors on passenger cars.
Inside Out: ZF Tests External Side Airbag System
There was a time when the only thing cushioning your head from a direct impact with the steering wheel in the event of a crash was the skin it was wrapped in. Since then, airbags have proliferated, breeding inside millions of cars to a point where they now explode down from the headliner.
Considering automotive safety pretty much only moves in one direction, this was bound to happen. There may come a day when airbags are no longer limited to the interior of cars.
ZF Group, best known for its transmissions, is currently testing a “pre-crash external side airbag system” that it considers to be the world’s first. Having debuted a prototype in 2016, ZF is now conducting live demonstrations where an inflatable barrier bursts forth from the rocker panel to provide additional cushioning for side impacts.
AAA: There's Too Many Driver Assistance Tech Names
If you read this website regularly, browse automobiles online, or have taken a trip to the dealership within the last couple of years, you’ve probably noticed the countless names applied to driver assistance systems appearing in new cars. It’s the result of automakers wanting proprietary names for these features that they think sound catchy.
Not everyone is a fan. The American Automobile Association (AAA) doesn’t feel that “having twenty unique names for adaptive cruise control and nineteen different names for lane keeping assistance” helps consumers make informed decisions.
According to its own research, AAA claims that advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) were available on 92.7 percent of new vehicles on sale in the United States as of May 2018. That makes them next to impossible for consumers to avoid. Thus, the motor club group feels it’s time for automakers to standardize their naming strategies — if for no other reason than to help preserve our sanity.
Volkswagen Debuts Impressive Thermal Imaging Technology, U.S. Will Have to Wait
Driving assistance technologies are becoming more prevalent in mainstream automobiles. In fact, it’s downright impressive what you can get if you’re willing to pay for it. With entry level models now coming equipped with quite a bit of advanced hardware as standard, manufacturers have to do more to set the pricier units apart.
Thermal imaging is something we expect to see as an option on a high-end luxury vehicle, but Volkswagen plans to have them at the ready for the 2019 model-year Touareg. While it’s not exactly a budget model, that’s still a major leap forward for a mainstream automaker. The downside is that North America will have to remain patient as VW starts baking the technology into more vehicles, because the brand already decided to eliminate the Touareg from its 2018 U.S. lineup.
Infrared (IR) cameras aren’t new. In addition to being mandatory equipment on self-driving test vehicles, they frequently crop up as a way to help semi-autonomous systems do their job. But VW is providing a live-feed in the dashboard to help drivers avoid warm-blooded obstacles skulking around in the evenings, long before they are silhouetted by a car’s headlamps.
Cycling Pileup Shows the Unexpected Dangers of Vehicle Safety Aids
Thanks to a pact among the world’s largest automakers, automated emergency braking will soon be standard kit on nearly every new vehicle, paving the way for a future of collision-free bliss. That’s the plan, anyway. While undoubtedly a valuable addition to the automotive landscape, self-thinking vehicle safety systems sometimes reveal their dark side.
That’s what happened Wednesday during the Abu Dhabi Tour — a big-deal cycling race in a locale where hydration no doubt takes on new importance. Fluids weren’t top of mind for five of the cyclists, however, as their race was cut short by a Mercedes-Benz with a mind of its own.
Not-so-sudden Impact: Waymo Patents a Softer-crashing Car to Safeguard Pedestrians
Autonomous vehicles are being billed as a safer alternative to human-controlled transportation and, assuming the hardware functions as intended, that’s likely to be the case. But eventually a self-driving car is going to smack into a pedestrian and no company wants to hold the honor of being first.
Google’s autonomous vehicle arm, Waymo, is working on a solution to mitigate the liabilities associated with such an incident by patenting a softer car.
Nissan Improves GM's Rear Seat Reminder, Takes Credit for the Initial Idea
Nissan is rolling out a safety feature called Rear Door Alert on the 2018 Pathfinder SUV. It’s aimed at preventing drivers from accidentally leaving items in the backseat on a hot day — important things like groceries, children, and dogs. While the automaker bills the feature as the “first-of-its-kind,” it’s essentially an improved version of General Motors’ Rear Seat Reminder.
According to Nissan, Rear Door Alert was developed by two engineers who also happen to be mothers. Elsa Foley is an industrial engineer and mother of two, while Marlene Mendoza is a mechanical engineer with three kids of her own. They were allegedly struck with the idea when Mendoza abandoned a pan of lasagna in her car, which made the interior reek of pasta — hitting home the point that this system was definitely not inspired by another automaker.
Toyota Focused More On Safety Over Vehicle Autonomy
Though Google was more than happy to turn a few Prii into autonomous test beds, Toyota doesn’t see much of a future for autonomous vehicles from the tech giant or Toyota’s competitors.
Suppliers Biggest Beneficiaries Of Backup Camera Mandate
With the mandate that all vehicles post-2018 possess backup cameras set to begin its ramp up in 2016, suppliers will be the biggest beneficiaries of a growing safety market.