Additional security or luxury?
The range of extras in the car brochures is getting more and more extensive. It is not a surprise since people are spending more and more time in their car and are therefore willing to spend more money for extra security and extra comfort.
Advanced electronic components are becoming increasingly cheaper due to high quantities and are therefore being fitted as standard in compact and small cars by the manufacturers. Many extras will continue to be offered only for higher vehicle classes or only in a package with other extras.
The new assistance systems and entertainment media at a glance
- Turning lights - controlled by the turn signal and steering wheel angle, the turning light illuminates dark areas at the edge of the road and intersections, thus protecting mainly pedestrians who otherwise could easily be overlooked.
- Distance assistant - this supports the driver to automatically maintain the desired distance to the car in front and sends a warning signal if the car is too close. In conjunction with the brake assist, the optimum braking force is calculated and then used in an emergency. Rear-end collisions can be reduced by more than 50 percent.
- Adaptive brake light - this activates the brake lights in various stages during emergency braking (steady light, rapid flashing, and hazard warning lights).
- Adaptive high beam assistant - this dims automatically to oncoming vehicles and illuminates the roadway optimally so that pedestrians on the side of the road can be better detected.
- Active curve light - this lets the lighting system jump in and illuminate curves up to 25 meters in advance.
- All wheel drive - this distributes the driving force and electronically controls all four wheels, which is especially beneficial when wet, in snow or in ice.
- Anti-lock braking system - this is today a standard equipment. It prevents the wheels from locking during emergency braking so that the car can still be steered. It also makes it easier to stay in the correct lane when slippery. As a rule, the ABS is electronically coupled with the ESP.
- Alertness assist - on motorways, around a quarter of all serious accidents are caused by tired drivers. The alertness assistant detects the tiredness of the driver by observing the eyes and by the steering behaviour. The driver is then notified on the display by a lighted cup of coffee to take a break. If the driver falls into a micro-sleep, a mechanical warning (eg. vibration) or an acoustic signal is sent out.
- Parking aid - sensors at the rear and on the side warn you against small objects. Some parking aids are additionally equipped with a mini camera. Lines in the picture indicate which area you are heading for - depending on how you hit the steering wheel.
- Parking assistant - this signals to the driver whether a parking space is large enough and, if desired, takes over the parking. The assistant steers the car independently into the free space. The driver only has to accelerate and brake.
- Electronic stability program (ESP) - if the vehicle threatens to brake out, the ESP brakes individual wheels to keep the car on course. The ESP prevents the wheels from spinning when starting too fast. In addition, the ESP always includes the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control (ASR).
- Collision warning system - this warns the driver of impending collision. The system activates the belt tension and builds maximum brake pressure. This is now standard from some manufacturers. It is optimized in combination with the emergency brake assistant.
- Air conditioner - this cleans the air and allows for a more pleasant climate in the car. This is not only comfortable, but also a safety aspect. In the summer, the driver keeps cool and in the autumn and winter, the air conditioning keeps the windows free of damp fog. Air conditioners are now standard even in small cars.
- Media interface - whether your smartphone, tablet, USB stick, MP3 and other external audio devices can be used in the car depends on the appropriate access. Many on-board systems allow for USB and wireless Bluetooth connections.
- Navigation system - this navigates the driver via GPS and voice control to the desired destination. It also warns you of traffic obstructions due to accidents or traffic jams. It also calculates the expected time to the destination, taking into account the current traffic situation.
- Brake assist - the system uses radar and video data to detect an imminent accident and automatically initiates braking. Even if the driver can no longer avoid the accident due to heavy braking, the system automatically brakes to reduce collision speed. Brake systems that automatically take effect in the event of accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists have only been in production for a few years.
- Rain sensor - this initiates the windshield wiper speed accordingly.
- Heated seats - this heats the driver's and front passenger's seats to a usually adjustable temperature. In luxury vehicles it is also possible to have this feature in the rear. Even when the air in the vehicle is not warmed up, the heated seats already provide pleasant warmth.
- Heating - this is both a comfort feature and is an advantage in a snowy car. Modern systems can be remotely controlled with a smartphone.
- Lane assistant - with a camera, the car tracks clear lane markings and compares them with the track of the car. In case of deviations, a small warning alerts the driver. Deaths from car accidents could be reduced 30 percent with this equipment.
- Speed limit assistant - a camera behind the windshield recognizes speed signs and displays them in the speedometer. In some systems this data is also compared with the navigation system. However, the driver still has to adjust the pace independently.
- Blind spot detection - this is identified in the mirrors with a red light if there is something in your blind spot while driving.