The best automotive and automotive technologies of 2020

Your car may not have been used as it usually does this year. Travel restrictions put many car trips on hold for the time being. Meanwhile, people who had to walk to work increasingly opted for public transit. And yet, the auto industry has continued to advance technology. When we all resume our regular cruising habits, the vehicles on board will be a little safer, more comfortable and even more efficient. Key automotive innovations this year include a seat designed for napping as well as improvements to key safety features that will save lives.

The uniquely shaped airbag is designed to prevent the most common head injuries during a wreck. Acura

Grand Prize Winner: TLX 2021 Passenger Air Bag by Acura

The airbag, reimagined

In the United States, car crashes are responsible for more than 16,000 fatal head injuries each year, some of which occurs in the passenger seat. The Acura TLX 2021 features a uniquely redesigned bag that lessens the impact on those delicate noggins. Whereas a conventional airbag inflates into a bulbous balloon whose heads can easily slide or slide, the TLX’s offering is more like a catcher’s glove. Immediately after impact, three chambers inflate, two of which expand to wrap around the rider, gently guiding his head into the bag like a baseball tucking into a well-padded glove. The training cushions passengers earlier on impact than previous models and keeps them cradled on the airbag during an off-center impact. Ultimately, the design promises to reduce the deep rotational forces that drive brain tissue into the skull during a wreck. Although the bag debuted in the TLX, Acura’s parent company Honda has agreed to let other manufacturers use the technology down the line.

Ford 2021 Bronco
The 2021 Bronco is more than a reboot of the classic SUV series. Ford

2021 Bronco by Ford

The truck that everyone can offroad

Legend has it that the original Bronco was called the GOAT – “Go Over Any Terrain” – during its development in the 1960s, but getting the truck to change its transverse lane required specific skills such as knowing when to lock the differential to traction – or knowing what a differential is in the first place. The new Bronco 2021 offers a GOAT mode that leaves the work to the on-board computers, making switching, for example, from sand to grass, quick and easy. The system uses traction control sensors to analyze driving conditions and make adjustments to maximize grip and ground clearance. For example, this will change the linkage and power of the wheels so that the tires grip better on rough terrain. Even on the street, there’s a lot to enjoy, including doors that come off with a single bolt and plug, and a manual transmission option for purists.

Bosch virtual visor
You don’t need to block the whole sky to avoid glare. Bosch

Bosch Virtual Visor

A self-tinted and transparent sun visor

Flip-up sun visors can block huge parts of the view through your windshield while you’re driving. Bosch’s upgraded version retains the same basic shape, but uses a clear, tintable LCD screen instead of the opaque flap we’ve stored sunglasses and keys in for decades. A camera monitors the driver’s gaze as well as the incoming light; it then signals the honeycomb display grid to selectively darken just enough to block out the glare. When the sun hides behind a cloud or begins to set, roll up the visor, as you would in any car.

BMW ZeroG lounge chair seat
Reclining that much in a typical car isn’t safe, but BMW’s new seat changes that. Bmw

ZeroG lounge chair by BMW

A bed seat for cars

Deep reclines during transport are usually reserved for business class flights, but the BMW ZeroG lounge chair brings the snooze-fest to the passenger seats of crossover SUVs. In addition to the typical upright position, the seat can recline back a luxurious 60 degrees. It is generally dangerous when the car is in motion, so BMW has fitted the seat belt on the left side of the passenger so that it stays snug against the body even in a deep recline. In the event of an accident, a 360-degree cocoon airbag deploys to completely encompass both the seat and its occupant for maximum protection.

ARB base rack
No luggage load is too strange for this roof rack. ARB

Basic support by ARB

A truly modular roof rack system

Protruding tie-down points on conventional roof racks limit how you can organize your gear. On the base bracket, however, each extruded aluminum cross member has a dovetail-shaped rail along each side, which means accessories such as ratchet straps, rollers, and wheel straps. relief can attach at any time in just about any orientation. The welded slats are strong enough to avoid the need for a supporting subframe, allowing the rack to sit closer to the vehicle roof, improving aerodynamics. And, since the brackets are hollow, the wiring of accessories like solar panels can live indoors where they are protected from the elements.

Nissan Acoustic Meta Hardware
A plastic mesh significantly reduces the weight compared to a typical sound insulation. Nissan

Acoustic meta-material by Nissan

Quieter cabins, cleaner lines

Relatively heavy rubberized planks line various areas of your vehicle to prevent noise from seeping into the cabin. They do a great job, but they also add considerable weight, which takes a toll on fuel mileage. Nissan has therefore developed a material that blocks sounds between 500 and 1,200 hertz – the range encompasses noises like tires rolling on the ground and engine rumbles – but weighs only a quarter of the most popular damping options. . The plastic film and mesh formation of the material is also considerably thinner than typical insulation, so manufacturers can add more to keep outside sounds out.

Harman voice detection volume fade
The car can tell when you are talking and drop the audio for you. Harman

Harman’s voice detection volume fade

A sound you don’t have to scream at

When the mood in the car goes from swinging to gossip, an audio system equipped with the latest Harman software can adjust the volume of the stereo for you. The system uses microphones strategically placed throughout the cabin to actively analyze the noise, allowing the AI ​​to determine if the audio should stay away from your chatter. The algorithm can tell the difference between a conversation and a quick interaction, so it will only reduce the volume for a real conversation. Of course, you can manually override the system and play the melodies as high as you want if you are tired of chatting.

Velodyne Velabit Lidar
The tiny sensors are easy to hide on drones or self-driving cars. Velodyne

Velabit Lidar by Velodyne

Cheaper and smaller peepers for self-driving cars

Autonomous vehicles and drones rely on a technology called Lidar to see the world around them, but sensors tend to be bulky (and expensive) appendages to otherwise tidy rides. Velodyne’s Velabit modules are only 1.38 inches thick and 2.4 inches long and wide, making them small enough to hide inconspicuously under a fender. Each unit has a range of up to 328 feet and offers a 60 degree wide field of view. Perhaps more importantly, they cost just $ 100 per person, which means manufacturers and researchers can build sturdy arrays to increase situational awareness of autonomous vehicles or drones without having to spend thousands of dollars. dollars.

Lucid air
This sleek ride is very fast in terms of acceleration and load. Lucid engines

Air by Lucid Motors

The fastest charging EV

The most impressive feature of Lucid’s fully electric luxury car operates when the vehicle is completely stationary. Using the company’s new fast-charging technology, it can achieve a range of around 20 miles per minute spent on the outlet. It’s faster than anything else on the market. The first version of the sedan – the Dream Edition at $ 169.00 – also offers 1,080 horsepower, over 150 mph and a range of up to 517 miles according to EPA estimates.

Ducatti Multistrada Adventure Bike Radar Assist
An on-board radar system uses sensors on the front and rear of the bike. Ducati

Multistrada V4 by Ducati

Finally, a real cruise control on a motorcycle

Motorcycles have been smart enough to help motorcyclists avoid impending collisions for a few years now, but that intelligence has its limits. This year, Ducati has teamed up with Bosch and the University of Milan to deliver the first true cruise control on a two-wheeler. With the speedometer set between 19 and 100 mph, a radar sensor on the front of the bike helps the system keep a safe distance from the car in front of it. Carefully tuned acceleration won’t shake the rider as much as in a car, while a second sensor at the rear monitors cars entering blind spots on the bike.

Damon Hypersport
Some parts of the bike move physically depending on how you want to ride. Damon

Hypersport by Damon

An electric motorcycle that changes shape

Commuters and runners typically have to choose between ride setups when purchasing a new ride. Using the same basic technology that moves your car’s power seats, however, the Hypersport allows riders to adjust the handlebars, footrests, and windshield – effectively transforming the 200-mile electric bike. h and adapting it to their size and personal preferences. Headed to the track? Tilt the handlebars for an aggressive forward leaning posture. Commute? Slide everything back to sit up straight.

IndyCar and Red Bull Aeroscreen
The windshield protects cyclists in the event of a collision and debris on the track. Indycar

Aeroscreen by Indycar and Red Bull

Open cockpit racing cars are getting safer

In 2015, Indycar driver Justin Wilson was killed when the nose of a wrecked car hit him in the head at Pocono Raceway. This is just one of the many deaths and injuries caused by the open cockpits of some of the fastest racing cars in the world, which is why Red Bull and Indycar have developed the Aeroscreen Protective Windshield for the season. 2020. Its titanium frame can withstand up to 34,000 pounds of pressure before it crashes, and the transparent ballistic polycarbonate shield itself can withstand impacts at speeds of up to 2o 220 mph. In July 2020, the pilot protected by the Will Power shield of a flying wheel on the track otherwise, it would have resulted in a potentially fatal strike.




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