One of the major factors driving advancements in automotive technology is the desire for increasingly complex safety features. As it stands, automakers may still be decades away from having fully autonomous vehicles that leave no room for driver error – because there isn't one. But in the meantime, automakers are coming up with innovative new ways to help keep people safe from their own mistakes and those of other drivers. Here are five of the best new technologies you'll be seeing in cars some time soon.
- Gesture recognition
Many companies have been working on this type of technology for a while now, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz and tech giant Microsoft, but Harman International Industries may have beaten them all to the punch. Wired reported that Harman's European division has developed a system that recognizes predefined nods, winks and various hand gestures from the driver. This includes raising and lowering your hand over the gear shaft to change the temperature and tilting your head to the left and right for radio volume control. Recombu, a car news site in the U.K., reported that Harman's system is so advanced it can tell the difference between real gestures and accidental or unintended gestures from the driver. What does all this have to do with safety? Hands-off controls mean fewer distractions for the driver.
Cars of the future will be safer than ever thanks to technological advancements by automakers.
- Automatic doze control
Falling asleep at the wheel is unfortunately a common cause of accidents, especially for truckers who spend long days and nights on the road. Volkswagen is working on a system that takes electronic steering to the next level, according to Popular Mechanics. The system works using a camera and other sensors that detect if the vehicle is experiencing any abnormal drifting patterns. The sensors communicate with a computer that interprets the severity of the situation, and takes control of the steering gear motor, if necessary, to keep the vehicle on a safe path. This technology is far from complete, however – as Popular Mechanics reported, the system cannot yet tell the difference between drifting and casually changing lanes. This will be a more active approach to lane departure warning systems that alert the driver if the vehicle begins drifting into other lanes without a turn signal. You can find various versions of such systems on newer used vehicles.
- Automatic sun visor
Drivers often encounter blinding sun rays that cause them to flip the visor and reach for their sunglasses. But Popular Mechanics reported that Volkswagen is developing an electronic matrix inside the windshield to help block the rays. One sensor focuses on the position of the driver's eyes while the other measures the intensity of sunlight beaming the windshield. The system then creates a dark area where the sunlight meets the driver's eyes that changes with the direction of the vehicle.
"New airbags will double the car's stopping power."
Airbags – for the car itself
How Stuff Works reported that Mercedes is designing an airbag system that helps stop a car when active safety sensors have determined an impact is imminent. The bags deploy beneath the vehicle and are coated with a substance that increases friction and doubles the car's stopping power. They also reduce the dipping motion that occurs as a vehicle is coming to a hard stop. It lifts the car 8 centimeters, which is enough to ease bumper-to-bumper contact and prevent passengers from slipping under their seatbelts. Airbag systems have become increasingly complex over the years, and you can already find plenty of cars with great airbag protection for the interior of the vehicle.
- Crash avoidance systems
Audi and other car makers already have vehicles on the road that can effectively swerve around a potential collision. But Audi is taking a few more steps in the fully autonomous direction with the zFAS central driver assistance controller, according to Automotive News. The zFAS uses two microchips – one that focuses ahead of the vehicle, and another that monitors areas around the vehicle. This helps determine the safest course of action the computer can take to avoid swerving around one object and prevent potentially colliding with another. The second generation of the zFAS will enable the chips to monitor each other as well, to provide backup in case one fails. Audi is also working with a number of other companies on overlapping sensors, radar systems and cameras to develop a fully comprehensive crash avoidance system.
While it may be a few years before you start seeing features as advanced as the ones on this list in cars everywhere, rest assured that that they're on the way. As for now, there are plenty of other active safety features you can find in used cars from New Jersey State Auto Auction.
Car racing has been around almost as long as vehicles themselves, and one of the earliest events was the Prinz Heinrich Tour. Named for automotive enthusiast Prince Albert Wilhelm Heinrich of Prussia, the early 1900s race featured production cars, one of the first road rallies to do so, according to the Revs Institute for Automotive Research. Automotive history lovers will be happy to know that two of the Mercedes-Benz models used in these races will be on display at the upcoming Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance March 8 to 10. Not only are these 1910 models still presentable, but they have recently been restored to working condition and will be driven onto the field at the event.
"History has been made when a vehicle fades into oblivion and can be salvaged and restored after more than 100 years of hibernation," said Michael Kunz, manager of Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California. "The presentation of two Prince Heinrich cars at the Amelia Island Concours not only reunites two vintage Mercedes-Benz vehicles from the early 1900s, but also restores what is considered to be a major high point in the origins of racing history."
According to a Mercedes-Benz press release, this is the first time two of these iconic vehicles will be together in one place since the races were held a century ago. Their very existence in such good condition is a testament to the ability to keep cars running well past their expected lifespan.
Drivers who want to do the same with their used cars can bring them to NJ Auto Auction's Total Car Care Center. Open to the public, this auto garage can handle everything from routine maintenance to major repairs. Taking care of a vehicle is the key to longevity, and absolutely crucial whether drivers plan to keep their cars until the end or they want to trade them in for newer models in a few years' time.
Owning a luxury-brand car like a Lexus or BMW used to be a symbol of status among the wealthier, but many brands are beginning to introduce more reasonably priced options in order to keep business going and engage a new generation of upscale drivers. Not only does this increase competition among brands, but it gives more drivers access to new options when they are searching for their next models.
"It puts us in a whole different market that we haven't been in before," Tom Tassie, general manager at Mercedes-Benz of St. Clair Shores in Michigan, told The Detroit News. "You can have younger buyers in Mercedes-Benz that hopefully will become Mercedes-Benz buyers for life."
Mercedes recently debuted its newest model, the CLA 250, which has a starting price of $29,900 that puts it in competition with higher end models offered by non-luxury brands. This is just one of many luxury models that carry a smaller price tag on the market, but drivers may be able to save even more on their next vehicle if they opt to buy used cars.
Pre-owned luxury models will cost less up front, but it is important for shoppers to take the overall costs into consideration. They might want to check with their insurance companies to find out if insuring a luxury model is more expensive. They should also research the maintenance and repair costs associated with certain models, as some parts are far more costly to replace on luxury vehicle than on other models.
Car shoppers in the New York/New Jersey area can find plenty of affordable luxury options at NJ State Auto Auction, which carries a wide selection of makes and models. They can choose from previously owned BMW, Lexus, Mercedes, Audi and other luxury brand vehicles.
Early in January, the final sales numbers for 2012 came out, and the results showed that BMW had the highest sales in the luxury automotive sector. However, Mercedes recently argued that their numbers actually put the brand ahead of BMW.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Mercedes was actually in the lead right up until the end of 2012, when BMW got a 45 percent sales boost in November, narrowing the gap between the two German automakers' numbers. By the end of the year, BMW climbed just a bit higher than Mercedes, selling 347,583 vehicles over the year including MINI sales. Mercedes' tally came in at 305,072 units in the U.S., The New York Times reports.
When looking at new vehicle registrations, however, Mercedes-Benz claims it has earned the title of best-selling luxury nameplate in the U.S., AutoBlog indicates. Registration data provided by Polk shows that Mercedes posted 274,123 registrations, while there were only 268,498 BMW registrations in 2012. Steve Cannon, chief of Mercedes-Benz North America, explained at a monthly Motor Press Association meeting that the discrepancies between the sales and registration numbers are vastly different for the two companies – Mercedes' numbers were only off by 11, while BMW's numbers were separated by about 13,000.
Official data has not yet been released, so the jury is still out about which of these two luxury car providers is the real top dog of 2012.
While the automakers duke it out, drivers looking to get behind the wheel of used cars can head over to New Jersey State Auto Auction to find the luxury ride they've been dreaming of. The dealership has a wide selection of makes and models, whether drivers are looking for a BMW 3 Series or they would prefer a Mercedes SUV.
While many people may be buying chocolates and flowers today, plenty others are heading to the theaters to see the latest edition in the Die Hard movie franchise. “A Good Day to Die Hard” premieres on the holiday of romance, because nothing says love like action, violence and car crashes.
The fifth installment of the action saga, featuring New York police officer John McClane, marked the 25th anniversary of the original “Die Hard” that has become a legendary tome in the action movie genre, and the action has not slowed down any. The fourth film, “Die Hard with a Vengeance,” involved McClane driving a car off a ramp into a helicopter to create a Michael-Bay style explosion, but the fifth movie keeps things a bit more realistic with traditional action movie elements like car chases and shoot-outs.
According to USA Today, 132 vehicles were completely wrecked in the making of the latest Bruce Willis flick. Not only were these cars blown apart, smashed, demolished and otherwise wrecked for the sake of the film, but they were all used to shoot one car chase scene.
“There were 132 (cars) that could never be used again,” director John Moore told the news source. “Another 518 required a lot of work.”
Those planning to see the film will get to see a slew of vehicles get thoroughly trashed, including a Mercedes G Class SUV.
While car crashes in movies may be fun and exciting, in real life they can be quite problematic. Even if (hopefully) no one is injured, drivers may be faced with a number of repairs to get their vehicles back on the road. In some cases cars may be irreparable, and those in need of replacement vehicles can head to NJ State Auto Auction, which carries a wide selection of affordable used cars.
Lexus has been at the top of the luxury sales chart in the U.S. for the past decade, but it looks like its reign has come to an end: BMW and Mercedes-Benz have officially passed the automaker on the sales charts.
The Japanese brand's fall from grace isn't a complete shock – analysts have been expecting this ever since BMW and Mercedes began to outsell the brand toward the end of last year. Yet it does serve to show just how much the luxury market has changed over the past few years, as high-end buyers begin to favor performance over reliability.
It doesn't help that Lexus has been hurt by the recent Japanese earthquake. The luxury brand's parent company, Toyota, makes many of its models overseas in the U.S. Yet all but one of Lexus' vehicles are made in Japan, creating a supply chain nightmare for the brand.
Still, BMW and Mercedes outsold Lexus long before the earthquake started. The fact that Lexus has fallen not one but two spots is all the more embarrassing. BMW is at the top, but it's by no means a dominant lead – it only holds a few hundred cars over Mercedes, which is several thousand ahead of Lexus.
Drivers in the market for any of these cars should check out New Jersey State Auto Auction. Luxury vehicles can cost a pretty penny new, but they frequently drop off in price when drivers decide to buy used.
Mercedes-Benz has announced the pricing for three of its upcoming models, and as you might have expected, they're not cheap.
The 2012 SLK and CLS coupes are on the way, and they'll be fetching a pretty penny. The SLK350 is the cheapest of the lot at $54,800, while the CLS550 is priced at $71,300. Neither approaches the CLS63 AMG however, which will sell for a whopping $94,000.
All three models have significant upgrades for the 2012 model year. The SLK features a new V6 engine with direct injection and multispark ignition. Both versions of the CLS will be sporting a new V8 engine: a 4.6-liter and 5.5-liter, respectively. The larger version reportedly produces a staggering 518 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque for the CLS63 AMG, according to USA Today.
The prices on these cars might be high, but there's no denying that they're great vehicles. Drivers who want to get in a luxury vehicle without breaking the bank may want to wait for the cars to hit the used auto market. New Jersey State Auto Auction has a wide selection of used Mercedes and other vehicles at affordable prices.
Lexus has been the king of the luxury sales charts in the U.S. for the past five years, but it appears that 2011 could see a new leader when all is said and done.
Toyota's luxury brand seemed invincible at one point, but last year's recall scandal hurt the brand's image in the eyes of many consumers. It still wasn't enough to topple Lexus completely, but it did allow Mercedes-Benz and BMW to make a late charge at the end of the year.
That trend continued into 2011, and both of the German automakers have outsold Lexus thus far this year. What may seal Lexus' fate, however, is a circumstance entirely out of Toyota's control – the Japanese earthquake. Mercedes and BMW have been largely unaffected by the disaster, but Lexus has already told dealers to begin preparing for severe shortages over the next few months.
Essentially, this means that even if Lexus was selling well at the moment, it might not have enough supply to keep up with its German counterparts. These signs point to either BMW or Mercedes – or possibly both – surpassing Lexus before the year is done.
Drivers interested in a used BMW, Mercedes or Lexus may want to consider New Jersey State Auto Auction. These luxury vehicles can be a bit on the expensive side, but shopping the used car market can help drivers score a great deal.
With small cars selling like hotcakes due to high gas prices, many industry analysts are wondering if Mercedes-Benz will release a model to compete with small luxury cars like the Audi A3, Volkswagen GTI and BMW 1-Series. Now that the company has released the first images of its revamped A-Class, the answer just may be here.
The current version of the A-Class isn't available in the U.S., and Mercedes has not made an official announcement regarding the car's future availability in America. However, with the concept version of the vehicle slated to be shown off at the upcoming New York Auto Show, it's a safe bet that the German automaker is at the very least considering releasing the model in the U.S.
As with most concepts, the current design has some exaggerations that won't be present on the final model. Perhaps most notably, the grille is made up of silver hexagons that the automaker says evokes "a star-filled sky." That said, the concept is different enough from the current version of the A-Class that analysts are expecting a major exterior redesign for the model. Mercedes has also confirmed that the vehicle will be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 210 horsepower, which puts it right inline with the aforementioned rivals.
Drivers in the market for a small luxury car might be interested in the used Audis and BMWs available at New Jersey State Auto Auction, as the A-Class is likely still a year or more away from showrooms.
Mercedes-Benz has announced a massive recall on its M-Class SUVs, due to a potentially scary issue with cruise control that could cause it to remain engaged.
The recall applies mainly to used cars, as the German automaker announced that it will primarily be M-Class vehicles from 2000-2002 that are affected by the issue. A small number of vehicles made between 2002 and 2004 under the AMG high-performance line are also included. In total, 136,751 vehicles are included for the U.S.
Cruise control allows drivers to maintain a certain speed without having to use the gas pedal. Normally, tapping the brakes allows a driver to disengage cruise control. However, Mercedes found that in a rare number of cases a malfunction with a brake-lamp switch could mean that tapping the brakes wouldn't be enough to disengage the system, potentially leading to a panicked moment where the car would be accelerating with no way to stop it.
Mercedes says that the cruise control doesn't completely become locked. Drivers can still turn off cruise control using the "stalk" located on the steering wheel, according to the company. Harder braking will also cause the system to become disengaged.
Drivers in the market for a used auto should keep up with the latest recall news to ensure that their vehicle isn't included. Once they've narrowed the choices down, they can head to New Jersey State Auto Auction to compare models.