RAC Cars News


New In-Car Technology, From Apple Watch Integration To Eye Tracking Wipers

By raccars Published

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Three new pieces of automotive technology offer an example of how amazingly sophisticated modern cars are becoming.

First is the Apple Watch Car-Net app from Volkswagen, which allows parents to monitor their child's behaviour behind the wheel. The app can alert parents if their child is driving too fast, reveal their location, whether they have locked the car's doors and even if they have left the sunroof open. The technology will also allow the car's owner to lock or unlock the vehicle remotely.

Volkwagen sees the app's uses as ideal not only for nervous parents with children who drive but for any car owner. If you forget where you have parked, the app can show you the vehicle's location on a map and give you directions to it. You can even flash the lights or use the horn remotely.

Owners can also monitor the fuel level of cars with certain engines from the VW range from their Apple Watch, while driver of the e-Golf electric car can check charge levels and enable or disable charging if necessary. Climate control features can also be accessed through the Car-Net app.

While BMW has created an app for Apple watch wearers to monitor charge levels on its i3 and i8 electric cars, Volkswagen's version is far more sophisticated.

At the same time, Jaguar has just received a patent for a new windscreen clearing system, which was originally filed in March 2013. The system uses eye tracking cameras which allow drivers to control windscreen wipers using eye movements.

The firm has previously patented technology to use eye tracking cameras to monitor when drivers appear to be falling asleep at the wheel and take action to prevent it, but the new patent applies to a system which automatically activates the rear windscreen wiper whenever the driver looks at the rearview mirror.

The wording of the patent application suggests that the same system could also be used for front windscreen wipers.

Vauxhall is working on a similar system to control car headlights according to driver eye movement. The technology monitors the driver's gaze and automatically adjusts the intensity and direction of the car's headlight beams accordingly. The technology combines infrared sensors with a central camera to scan driver eye movements 50 times every second, and combine driver behaviour with other sensors on the car's exterior, to monitor light levels outside and enable or disable the headlights accordingly. The technology is clever enough to take account of different weather and road conditions.

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