Innovate or die is a famous catch phrase and nowhere is it more true than in the car industry. Not only do engineers work on developing cars that are faster, stronger and more economical than those currently on sale. They’re also intent on making them more user friendly. All the buzz might be about self-driving cars but there are a host of other car industry innovations coming to a model near you in the not-so distant future.
We’ve had unique access to a company that specialises in inventing equipment for the car industry. German giant Continental might be best known for making tyres but it’s also an automotive technology business. Every year its boffins spend countless hours and millions of pounds working to shape the future of motoring. Here are five of our favourite innovations.
The self-parking car
Weather conditions, the state of traffic, and engine software updates will be handled automatically by connected cars. (Picture © Continental)
If you’re lucky enough to drive a car that has its own mobile internet network, you’re ahead of the curve. You’re driving what’s known as a connected car. As time passes, these vehicles will become fundamental to everything we do on the road. They’ll revolutionise how we think of transport and spend time in our cars. They’ll speed up the likelihood of full self-driving cars. And they’ll cut the number of crashes, one day maybe even making road deaths history. Here’s all you need to know about the connected car.
The beginnings of the connected car
Diesel cars are blamed for poor air quality courtesy of their exhaust emissions
Diesel car sales are falling as drivers turn their back on it because of health concerns. But diesel power is about to hit back with new technology designed to reduce harmful exhaust emissions.
Official figures show that sales of diesel cars were down in the UK by a fifth in May 2017 and by 15 per cent in June. That’s compared with the same period in the previous year. The slump is believed to have been caused by various factors. The high-profile Volkswagen diesel cheat device case raised people’s awareness of the harm of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants diesel produces. But people are also concerned that diesel cars may be slapped with hefty taxes.
However, we can reveal that diesel is hitting back. Automotive technology giant Continental has worked out how to make a much cleaner diesel car.
Why do we need diesel?
You don’t have to do the Stelvio Pass in a classic car to appreciate the views
British drivers are being encouraged to embrace motoring abroad after Green Flag outlined five brilliant European drives. The campaign comes as research reveals that 32 per cent of Brits avoid driving abroad. The language barrier, local drivers, and reading road signs puts us off driving in foreign countries.
Nick Reid, head of transformation at Green Flag, said: “Europe is such a beautiful holiday destination, it is a shame to see how many of us are avoiding taking road trips on the Continent.” Have a look at what you might be missing with our five brilliant European drives.
Stelvio Pass, Italy
Is four-wheel drive better than winter tyres in the snow? (Picture © BMW)
The clocks have gone back, it’s getting dark ever earlier, and the forecasters say it’s going to be a cold winter. It means the roads are wet and greasy, or even worse, could be slippery with ice or snow. And that means regular two-wheel drive cars like most of us own can struggle for grip. It’s little surprise that so many drivers consider swapping the family saloon for a four-wheel drive SUV at this time of the year.
However, there could be a simple, more affordable approach for drivers other than forking out for an SUV, or indeed any four-wheel drive car: fitting winter tyres to their current car. Here’s how drivers can keep moving this winter.
Whether a tyre can be repaired depends on where the damage is. Whoever’s doing the repair should first remove and inspect the tyre (Picture © TyreSafe)
Knowing if you can or can’t repair a tyre could come in very handy for a lot of drivers. Tyre companies estimate that on average drivers get a flat tyre about once every five years. Considering tyres can cost upwards of £100 each and you can repair a tyre for around £25, understanding if you can fix a puncture could be a handy money saver. Here’s all you need to know. Continue reading
Puncture repair kits are increasingly replacing spare wheels
For drivers it’s a modern dilemma: to have a spare wheel or not. On the one hand there’s the risk of being one of the 23,000 drivers Green Flag attended in 2013 who were stranded at the side of the road because they didn’t have a spare wheel. On the other there’s the fuel and therefore tax you might save by not carrying the extra weight of a spare wheel that you might never use. Continue reading