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Are We There Yet? Vehicle Technology

New tech toys seem to be growing in leaps and bounds over the past 10 years. Smart tv’s, smart phones, and wireless networks have become normal use in our daily lives.

Our vehicles have also been advancing in technology at a similar pace. Some of the new technology in our vehicles is obvious and some we don’t really see but, does make our vehicles safer, more fun and more comfortable to drive while being more fuel efficient with a reduced environmental impact.

The general trend over the past 2 decades has been how innovative and advanced technologies, once offered only on luxury vehicles, have become standard features in the average new vehicle on the road.  Safety technologies like air bags, anti-lock braking and stability control were once seen as pioneering innovations are now required or standard features on many new vehicles. More recently the advancements have been quite dramatic as we are now seeing vehicles produced with environmental sustainability in mind, optimal cabin safety and a convergence of the cool tech devices like our cellphone or smartphone. Many vehicle manufacturers are working hard to adopt new technologies into their new vehicle offerings. General Motors, as an example, has certainly has done a fantastic job advancing new technologies into a very wide range of its product offerings.

Here are some of trends in vehicle technology that we are we are seeing today:

Brake Assist: This feature, now standard equipment in many vehicles, recognizes when a driver has just instituted an emergency stop. The system then applies full braking power, even if the driver has not pressed the brake pedal hard enough to do this. If the driver backs off the brakes, the system steps out of the picture. This feature was first offered in some vehicles in the mid-90s after studies showed that even experienced drivers were reluctant to use all the braking power built into their vehicles during an emergency.

Advanced Crash Notification Systems: Similar to that offered on vehicles equipped with Onstar, uses sensors to detect a rear and side impact or even if an air bag is deployed and notifies Onstar via a satellite communication system and will immediately send a call for help to emergency services with the exact location of your vehicle. It provides crash information and allows a live advisor to contact the driver to provide assistance and support until emergency services arrive at the scene. This technology has proven to be a life saver, especially where an incident has occurred in a remote location.

Warning Systems and Backup Cameras: These features let a driver know when he or she is getting close to an object and/or show the path the car is taking. Using sensors, the warning system identifies items, animals or people, including small children that the driver cannot see because his or her view is blocked by parts of the vehicle. The backup camera shows the area directly behind the vehicle when in reverse. Originally a luxury car exclusive, today parking sensors and back up cameras are far more common, even on popularly priced vehicles. These devices may also be installed on a vehicle by your dealer or an aftermarket supplier.

Infotainment and Navigation Systems: Newer models of vehicles now utilize bluetooth, wireless and satellite navigation technology and link your cellphone to your vehicle allowing drivers to customize their favorite entertainment, speak to friends & family safely while driving and get to your destination on the most efficient route. GM’s MyLink enables speech recognition that lets you use simple voice commands to initiate phone calls, select radio stations or play music from your compatible smartphone, MP3 player or a music-loaded flash drive. All you have to do is tap a button on your steering wheel and speak a command. These features allow for safer driving habits while enjoying your favorite tune or finding the closet gas station. These very cool technologies can even allow you to monitor your maintenance or even start your car from anywhere. More and more cool is being integrated into new vehicles and its coming fast…

Environmental Production: Today, more than ever, automakers utilize new technology in the production of a vehicle that help to limit the environmental impact of the building of a vehicle. GM engineers work with suppliers to increase the use of responsible components so that vehicles contain a greater variety of recycled material – things like old pop bottles, cardboard, blue jeans, nylon carpet and recycled tires and bumpers limiting the volume of material that goes to landfill. Vehicle’s today are also being designed to be as recyclable and as recoverable as possible and as a result many vehicles are at least 85% recyclable and 95% recoverable.

Weight Reduction and Fuel Efficiency Technologies: Today’s vehicles are getting a lot more VROOM… out of lighter materials and smaller engines. The use of stronger and more lightweight materials reduces the vehicle weight improving your fuel economy while allowing for improved performance from the same engine and suspension package in all driving conditions. The use of six-speed transmission technology helps to provide an optimal gear range while driving which reduces engine RPM and improves fuel efficiency because the engine doesn’t have to work as hard. Overall vehicle performance is improved while saving money at the pump, reducing CO2 emissions and enhancing the overall driving experience with a significantly quieter ride. New engine technologies like Variable Valve Timing and Active Fuel Management are making the gasoline engines of today more and more efficient while automakers continue to develop hybrid and electric vehicle technologies for broader use.

New technology continues to improve our world in so many ways and it is also making us safer, more comfortable and more efficient as we drive our vehicles everyday.


O’Regan’s on Robie is your Halifax GM headquarters providing sales, service and support for Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. Visit us at, or drop in to visit us at 2477 Robie St.

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