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Frankie Says Relax

With roads getting busier than ever, we tend to spend more time in our cars. Here are some future forward features that are designed to get you to your destination feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and safe.

By Juliet McGuire

Adaptive Cruise Control

The future has been with us for some time, especially when you consider that cars can literally now drive themselves. But we are not there yet in South Africa. Sure, we have semi-autonomous vehicles, but we aren’t seeing the pizza delivery arriving without the guy just yet.

A feature that really contributed to the autonomous driving we know today is the humble-but-game-changing adaptive cruise control (ACC). It was designed to help with collisions and so far, has been rather successful. It allows the driver to set their vehicle to maintain a fixed speed (known as Cruise Control), as soon as the car in front changes its speed, the ACC adjusts its speed to match. It does this by using a forward-facing radar sensor that detects the speed and proximity of the car in front. This is great for those long road trips that seem like a great idea at the planning stages but end up being somewhat exhausting. It takes the work out of braking and accelerating for you.

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Intended for a young, metropolitan and dynamic customer, the Tonale will spend a lot of its time in traffic. And as much as this feature is great for the open road, there is nothing like being able to sit back, relax and let the car do all the work for you during your daily commute.

Seat Massage Function

You either love it or you hate it, but one can’t deny that a seat massage function not only feels quite luxurious, but can also help you arrive at your destination feeling very relaxed. It is said to improve your posture and your health by reducing strain on the spinal column and improving circulation in the legs. Manufacturers can also argue that the massage seat is a safety feature because it helps blood flow to the back and on long journeys, this helps to prevent aches and pains and keep the driver alert.

According to Car and Driver, the first manufacturers to offer massage seats were Mercedes-Benz and Cadillac. It was the 2000 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the Cadillac DeVille. Since then, however, we can find them in just about every brand of car.

Mini Cooper S Club Untold Edition

It might not be what you would expect from this pocket rocket, but the Untold Edition not only boasts gold rims, but the massaging seats add to its unmistakable charisma.

Traffic Sign Recognition

This might seem like the odd one out but if you have ever arrived home after a lovely holiday only to be met with a bunch of speeding fines, you will know the stress it can ignite. Traffic Sign Recognition takes the worry out of long journeys by allowing the driver to concentrate on driving rather than on speeding fines. It is also supposed to help drivers stick to the speed limit.

It works with forward-facing cameras that recognise traffic signs, and software that processes these images and relays the information to the driver by showing up on the instrument cluster in front of the driver. It might also alert the driver audibly if they miss the sign. It’s like we are now letting our cars do all our work for us!

Audi e-tron SUV

If you’ve driven an electric vehicle, you will know just how fast they are off the line. And as much fun as it can be to put your foot down while driving an EV, it can lead to an unintentional encounter with the law. Traffic Sign Recognition in the Audi e-tron SUV will hopefully help you avoid such misdemeanors.

Juliet McGuire

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