• They’re able to anticipate drivers’ reactions, make decisions such as brake and accelerate, or even park the car themselves
  • The driver receives visual alerts to make a lane change or limit their speed
  • These systems make for increasingly safe and comfortable driving and are the first step towards autonomous cars

Our car is full of cameras, sensors and radars. We can’t see them, but they’re always active while we are driving. Although these driver assists do not prevent us from having to pay close attention to the road, they add considerable safety and comfort on our daily commutes. The use of these measures, among others, will save 7,300 lives and prevent 38,900 serious injuries over the period 2020-2030, according to the European Commission. The person responsible for these systems at SEAT, Marc Seguer, describes seven of the most useful assistants when we get behind the wheel:

1. Automatic brake application that prevents collisions: To prevent rear-end collisions, the Front Assist system controls the distance of our car in relation to other vehicles or pedestrians in front of us. “When the driver doesn’t react to an imminent risk of collision with the car in front or a pedestrian, the system first emits a warning and then automatically brakes the car if necessary”, explains Seguer.

2. Less stressful traffic jams: Braking, accelerating and braking again. Nothing is more tiresome than driving in heavy traffic typical of large cities. “The Traffic Jam Assist performs these functions so the driver can relax”, adds the expert. It can switch gears automatically, regulate speed and maintain the correct safety distance in every situation.

3. No involuntary lane changes: Staying in our lane can be easier with a minor, automatic adjustment of the steering wheel. With a front-mounted camera that recognises lane markings, the Lane Assist warns us when we are about to go off course, whether we’re driving slowly or at high speed. “Since it can also automatically make course corrections, it prevents dangerous situations if the driver is momentarily distracted”, confirms Marc Seguer.

4. Keeping an eye on road signs: The Traffic Sign Recognition Assist is paired with the vehicle’s front-mounted camera to detect signs that indicate speed limits, overtaking bans or even road work. “This driver assist makes for the best co-driver by warning us ahead of time. The information is displayed on the instrument panel and we can also configure an acoustic warning for excessive speed”, he adds.

5. No more blind spots: There is no more fear of making a lane change thanks to a visual warning located on the door mirror that alerts the driver of a vehicle approaching outside their field of vision. The Blind Spot Detection works with two radars that monitor traffic at the rear and ensure safer driving.

6. A more comfortable trip: The Adaptive Cruise Control enables you to set a constant driving speed and takes care of accelerating and slowing down depending on traffic conditions, and will automatically brake the car if necessary, with no driver intervention. “It’s especially useful to activate it on long trips, with heavy or fluid traffic. When making a long distance trip, drivers come to appreciate not having to keep their foot on the accelerator”, recommends the expert.

7. Parking without touching the steering wheel: With the help of cameras that provide a 360° view around the car, the Park Assist does the steering for us. It is able to calculate distances to avoid any collision, and even take control of the steering wheel.

The development of these kinds of assists aims to contribute to lowering the number of road accidents. “It’s getting more and more safe and comfortable to drive thanks to the advanced technology our cars are equipped with. These days, driver assist systems are our best driving companions, and the prelude to autonomous driving”, concludes Marc Seguer.