Raise your hand if you prefer great driving ergonomics. In the context of automotive tech, it means any innovation that helps with your car’s driving comfort—from the placement of a radio dial to how a person fits in the passenger seat.
Great ergonomics means an almost floaty car ride, where you feel almost nothing as you sit in the driver’s seat. As opposed to hearing every noise, feeling every temperature or humidity change, or experiencing every bump, chip, and dip in the road.
Here are some of the most innovative features currently offered by manufacturers to make your ride as comfortable as possible.
Memory-Powered Adjustable Seats
Power car seats are common—they’ve been around since the 1940s. They allow push button or lever controls to things like seat position, raising or lowering of the seat, and even adjustments for the lumbar back support.
A newer seat option is memory powered adjustable seats. It solves the dilemma of sharing your vehicle with other drivers leaving you the annoyance of entering a vehicle to find an unfamiliar—and uncomfortable—seating position. Use adjustable seat memory to customize multiple pre-programmed seat settings. You can quickly recall your favorite driver’s seat position—and, if equipped, power mirror settings and power tilt/ telescoping steering column settings.
Check out Lincoln’s Perfect Position seat technology, with 30-way adjustability.
Heated / Ventilated / Massaging Seats
A cool tech comfort feature is seating that cools, warms and even massages you. If you’re planning to drive in blazing summer temperatures, or skin-numbing alpine air, these features are more popular than ever. They are even becoming more available in non-luxury models.
Massaging seats are great for long road trips, or just to make sitting in traffic more relaxing. Consider Mercedes-Benz, which has seats with six massage modes linked to specific interior lighting, and fragrances released from onboard vials.
Need more seat comfort? Nissan’s Zero Gravity seats, inspired by NASA, maximizes your blood flow while sitting and puts less stress on your muscles.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Adaptive cruise control systems (ACC) help fight off driver fatigue. ACC uses your car’s radar and cameras to alter the set cruising speeds if it detects a slower vehicle ahead of you. It’s both a comfort and safety feature.
ACC is not an autonomous system. The driver needs to pay attention and keep hands on the steering wheel. But it does reduce driver fatigue on long drives and can even respond to vehicles that cut you off in stop-and-go traffic.
Other names for this feature are dynamic radar cruise control and intelligent cruise control.
Attention SUV or truck owners—this feature comes in handy when your arms are filled with groceries and a giant raincloud is looming. The automatic hands-free liftgate works either via proximity to your key fob, automatically popping the gate as you approach the car, or via a wave of your foot below the rear bumper. Many vehicles also allow you to alter how high the liftgate opens, so you can adjust it according to your garage height.
Ambient Interior Lighting
LED lighting is so versatile that it be placed anywhere in your car. Different colors and brightness are triggered by and synchronized to your car’s music. But how exactly does ambient lighting help? According to Car Lighting District, “Other than creating that incredibly advanced feel, it also helps to create a cool and exciting emotional atmosphere, making you feel safe and comfortable. It has also been shown to result in less fatigue when driving.”
A car requires suspension, steering and brakes for everyday driving tasks. These systems or components are collectively known as the chassis. Computer controls that optimize cornering, stopping and acceleration are made automatically when using this feature developed by Nissan.This technology offers drivers a smoother performance with a more confident driving experience.
Resources: TrueCar, Inc., Designtechnica Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., LTD., Postmedia Network Inc., Globalme Localization Inc.