Feb 042019
 

Autonomous VehiclesWhile fully self-driving vehicles aren’t quite part of today’s reality just yet, many new cars feature assisted and partial automation already.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders predicts the technology being developed for connected and autonomous vehicles will have prevented 25,000 accidents by 2030.

Warranty Direct looks at some of the key self-driving technologies making today’s vehicles safer and more efficient.

Ultrasonic sensors

 Most drivers will be familiar with ultrasonic sensors, with many vehicles already adopting the technology to help with reversing into tight parking spaces and more.

Ultrasonic sensors send out sound waves to detect surrounding objects. When the waves hit an object, it gives the car an accurate measurement of how close they are, to avoid collisions.

Blind-spot information system

Blind spot monitoring technology uses radar systems or rear-facing digital cameras, to sense vehicles which appear in a car’s blind spot. If this happens, a warning light shows in either the door mirror or within the A-pillar to alert the driver and make them aware of a potential hazard.

It’s become particularly useful when a motorist wishes to change lanes, as the technology offers an audible or haptic message if there is another vehicle in a car’s blind spot.

While it should reduce the number of collisions caused from changing lanes, drivers still need to check their blind spots and mirrors regularly and not become dependent on this technology alone.

IoT connectivity

Utilising IoT connectivity gives vehicles the ability to access wider data, like real-time traffic and weather updates, to ensure the safest and smoothest drive possible.

Connecting to a world of internet devices poses its problems, though. Privacy and safety are the biggest issue, with automated cars open to hacking, and the threat of information theft from connected devices like mobile phones.

Lane-keeping alert and automatic steering assist

By using a forward-looking camera, this technology has been developed to recognise when drivers are drifting out of a lane. Most vehicles will give either a visual or audible warning, but some higher-end motors now have automatic systems to divert a car safely back into the correct lane.

At the moment the technology is most effective on dry motorways and in a smooth flow of traffic, but there are developments being made to make it more precise and better suited to other situations such as driving on rural roads.

Traffic sign recognition

This uses a camera to scan road signs, then communicates this information back to either the dashboard or infotainment section of a vehicle.

All drivers should be well-versed on the Highway Code, which provides information on all the relevant road signs. However, this technology has been designed more as “extra driving assistance”, to help people when on unfamiliar roads or if they may have missed a change in the speed limit.

What’s next…?

Automation is measured in five stages; with the final, most advanced stage being a fully autonomous system. This is when a vehicle’s performance is equal to that of a human driver.

The majority of vehicles are currently at stage two, which is what the systems listed earlier like park assist and lane-keeping alert are currently rated.

But what are some of the technologies the motoring industry has in the pipeline to take us to stage five?

Car-to-x

Mercedes-Benz is currently working on a new technology – car-to-x – which will allow drivers to see ‘into the future’ – past multiple bends and maybe even further.

The sophisticated technology establishes networked links among and between vehicles and traffic infrastructure, so you can adjust your driving behaviour and defuse potentially dangerous situations.

The new GPS

Fully self-driving cars will rely on GPS devices to locate their position, helping to establish a route, know when to turn and more.

The worry is GPS devices can sometimes be off by a few metres, which would be extremely dangerous for a travelling vehicle. However, by connecting to other built-in sensors and cameras, vehicles can pinpoint an exact location.

Jan 282019
 

Motor Show in GenevaWe might have said goodbye to 2018, but if you’re a motoring enthusiast, there’s still plenty of reasons to be cheerful. The year ahead is jam-packed with must-see events to help indulge your inner petrolhead.

Whether you’re a car show newbie or a seasoned veteran, there will be something out there for you. So, get your calendar at the ready and read Warranty Direct’s definitive guide to what we think are the best motoring events in 2019…

Mini Fair: Sunday 27th January

Getting our list underway is Mini Fair. Now in its 20th year, this extravaganza takes place at Staffordshire County Showground.

Expect thousands of people to attend this event to honour the classic Mini as it celebrates its 60th anniversary.

Key sessions not to be missed include the ‘Pride of Ownership’ where you can showcase your ‘pride and joy’ and the charity auction.

London Classic Car Show: 14th-17th February

Held at Excel London, this is a must-visit for any classic car owner, collector, expert or enthusiast.

The London Classic Car Show brings together the best dealers, manufacturers, car clubs and products; the best ingredients for a day of motoring entertainment.

At this year’s event, you’ll even be treated to a tribute to The Italian Job film, which turns 50 this year.

If you want to see some of the world’s finest classic cars up close and in tip-top condition, this show is unmissable!

Geneva Motor Show: 7th March-17th March

One of the most high-profile events in the automotive calendar, The Geneva Motor Show is always hotly anticipated by industry experts and members of the public alike.

It’s a hotspot where brands not only reveal updates to existing models, but also shine a spotlight on new models set to hit the UK market too.

This year (the 89th edition), TAG Heuer will be in attendance for a special exhibition paying tribute to the world of motorsport.

Le Mans 24 Hour: 15th– 16th June

Taking place at the renowned Circuit de la Sarthe, 2019 will be the 87th running of this legendary race which first took place in 1923.

With more than 260,000 spectators expected to be in attendance, Le Mans is perfect for adrenaline junkies and is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious automobile races in the world.

Goodwood Festival of Speed: 4th-7th July

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush closer to home, look no further than Goodwood. Described by some as ‘motorsport’s ultimate summer garden party’, it takes place in picturesque Chichester.

One of the world’s biggest and most famous motoring events, it’s an ideal opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most renowned cars, as well as celebrate the rich history of motorsport with thousands of likeminded enthusiasts.

 Concours of Elegance: 6th-8th September

Taking place within the picturesque grounds of Hampton Court Palace, Concours of Elegance is a sophisticated event that boasts appearances from 60 of the finest cars ever made.

There’ll be no shortage of luxury super cars with manufacturers including Ferrari, McLaren and Aston Martin in attendance.

If you’re looking for a high-end experience, as well as an opportunity to ogle some of the world’s rarest cars, this is the event for you!

Classic Motor Show: 8th-10th November

Last but not least, we cap off our list with The Classic Motor Show. A mainstay of the NEC in Birmingham, this is one of the largest classic car shows of the year.

With over 2,000 classic cars on display, as well as hundreds of trade stands, there’s no shortage of things to explore…and purchase!

Attended by some of the UK’s largest car clubs, it’s also a great opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the most knowledgeable motor-heads.

If being among so many great cars gets you thinking about what you need to do to protect your own ‘pride and joy’, look no further than Warranty Direct’s very own warranty cover, which helps to protect you against the cost and hassle of unexpected vehicle failure once your original manufacturer’s warranty runs out.

Dec 212018
 

Car Films to Watch Over ChristmasIt’s December and that can only mean one thing; staying in with an open fire, drinking a cup of hot chocolate and watching our favourite Christmas films!

From bona fide classics to Christmas-inspired picks, Warranty Direct has put together its definitive list of must-watch car movies to enjoy during the festive frenzy.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

We thought we’d start our list with an oldie but a goodie. Based on Ian Fleming’s classic, this musical fantasy film is about an eccentric inventor who transforms a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children. They all then go off on a magical adventure to save their grandfather in a faraway land.

It’s far from gritty realism, but this majestic movie is a must-watch for all the family. After all, who doesn’t wish they could own a flying car?

The Fast and the Furious (2001)

For our second pick, we’ve gone for a modern classic. Though this film spawned countless sequels, we still think the original is the best.

Starring Vin Diesel and the late Paul Walker, this first outing of the franchise is all about a police officer whose loyalties are put to the test when he becomes involved in the street racing world.

Plot aside, this high-intensity action film boasts thrilling racing scenes that will leave you on the edge of your seat this Christmas.

The Italian Job (1969)

This British action comedy starring Michael Caine features iconic appearances from a Lamborghini Miura and a Mini Cooper, in the hope of bringing Torino to a standstill, only to steal the Gold and escape.

Aside from being one of the most quotable movies ever, this film is a feast for the eyes for any motoring enthusiast and the perfect way to get your heart racing over the lull between Christmas and New Year.

Christmas Vacation (1989)

For the fourth spot on our list, we’ve gone for full-blown ‘80s nostalgia.

This Christmas-themed family comedy follows the Griswold family as they head out in their trusty wood-panelled wagon to pick up a Christmas tree. However, their plans for a perfect family Christmas are scuppered by plenty of comedic hi-jinks along the way.

Starring Chevy Chase and a young Johnny Galecki (perhaps better known as The Big Bang Theory’s Leonard Hofstadter), this is the ideal, feel-good Christmas movie to put on after Christmas dinner.

 Drive (2011)

Looking for a film that’s a little different? Why not watch this a modern-day indie classic?

Starring Ryan Gosling as a brooding stuntman and mechanic who moonlights as a getaway driver, this crime flick is an intense ride that features plenty of dizzying car chases along the way.

Of course, in the real world, when you’re looking for quality vehicle repairs, you’re unlikely to be met by a Hollywood star.

However, if great quality workmanship is what you’re in search of, we have our very own Preferred Repairer Network to guarantee our policy holders the best quality service when an unexpected fault or breakdown occurs.

Cars (2006)

For our final choice, we’ve gone for this Pixar animated adventure, which is a charming treat for adults and children alike.

The film follows a rookie race car (appropriately named Lightning McQueen), who discovers the true meaning of friendship when he finds himself lost in a run-down town called Radiator Springs.

This film has everything you could want from a family classic – plenty of thrills, touching moments – and classic vehicles to marvel at along the way!

 

Jun 222018
 

For many, going on holiday means hopping on a plane and jetting off to the sunshine.

However, with regular ferries and the Channel Tunnel, it’s never been easier to escape the UK by car. If you need some extra convincing, Warranty Direct has put together eight fool-proof reasons why driving is better than flying…

1. Take charge

If the thought of flying makes your palms sweaty, forget the plane; sit back and enjoy the feeling of being behind the wheel in your own car.

Many phobias of flying stem from the fear of not being in control, so keeping your feet firmly on the pedals could be the best choice if being air bound is not your favourite pastime.

2. Forget baggage allowances

Driving allows you a lot more flexibility with luggage, so load up the boot and be on your way.

Just make sure you’re within the Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) or Maximum Permitted Weight (MPW) for your car, which can be found in your handbook. Always load responsibly, with heavier items at the bottom for added stability.

3. It’s all about the food

While in recent years plane food may have improved, it’s still not going to be your first-choice cuisine.

When driving, not only can you stock up on your favourite snacks, you could even stop at some gastronomically fantastic cafes or restaurants. Check sites such as Trip Adviser before you leave, so you won’t be disappointed.

4. You can have ‘fun stops’

You can also visit sights on your journey. Plan your route and put in some cities or attractions you’ve always wanted to see to make travelling part of the holiday. This is also a great way to keep kids entertained along the way!

However, with driving you run the risk of the less-fun stops; breakdowns. To get you on the road again as quickly as possible, make sure you’re covered in case of emergencies.

5. You can control the temperature

One of the worst things about being on a plane is temperature control. Sure, you have an individual air vent, but there’s very little you can do if you find yourself too hot or too cold.

In your own temperature-controlled car, you get to be in charge of the in-car environment. That is until the children have their way with the dial.

6. Think about the children

Flights with children can be stressful. With the extra baggage, the early morning start and the queue for security, you may find yourself needing a holiday before you’ve even taken off.

When driving, you can avoid airport queues, stop whenever is needed and even put children in the car in pyjamas, so they continue to sleep while en route.

7. Your wallet will thank you

Plane tickets can be pricey, even short-haul ones. If you calculate the cost of flights for the whole family, the price can quickly mount up.

Driving can often work out much better economically, even when accounting for fuel, ferry or channel crossing costs. If you have a car full of friends you can split the fuel costs, which will make the journey even more affordable and potentially a lot more fun.

8. Leave no one behind

If you’re a pet owner, you will know the pain of leaving your furry friend behind and also the hassle of finding a good quality pet sitter, kennel or cattery while you’re away.

If you’re driving, it’s easy to make your pet part of your holiday. Install either a pet seatbelt to clip into your car or a travel cage in the boot, as a loose pet could be distracting for a driver. If you’re going abroad, pets will still need passports, so make sure you’re covered.

Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075.