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.

Jan 032018
 

Key things every driver should budget for

Keeping a car on the road can cost drivers thousands each year, so along with safety and reliability, running costs are often a top consideration for many when choosing a car.

Warranty Direct has put together its guide on the most expensive outgoings that come with owning a car and how to keep them as low as possible…

Begin with your insurance

In the UK, it is illegal to drive without insurance and if get caught you could face an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving.

Prices for car insurance can vary massively with insurance companies basing prices on different risk factors. Not all factors can be changed, but there are things you can do to help keep premiums down:

  • Keep the vehicle in a secure location
  • Add an experienced driver to your policy
  • Watch your annual mileage (more miles = higher insurance as there is greater chance of an incident)

Comparing quotes from different insurers could end up saving you hundreds a year, so make sure you shop around to get the best possible deal.

Invest in an insured warranty provider

Taking out a warranty is the best way for someone on a budget to monitor their expenditure when it comes to cars.

There is nothing worse than paying out for an unexpected hefty repair bill if something goes wrong. With an extended warranty* this stress is removed should the worst happen, as a warranty can help contribute all or some of the costs associated with getting new parts and paying for the repair labour.

A fixed monthly cost that can be worked into your monthly budget will be more cost-effective than paying out for one large bill per repair.

Shop around for fuel

Saving just 5p a litre on the price of petrol or diesel could save £100 a year for the average driver.

Pump prices vary around the country and there are even different forecourts in the same town – so it pays to get to know the cheapest in your area.

Motorway fuel stations tend to be more expensive, so if you are planning a long journey it’s worth filling up beforehand to avoid potentially paying £8 a tank more.

Supermarkets will often give you a discount at their petrol pumps when you spend a minimum amount in store, so kill two birds with one stone and fill up after doing your weekly shop.

Efficiency is essential

Eco-driving saves an average of 15% in fuel costs, so small everyday things to improve your fuel efficiency can have a big impact.

Drive smoothly and change gear as soon as possible without revving the engine too much – ideally before 2,500 revs in a petrol car and 2,000 in a diesel. You should also change to a lower gear when the engine speed drops below 1500 rpm.

Stick to 70mph on the motorway. By travelling at 80–85mph, fuel costs can increase by 25% or more – (oh, and it’s illegal too!)

Essential car maintenance

The average cost of maintenance on a used car is £472 a year. However, through regular upkeep you may be able to reduce these costs and keep your car on the road for extra miles too.

Here is Warranty Direct’s top do-it-yourself maintenance tips:

  • Check and change the oil every 5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first
  • Check fluids – keeping coolant, brake, power-steering and transmission fluids topped up is essential to safety and extended engine life
  • Check tyre pressure – correct pressure improves your car’s safety, fuel efficiency and makes them last longer
  • Change the filters – it’s an inexpensive, quick fix which prolongs engine life, increases efficiency and reduces emissions

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