Both hot hatches can now detect way more threats than before.
Hot on the heels of VW's announcement that it's partnering with Argo AI and the League of American Bicyclists to keep riders safe, it brings us news today of how cars that are on the market now, the Volkswagen GTI and Golf R, are already doing the legwork. The main piece of the puzzle now, and going forward, is Front Assist.
It's also the main piece of VW's IQ.Drive driver assistance technology, which is available across the range, even on its inexpensive vehicles. And it just got an upgrade to help avoid collisions with bikers and walkers. This isn't hands-free or even semi-autonomous, but it will help you out in a jam.
According to VW, old versions use radar sensors to look out for approaching objects. The front-mounted sensors can already tell the difference between a vehicle and a pedestrian. But the new version offered on the new GTI also uses a forward-facing camera to tell the difference between a cyclist and a pedestrian.
"By using sensor fusion that combines the data from the camera and the radar, this technology can help detect pedestrians and cyclists who the driver may not see in front or alongside the vehicle," said Izzuddeen Hack, electronic strategy lead for Volkswagen Group of America. "That can give the driver more warning and our systems more intelligence about what's happening to help avoid a potential crash"
Because radar can work without light, it can see walkers or bikers in the dark. It will automatically engage Forward Collision Warning and, if necessary, Automatic Emergency Braking. It uses both audio and visual warnings in the gauge cluster if the car is going more than 18 mph. It can also jab the brakes to make you pay attention, which is was a little scary when we checked it out in the VW ID.4.
If the car is traveling under 18 mph, AEB will activate and slow the vehicle without any warning if it detects an imminent crash. The system will also use its Braking Support function to bump up the stopping power if it thinks you're braking too lightly.
As these technologies trickle down to less expensive cars, the road gets safer for everyone. And since everyone seems preoccupied on the road these days, either with video games on the main infotainment screen or their phone, this can only help keep people alive.