Radar and laser tech has been integrated into cruise control units in luxury cars such as the Jaguar XKR and the Infiniti Q45. Onboard computers automatically relax the throttle to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.
REVENGE ON THIEVES
AirIQ goes further than LoJack: It doesn’t just track stolen cars, it empowers owners to disable their starter motors remotely. The device, used in commercial fleets, is now available to consumers.
SPIED ON BY ACME
Rental companies are using telematics to
enforce their contracts.
A jury recently ruled in favor of Acme Rent-
a-Car, which used GPS data to ding a renter $450 for speeding—though he hadn’t been stopped by police.
Road Safety International sells aftermarket black boxes that beep insistently when drivers exceed a preset speed or G-force. Parents can download data from the units to see how their teenagers have been driving.
PAY AS YOU GO
You pay for electricity based on usage; why not auto insurance? In a recent pilot program, Progressive Insurance billed customers
by where, when and
how far they drove,
as recorded by GPS units in their cars.
PARKS BY ITSELF
The Toyota Prius sold in Japan features a rear camera that helps it parallel park. Intelligent Parking Assist isn’t fully autonomous: Drivers must start in the right spot and enter the destination on a touch
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.