As the shorter days, longer nights and colder weather of winter begins to get closer, May isn’t always the most exciting month. Australia’s automotive industry certainly wasn’t in hibernation, though, as it turned out to be a month of interest for new-car buyers.
On top of the fantastic new cars that launched in May, other news hit the headlines. Some of these were progressive steps forward, others showed that improvement is still necessary, and there was also some eyebrow-raising innovations that will make the near future very interesting indeed.
Not sure exactly what we’re talking about? Here are three things that happened in the automotive market in May:
1) Google’s turns into Gluegle
Google never seems to rest on its laurels. As well as its internet dominance, the self-driving car project and the announcement of an autonomous minivan, the Cupertino firm also had a patent granted in May for sticky bonnets – yes, you read that right!
It may be a while until we see the “goo” truly put into “Google”.
The idea involves an adhesive layer that’s built into the front of a car bonnet and covered in a thin coating. If the car collides with a pedestrian, the coating breaks and the unfortunate soul sticks to the front of the car, instead of rolling off and hitting other objects, people or cars.
“This instantaneous or nearly instantaneous action may help to constrain the movement of the pedestrian, who may be carried on the front end of the vehicle until the driver of the vehicle (or the vehicle itself in the case of an autonomous vehicle) reacts to the incident and applies the brakes,” Google’s patent application reads.
“As such, both the vehicle and pedestrian may come to a more gradual stop than if the pedestrian bounces off the vehicle.”
It may be a while until we see the “goo” truly put into “Google” in practice, but is it something you’d like to see on your novated lease car?
— Telegraph Technology (@TelegraphTech) 19 May 2016
2) Haval unravels
Haval is the best-selling SUV brand in China, being part of the Great Wall Motors company. As a new market entrant, the Haval brand is an exciting addition to the roads, and one that can only further improve Australia’s competitive car industry.
However, Haval was independently crash tested for the first time in Australia – and indeed the world – by ANCAP in May, and the H9 model didn’t fare too well.
Although the car scored highly for both side impact and whiplash protection, below-par results in the frontal offset test led to the H9 getting only a four-star safety rating.
“New vehicle buyers have come to expect five-star safety from new models and unfortunately this result falls short of marketplace expectations,” explained ANCAP’s CEO, James Goodwin, on May 25.
“The H9 is being marketed as a premium offering from China’s highest selling SUV brand and we would expect a vehicle in this price range to offer a greater range of advanced safety features and improved crash performance.”
3) Fatality Free Friday celebrates 10 years
While safety technologies in our cars are helping to make Australian families more protected on the roads, we still need some self-improvement as drivers, too. The Australian Road Safety Foundation’s Fatality Free Friday is designed to help educate us all on the importance of good driving – and celebrated it’s 10-year anniversary on May 27.
One issue is that many people think they’re safe drivers when, in fact, a large number of them are prone to taking risks.
“Almost 20 per cent of drivers aged between 25 and 34 believe that drugs like ice, cocaine or acid won’t impair their ability behind the wheel,” wrote Car Advice’s Tegan Lawson on May 27. One in 10 people from this age bracket even admitted to driving under the influence of drugs.
It’s great that Fatality Free Friday is ongoing, and perhaps its just as necessary as ever. The AAA reported in May that there has been an 11 per cent jump in the annual road toll, after years of falling fatality figures.
While we’re sure you know how to handle your novated lease vehicle, it’s worth bearing in mind that driving is still a risk, and other road users pose a threat to you.