The world we live in isn’t always the most hospitable of places, and you only need to see the evening news to see plenty of examples of extreme weather events and natural disasters.
A number of manufactures now include features in their cars that add some extra resilience to protect the owners of their vehicles. This can range from small changes to some rather extreme influences.
Car park survival
Your local supermarket car park can sometimes feel more dangerous than a war zone, with unsupervised trolleys floating about the car park and people parking outside of the lines.
Thankfully, Citroen have developed their ‘Airbump’ system, which is essentially the automotive equivalent of bubble wrap. They are visible minor-impact absorbent pockets that sit alongside both sides of the car and spring back when pushed in.
The original C4 Cactus, which debuted this tech back in 2014, had some of the most noticeable air bumps, however, the Airbumps on the latest generation C3 and the C4 Cactus are a lot more understated.
The ŠKODA Kodiaq also has an ace up its sleeve. Unlike the passive protection offered by Citroen, the Kodiaq has a protector that deploys as the door is opened. It’s mechanical and completely independent of the car's electrical system. The cover moves out to protect the door edge when the door-opening angle reaches 11°, and it automatically retracts as the door is closed.
ŠKODA offer other innovative features to help you in extreme situations, such as umbrellas that are neatly housed in the door frames.
Inspired by the air filtration systems used in hospitals and the space industry, Tesla developed a HEPA filtration system capable of stripping the outside air of pollen, bacteria, and pollution. The system can scrub the air inside the cabin to eliminate any trace of these particles.
Tesla demonstrated this feature on their Model X with their HEPA filtration system, bringing pollution levels from an extremely dangerous 1,000 µg/m3 to levels so low that they were almost undetectable.
This system means you can literally survive a military grade bio attack by sitting in your car (a hopefully less likely example), but it would also be a handy feature if you’re caught in the smoke from a bush fire.
One of Tesla’s future models - the Cyber Truck - continues the survival theme with a radical design that incorporates an ultra-hard 30x cold-rolled stainless-steel structural skin which happens to be bullet-resistant against 9mm calibre bullets.
It doesn’t stop there either – the Cyber Truck also features ultra-strong glass and polymer-layered composite that is able to absorb and redirect impact forces to protect the vehicle’s glass.
Sitting in the new Peugeot 508 is a truly futuristic feeling thanks to its modern ‘i-Cockpit’, and the $3,500 optional Night Vision package only amplifies this sensation.
This technology was originally only used in the military, but over the past few years marques like Mercedes-Benz and Bentley have showcased several varieties of night vision, designed to help you see even further into the dark thanks to infrared technology.
You never know quite what you will encounter on the road ahead, and with Peugeot now offering this in the 508, it remains to be seen whether even more common, affordable manufacturers adopt this technology as an optional extra.
The night vision package uses an infrared camera system to detect the presence of obstacles, such as pedestrians and animals, in front of the vehicle for optimised driving safety. The image is placed in your field of vision on a crisp and configurable 12.3" heads-up digital instrument panel.