At one point, the various technologies for features such as backup cameras, crash-avoidance systems and thermal cameras were bells and whistles reserved for luxury vehicles. These days, however, those technologies are becoming more commonplace and are found in all sorts of vehicles, from compacts to large SUVs. Here’s some information to help you know what features you want when you’re buying a new ride.

Smart vs. Intelligent

Smart technologies are, for the most part, referring to the technologies that make distracted driving a thing of the past while intelligent technologies are those that are designed specifically with your safety in mind. So, for example, bluetooth capabilities would be considered smart technology while a thermal camera to make night driving easier is considered to be intelligent technology. Some people call the vehicles equipped with smart technologies “connected cars,” referring to the fact that this technology allows you to connect your car to the various devices in your life (including those that run your house!).

Intelligent technologies to keep you safe

Intelligent technologies are designed around a philosophy of creating a safe ride and, according to recent studies, road casualties in Canada have decreased by 17 per cent since intelligent tech has become more available to consumers. Intelligent cars do things such as warn you when you are about to hit something (or someone) or when you are drifting outside of your lane. This kind of real-time information helps the driver know what’s happening around them, even when they can’t see it. It also explains why the race to the first autonomous vehicle is so competitive.

What does this mean for you?

As time moves forward, you’re going to start seeing more and more of these technologies being offered in “standard” packages from dealerships. Getting to know the difference and what they mean for your capacity to be a safe driver is important, especially when purchasing a new vehicle. It also means that you’ll be prepared for the next step in technological advancements, such as predictive technologies that can tell you where a pedestrian is going to go or about future traffic patterns.