Latest Car Innovations

Under the category of "What Will They Think Of Next?" Car Companies keep coming up with new features that are supposed to make cars safer and easier to live with.

Consumer Reports Auto Test says while some are going mainstream, others are intriguing, but it's not clear yet if they'll catch on.

More and more cars come with safety features like blind-spot monitoring. In this side-view mirror, a symbol lights up to alert you.

And if you drift out of your lane, some cars caution you with a beep.

Consumer Reports Auto Test Center also tests collision-warning systems. This Chrysler 300 beeps if you're about to hit something, so you're sure to brake.

And cars like the Audi A8 actually apply the brakes for you.

Tom Mutchler of Consumer Reports says, "Our tests have shown that these advanced systems can help you avoid an accident an improve your awareness. But they're just no substitute for being alert when you drive."

Some Fords have another new safety feature-inflatable rear seat belts.

Ford says these mini air bags built into the seat belts reduce neck and chest injuries.

And the new Nissan Altima has a handy feature to help when inflating your tires. When you've got it right, the horn toots.

Mutchler says, "Properly inflated tires are really important. They improve fuel economy, they help handling, and they help your tires last longer."

Not all new features are safety related. Like this built-in vacuum coming in the 2014 Honda Odyssey minivan.

Or how about a foot-operated trunk or tailgate release? If your hands are full, just swipe your foot under the sensor-a convenient option being offered on some Fords and BMWs.

Mercedes-Benz is even offering a warning system that's designed to detect if you're in danger of falling asleep behind the wheel.

Consumer Reports thinks the concept has potential, but the system hasn't worked all that well in the four models it's tested so far.


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