Life Motor Reviews

Monday 22 September 2014

Self-driving cars are here already, SEAT has them

Published 12/08/2014 | 13:03

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Active cruise control is already on the option list

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SEAT have long since been the experiment when it comes to the group of cars that they live in, they are owned by Volkswagen as is half the world’s car companies. Being owned by such a big a profitable company comes with a lot of benefits and the big one is access to the latest technology.

The SEAT Leon ST FR is a diesel with lots of poke but the one I’m driving comes with a lot more accessories to marvel at because it goes nearer that self-driving car era.

A couple of years ago I was very excited to drive the top spec Audi A7 because I could sit back and let the car take the strain in the form of active cruise control and now it’s available on a standard five door hatchback or estate.

It uses a radar mounted on the front bumper to keep track of cars that are ahead of you, all you have to do is set the maximum speed you want to travel at and the car will adapt to the speed of the traffic around you. When it detects a car ahead that’s travelling slower than you it begins to match the speed even if the driver hits the brakes your car will detect and warn you about the situation.

So why does this matter?

It stops you speeding for a start, when you use it long enough you just don’t notice what the car is doing. Sure, when you’re in a hurry then you’ll want to turn it off but why do that when you can just lounge in the driver’s seat and let the car get on with watching the traffic. It also helps when, like me, you find yourself behind a driver with no brake lights.

The Leon ST is a very practical car; the estate gives options for storage and expandability that a standard hatchback can’t match. There’s one touch handles in the boot for dropping the back seat and an opening for long objects that allows four seats to remain in place.

When you add the active cruise control it brings the car to a whole new level of relaxed driving, long distance doesn’t bother you and the half leather seats make it cosy. If this is a sign of where self-driving cars are going I’ll be very happy, just leave the steering wheel and pedals where they are.

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