There are loads of interior tech features on the Infiniti FX45 that just got delivered to the CNET Car Tech garage. The space-age crossover SUV comes with the same navigation system that we saw in the 2007 Infinti M35 Sport (although without the latter's amazing voice-command interface). It also has Bluetooth hands-free calling and a rear-seat entertainment system complete with wireless headphones and a dedicated remote control.
However, the two most impressive tech features for me have to do with good old freeway driving. As part of its $4,200 Technology Package, the FX45 comes with Intelligent Cruise Control and a Lane Departure Warning (LDW) system. Both of these systems are still emerging technologies in the automotive world, but they are good indicators of a trend toward systems that give cars more autonomy.
LDW is a system designed to notify a driver when the car believes that you are unintentionally changing lanes. It works by mounting two range-finding CMOS cameras, which constantly monitor road markings, on the underside of each of the car's wing mirrors. If the car starts to change lanes by drifting over a lane dividing line, a light turns on in the instrument cluster, and a chime sounds in the cabin to let the driver know. The system only kicks in when the car is traveling at more than 45mph and is overridden if the turn signal is activated as the driver has declared an intention to change lanes.
While the LDW system attempts to prevent us from lateral deviations on the freeway, intelligent cruise control (ICC) ensures that we don't rear-end the cars ahead. Using forward-looking radar sensors, ICC enables drivers to select a preset speed and then drive either at that speed or at a slower speed while maintaining a constant distance from the car ahead. In practice, driving a car with ICC is still an eerie experience as the car speeds up and slows down of its own accord. We'll be driving (or at least steering) the FX45 around for the next week for our full review coming to Car Tech next week.