Best new automotive technologies for 2018

GM, Lexus and Toyota share AJAC’s Best New Innovation awards

Published: February 21, 2018, 3:55 PM
Updated: April 30, 2018, 6:18 PM

AJAC Technology Awards - 2018

The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) revealed the winners of its annual awards for the best new automotive technologies today at the Canadian International Auto Show.

Awards were presented for Best Safety Innovation, Best Green Innovation and Best Overall Innovation.     

To get to the winners, the organization starts with a long list of new technologies submitted by both its own journalists and by the automakers. That list is assessed and whittled down by a jury of journalist members, each with technical credentials of their own.

Then, each automaker makes a presentation on the merits of their entries to the jury panel and the jurors cast their own secret ballots, ranking the finalists in order of preference. The winners for 2018 are:

Green Innovation

Toyota Prius Prime - AJAC Technology Awards - 2018

Winner of the Best Green Innovation award is Toyota’s Gas Injection Heat Pump System, found in the Toyota Prius Prime.

Simply stated, this system reverses the operation of the car’s air-conditioning system, turning it into a heat pump to heat the interior in the winter.

A conventional heat pump is ineffective below zero degree Celsius but a specially-designed Cyclone Separator valve in the Gas Injection Heat Pump System enabling this system to continue to supply cabin heat down to -10 degrees Celsius, with less reliance on its gasoline engine as a heat source.

Toyota says this system uses 63% less energy than a traditional heating system, and helps extend the Prius Prime’s electric vehicle range by up to 21% in cold temperatures.

Safety Innovation

AJAC Technology Awards - 2018 - Lexus Safety System A - Best New Safety Innovation - 2018

The Lexus Safety System A is AJAC’s Best Safety Innovation for 2018.

 Newly introduced on the 2018 Lexus LS, the Lexus Safety System Advanced package (LSS A) incorporates a newly-designed millimeter wave radar sensor, a stereo camera system, and new yaw rate and steering sensors and adds several new safety features to the existing Lexus Safety System .

Those new features include a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lexus CoDrive Lane Tracing Assist (to help keep the vehicle in its driving lane) and Front Cross Traffic Alert (a world’s first).

Technical Innovation

AJAC Technology Awards - 2018 - Cadillac Super Cruise - Best New Technical Innovation - 2018

General Motors’ Super Cruise Technology, optional on the 2018 Cadillac CT6, was voted the Best Overall Innovation for 2018. Arguably, it is the first truly hands-free driving assist system available in Canada.

That function can only be activated on “limited access highways” that GM has meticulously mapped, but they already cover all the major highways of the type in Canada. It’s the closest thing you can buy yet to full autonomy.