When we took our vehicle in for a service recently, we were given a brand new Subaru Outback to drive for the day.
This, of course, isn't the standard thing. We know the bloke who runs the servicing section of a dealership, so he looked after us.
Anyhow, as we drove the Subaru that day, we approached a narrow section of road with a slope down the side and a vehicle parked close to the roadside.
We had the feeling that the vehicle began to brake automatically, slowing us down. We asked our mate about this and he said the Subaru has autonomous braking.
Some folks love to read up on all the latest car specifications and developments, so autonomous braking won't be news to them. But we didn't know anything about it.
We did, however, know about the move towards autonomous vehicles, also known as self-driving or robot cars. That we are interested in.
Autonomous vehicles will be run by artificial intelligence. They'll be all over the roads, once the engineers work out the kinks and dilemmas.
Autonomous braking, however, uses radar, lasers and cameras. They measure the distance between your car and other vehicles in front of you, adjusting your speed.
Subaru's autonomous emergency braking is part of its EyeSight Driver Assist technology. It uses cameras to create three-dimensional pictures of the landscape around the vehicle.
The technology has two cameras mounted in the windscreen to help detect, minimise and prevent collisions.
As well as monitoring other cars, the system can recognise pedestrians and cyclists and determine their distance, shape and speed of travel.
These features help the driver to slow down or stop if a vehicle, pedestrian or obstacle is detected in front.
If the system determines the driver has failed to take evasive action, the brakes can be applied automatically. Or if the braking input is insufficient, the system can increase braking force.
"EyeSight monitors traffic movement, optimises cruise control and warns you if you sway outside your lane," Subaru says.
"EyeSight has been found to reduce the rate of rear-end crashes with injuries by up to 85 per cent."
We reckon this technology should be in every car.
New Car Smell
We always liked the new car smell, but not in the Subaru Outback we drove. It was horrendous.
The fumes got in the back of our throat and made us feel a bit crook - not a good thing when you're driving.
Coincidentally, we'd recently read that the new car smell is actually quite toxic.
The fumes contain volatile organic compounds and other toxic chemicals from glues, fabrics, carpets, paints, vinyls and plastics inside new cars.
These chemicals are known to cause headaches, nausea, drowsiness and irritate the respiratory system.
It's the same in new buildings, with the fumes from walls, paint, carpets, furniture and fixtures.
But vehicle cabins are more confined, creating a concentrated form of air pollution.
These emissions have been found to be well above health safety levels.
Ventilation is a way to reduce the effects of these toxic fumes. We had all four windows down on the Subaru and the fumes eased.
But regulators in some countries are cracking down on this problem and some manufacturers are trying to improve it.