The Best In-Car Technology - Infographic
Sat Navs are vital for any driver in 2019, with simple tech that provides estimated arrival time, route preference, toll and traffic avoiding updates and for those in electric vehicles, where your next stop and top up will be on your journey.
Connectivity - Gone are the days of standard radio…. We want DAB as a minimum and the younger generation will insist on being able to connect phones, ipods and other devices through Bluetooth. In 2019 Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are making their way into many manufacturers infotainments systems. Some of the major benefits drivers experience through connectivity include, real-time traffic updates, internet connections, make and receive calls, text messages, emails and notifications.
Voice Activation – voice activation has evolved from simple commands such as ‘phone office’ to speech recognition which seems to remove the distraction of having to look at any screen while driving. Convenience is king, and getting to your destination without having to stop is job number 1. With legislation better matching safety the tech has had to be smart…asking for directions, to send an email or text or even to play a particular song to make the journey more comfortable are all now achievable. One day we will be commanding our vehicles through our smartphones to complete actions before we arrive at the door!
Connected Mobile Apps
The smartphone has changed the world, we don’t go anywhere without them and wherever we do go we want them to be involved in our experience. Many car manufacturers have developed their own apps such as the Mercedes me app and the BMW ConnectedDrive app. You can lock/unlock, start your car, set climate controls and even summon your car to you!
Touchscreens – As the mobile phone revolution has revealed, touchscreen technology is a must, the majority of manufacturers have adopted this now the tech is evolving to ensure that those screens are ergonomically positioned and can even avoid the awful finger marks after constant use. All models in the Tesla range come with a screen cleaning kit which is understandable when the infotainment systems is such a key part of the drivers experience! Tesla have taken the touchscreen to new levels, boasting 15, 16 and 17 inch touchscreens they have built in apps and features purely for fun such as the Tesla Arcade.
Biometric Vehicle Access
Think Keyless go….The switch we have seen in recent years to keyless entry and start will be followed by a switch to key-fob-less entry and start. How?....Fingerprint, face recognition, retina scanners are all said to be being considered as alternatives to the good old key!
Solar Powered Sunroof
Hyundai’s Sonata Hybrid is the first solar roof charging system which they claim can charge 30-60% of the full battery by exposure to six hours of sun. While we understand this isn’t really an in-car technology it opens your mind to the future possibilities!
Teen Driver Technology
If you have a teenager jumping behind the wheel you’d want to know how they are driving when you are not in the car with them wouldn’t you? While there are a number of insurance boxes that can report on erratic/dangerous driving you can install which also reduce premiums, Chevrolet's Teen Driver feature also offers a Report Card that will tell parents if safety systems like ABS or forward collision alert have been activated while the teen driver was behind the wheel.
While some luxury cars such as the Maybach, Rolls Royce and Bentley ranges offer some unbelievable levels of interior comfort, they are not often thought of as cars to drive but rather cars be driven in. There are a number of features however that you can find in more of your every day type cars. Massaging Seats – The Range Rover Vogue and BMX 7 series both offer massage feature for driver and passenger. Heated and Ventilated Seats - The Ford Edge not only offers heated seats but also offers air cooled seats for those hot summer days. Head-Up Displays – This tech originally taken from fighter jets, helps drivers keep their eyes on the road at all times by displaying selected information onto the windscreen without affecting the view of the road. Jaguar Land Rover is developing a 3dimensional head-up display which is tipped to be further adapted for autonomous technology so that both passengers could watch 3D films individually.
Safety and Security
Driver Assist Features – are the latest examples of tech provided to be real lifesavers. By using cameras and sensors to look out for hazards, blind spots and any other danger its almost like having another driver on your journey. Through audible or visual alerts the driver can remain within a safe driving environment at all times. The Volvo XC range even offers physical alerts in the form of vibrating a steering wheel and brake control to avoid collisions. Blindspot monitoring is an issue for every road user but heightened in big, long cars. This technology monitors other vehicles or objects in the spots you can’t see.
Cruise Control and Autonomous Drive
Although you may assume cruise control is old hat and fairly standard in most new cars, 'adaptive' cruise control is in fact fairly new to the game. The BMW X7 and Volvo XC range both have pilot assist tech or adaptive cruise control which helps the driver maintain an even speed combined with a pre-selected time interval to the vehicle ahead using a camera and radar unit to measure distances. Self Driving Cars - they are already here. The average car today is predicted to sit idle for 80% of its life, a self-driving car future will see less cars on the road, but these cars will be shared and on the road for 80% of their lives only coming off for maintenance and servicing. Co-ownership will rise, and people with disabilities will have more opportunities to be mobile. In 2015 Google started testing self-drive cars with remote sensing technology. A laser was mounted to the roof to generate a 3D map of the surrounding area so the vehicle could navigate automatically. The growing prominence of cruise control systems and self-parking systems indicate that fully autonomous systems are the natural next phase in the auto-tech revolution.
Imagine you’ve reached your destination and are looking for parking, you see a space but don’t have the confidence to pull of the manoeuvre? Mercedes, Ford, Toyota, Tesla and BMW all have this in their range. Usually you control the pedals and the car does the steering although some will do it all! If you can’t get the self-park tech then the next best thing is parking cameras. The better systems will have more than one camera and the best will offer a birds eye 360 view as seen on the Mercedes S class.
The Mercedes-Benz A Class has a wide range of new technology on offer, including voice control, speech recognition, and an infotainment system that learns from you, thanks to it's artifical intelligence.
The Volvo XC90 is a step up in luxury and tech, with a 9 inch infotainment system, pilot assist mode, adaptive cruise control, 360 degree camera and park assist and more.
Currently the king of tech, the Tesla Model X has some incredible functions on offer, and with over-the-air updates, your Tesla can get better with time. It has full self-driving hardware, real time traffic-based navigation, collision avoidance, auto emergency braking, and of course the falcon wing doors. You can see our more in depth review here.
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