Have you ever forgotten where you parked your car—or even whether or not you locked it? And how many hot summer days have you wished that you could cool your car’s interior before even leaving the office? You will be excited to learn that your days of wishing are almost over—these are just a few things some of the latest cars can do for you.
Clearly aware of today’s tech-minded public, many manufacturers are now including impressive advances in technology in the “in-dash” area of new cars. It’s just another way that they can set themselves apart from the competition.
For many of us, in-car tech has joined on-road performance, safety, and visual appeal as an important factor in the car buying process. As a resourceful businesswoman on the go, these advances allow you to choose from revolutionary safety features, mobile phone connectivity, the convenience of in-built Wi-Fi to connect to your business wherever you are, infotainment systems, and much more.
If you are interested in making sure your next car purchase includes the most up-to-date tech, here’s everything you need to know about the latest advances in car technology.
We have now moved beyond just using Bluetooth to make phone calls from our cars. Some of the most recent tech allows your phone to receive diagnostic information from your car.
Smartphone connectivity tools are still at an early stage of development, however despite being in their infancy, these tools already offer great user benefits. Take the example of BMW’s Connected Drive suite, which allows you to remotely flash headlights to help locate your car, or pre-condition your vehicle so it is pre-warmed or pre-cooled when you get to it.
There are also in-dash systems with their own dedicated apps so you can connect via mobile data to provide greater convenience while in the car. In other words, cars with this technology can help you get to your destination sooner by finding the best parking spot, nearest ATM or petrol station, and even checking the weather where you are heading.
Enhanced Safety Features
While there are some obvious safety concerns with using all these extra apps and gadgets in the car, there are also new in-car technologies that aim for greater driver awareness and safety.
General Motors’ OnStar service is leading the way with the latest in advanced security by offering such features as stolen vehicle tracking, remote speed limiting, and remote vehicle immobilisation.
The latest in-dash tech for many manufacturers now typically includes automatic emergency calls and real-time traffic alerts as a standard feature.
If you are interested in tech for the safety benefits, more advanced systems give you the appealing features of adaptive cruising, blind spot mirror sensors, collision warnings, and lane position vibration warnings.
For many of us, in-car tech has joined on-road performance, safety, and visual appeal as an important factor in the car buying process
Another feature of safety and convenience is that of voice command. While it’s still in a stage of relatively early development, drivers in some of the latest cars from Honda, Ford, and General Motors can easily ask their cars’ connectivity system to make a business call, send a basic message, and provide directions.
While voice command is quickly improving, it’s not yet infallible. Until the technology becomes more advanced, it is unlikely to become mainstream.
Rather than take your eyes off the road to check speed or the navigation system, these important details can now be projected onto the windscreen in front of you.
BMW and Jaguar are among the manufacturers that offer this technology, known as heads-up display or HUD. By providing the driver with a single point of focus, HUD very simply allows for a safer and less distracted driving experience.
HUD is a great example of an emerging technology that doesn’t necessarily provide a new function, but it does provide a safer way of interacting with existing ones.
Cars with this technology can help you get to your destination sooner by finding the best parking spot, nearest ATM or petrol station, and even checking the weather where you are heading
Inbuilt Wi-Fi is soon to become commonplace in your car. With so many apps and gadgets that require internet connectivity, it is really common sense to connect independently to avoid burning through our phone’s data allowance.
Most of Audi’s new model vehicles are equipped with an advanced in-car Wi-Fi system that allows passengers to freely access the web. This means you can connect your laptop to keep up with work, listen to music streaming services, and keep the kids entertained, all from your car’s convenient on-board Wi-Fi service.
What’s to Come?
While all this new technology is incredibly exciting for drivers, there is no end to the innovations that will change how we drive in the years to come.
The next big goal is self-driving cars. Imagine being able to safely catch up on emails or finalise a presentation while your car takes you to your next meeting? While this may seem an exciting fantasy, a number of prototypes and testing vehicles have already been promoted in the United States, including the much-hyped Google driverless car and the Audi RS7.
While not as drastic as self-driving cars, keep your eye out for in-car technologies of the future, such as:
- Gesture control for certain features, such as windows and sunroof operations
- Smart navigation systems to reduce traffic congestion
- Optimised acceleration and braking with fuel economy in mind
- Automatic settings based on who is driving, such as speed control, mirror and seat adjustments
- More advanced safety features and sensors to read the surroundings and reduce crashes
The next big goal is self-driving cars. Imagine being able to safely catch up on emails or finalise a presentation while your car takes you to your next meeting?
As with much of our business and personal lives, technology is now a huge part of the driving experience. Whether it is infotainment, advanced mapping and directions, smartphone connectivity, safety, or voice command, it can’t be denied that these advancements are incredibly exciting. Your next car purchase can allow you to stay connected wherever you are and change the way you drive.
Featured image courtesy of Rob Chaloner
Rob Chaloner is the Founder and Managing Director of stratton, and is passionate about smarter ways to buy and finance cars. With stratton, he’s working to help Australian buyers disrupt the traditional car buying, financing and insurance markets through smarter products and online services.