No question that today we can boast “better living through technology” but keeping up to speed on the most recent advancements can be exhausting, particularly in the automotive field. This article provides a barefoot dash through 9 of the most useful technologies that are available on automobiles today. In general, the more expensive the automobile, the more of these technologies you will find, however many are available on lesser-priced vehicles as options or accessories.
1. USB Ports
USB ports are a great way to charge accessories and listen to music through audio devices without a wireless function, such as older iPods or USB flash drives. USB audio also offers advantages over Bluetooth. Bluetooth compresses audio signals a great deal which degrades sound quality. USB is better. It transfers music from your device to your car’s audio system at a lossless rate resulting in better sound.
2. Keyless Access and Start
Keyless access utilizes a wireless signal to wirelessly communicate with your key fob when it comes close to your vehicle. This allows you to lock and unlock your car without ever removing the key fob from your pocket or bag. These encrypted radio signals disengage the vehicle’s theft immobilizer as well, allowing you to start the vehicle with the push of a button.
3. Expanded Bluetooth
While the term “Bluetooth” has become synonymous with hands-free calling, this short-range wireless technology has a more to offer than just telephony. Virtually all vehicles fitted with Bluetooth have the capability to interface with a music streaming service. This type of connection lets you stream any form of audio from a Bluetooth-enabled device through the vehicle’s sound system.
4. Speech Voice Recognition
Many of today’s navigation systems incorporate advanced voice recognition processors that take the guesswork out of verbal requests. Whereas earlier systems would respond only to preset commands, conversational voice recognition can acknowledge a number of unique requests.
5. App Integration
Some automakers took note of this rising demand for connectivity on the go and responded by offering in-vehicle access to a number of popular mobile apps. In terms of available product, common apps across most carlines include Pandora, Bing Local Search, Stitcher Radio, The Weather Channel, Movietickets.com, OpenTable, Aha Radio, and Glympse location sharing.
6. Remote Management
Ever wish you could monitor and control essential vehicle functions through your smartphone? With Remote Vehicle Control, now you can. After downloading the appropriate application from the App Store or Google Play, you have the power to lock, unlock, and start your vehicle from virtually anywhere.
7. Blind Spot Monitoring
Blind spot-related accidents are very common. Many of today’s new cars now offer a sensor-based system designed to alert you to vehicles in your blind spot with either a lighted icon located in the side mirror, an aural warning, or both.
8. Pre-Collision Systems
Today’s pre-collision systems are considered by many to represent the most significant development in automotive safety technology since the airbag. Through the use of millimeter wave radar or more cost effective stereoscopic cameras, pre-collision systems constantly observe the vehicle’s surroundings for hazards. When an obstruction is identified, the system will alert the driver via an audible or visual warning. More advanced versions can actually apply the brakes for you if the system determines a collision is unavoidable.
9. Lane Keeping Assist
Lane keeping assist is a technology that recognizes painted lines on the road to alert drivers to unintentional lane changes by means of visual, aural, or tactile warnings. Systems found in recently updated Acura, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi models actually take lane departure mitigation to the next level with actual corrective action.
10. WiFi Connectivity
Turn your car into a powerful hotspot by including WiFi or LTE 4G connectivity. You can access multiple apps, stream videos and surf the internet, all with just one data plan. Several devices can be connected at a time and every passenger can utilize their time out on the road anyway they like.
11. Rear Camera
Rear camerais one of the greatest innovations in car technology. It helps you reverse a car without bumping into things. You can simply see what’s behind you on the rear-view screen and dodge it. This technology is quite useful when you’re moving in and out of narrow areas. You don’t have to worry about hurting someone or your car.
12. Skid Control System
A Skid Control System provides the stability your car needs. The system is a combination of anti-lock brake and position sensors along with accelerometers to give full control of the car to the driver. While taking a turn if the power supplied to the wheels is unequal, the car slips toward another direction, which can cause an accident. With skid control,the system controls the wheels individually to keep the car on the desired track.
13. Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB)is a life-saving feature that should be incorporated in every car. Many auto manufacturing giants are making this a standard feature in their latest cars. Generally, AEB alarms the driver before running into another vehicle with an audio or visual indication. If the driver does not take any action, the system applies the brakes automatically sensing the possibility of a crash. Audi, BMW, Ford, Tesla, Toyota, Mazda, General Motors, Volvo, Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz have incorporated this eminent safety feature in their high-end vehicles.
14. Side Airbags
Almost every latest car comes with a security feature of airbags, but they only provide a few inches of crush space at the sides. In the event of a sudden collision, your head/neck is more prone to fracture, because the seat belt cannot stop your head from vigorously jerking. Side airbags offer a constant support to your head at the time of need.
15. Rear Seat Entertainment System
If you love taking family trips, don’t let your kids get bored during the long hours on the road. Get a rear seat entertainment system for the back seaters to watch movies and listen to music to spend some quality time. Some back seat entertainment systems integrate wireless headphones, so you can have some fun without disturbing others. You can also go for portable options using iPad or Tablet holders for the sake of enjoyment.
Thanks to Team Kia located in Concord, NH for technical assistance with this article.