Not long ago, what mattered to new car buyers were details like fresh styling, new creature comforts and, of course, performance. Today, these attributes are still important, but you can add “technology” to the list. Buyers today are treated to a wide spectrum of built-in technology that ranges from safety-related systems to entertainment functions. Here’s a few that have appeared on 2018’s automobiles.
Connected Mobile Apps
It’s no exaggeration to say that the smartphone has revolutionize our lives, including how we interact with our cars. Today, most carmakers offer some sort of connected smartphone app. Look for one that lets you remotely lock and unlock the doors and check the status of things like fuel level and tire pressure. Some of the manufacturers are now offering remote start systems that can pre-warm or pre-cool a car before you climb in.
Teen Driver Technology
Are you handing over the keys to your teenager soon? If so, some clever new tech might ease your mind a little bit. Several car manufacturers have some kind of teen driver software built in that can notify you if the car is driven over a certain speed, outside a certain geographical radius, or even if the the stereo’s volume is on full blast. According to King Chevrolet of Longmont, CO, Chevy’s Teen Driver system offers a Report Card that will tell parents average speeds or if the forward collision alert system has been triggered while Junior was behind the wheel.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Advanced driver assist systems like adaptive cruise control can take a lot of the stress out of driving. By using distance-measuring sensors built into the car, adaptive cruise control can equalize the speed of vehicles in front of you, meaning you don’t need to be constantly hitting the gas and brake in highway traffic. Some systems even allow the car to be brought to a complete halt and then resume automatically, thereby making stop-and-go traffic far less frustrating.
As you likely know, the standard incandescent headlight bulbs in cars burn out periodically; LED headlight bulbs don’t. They are said to last the life of the vehicle so this could be considered not only a convenience but a safety feature too. Several 2018 vehicles also have “swiveling” bulbs that turn with the road to illuminate around corners.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
Many manufacturer infotainment systems aren’t very user-friendly. That’s why several auto manufacturers use Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto applications. They are easy to use. Just plug in your smart phone and it takes over that big screen, replacing it with something that looks a lot more familiar and easy-use. Basically, every major manufacturer has promised support for at least one or both Apple and Google’s systems.
A car full of people is a car full of devices, and, naturally, everyone needs to keep their smart phone battery charged. Fortunately, much every new car comes with one, two, or more USB ports. Some vehicles are even coming with the same 110-volt power outlets that you find in your home.
Rear Cross-Traffic Alert
Parking lots are extremely common places for low-speed car crashes. Backing out of a parking spot, even with a rear-view backup camera, can be a perilous exercise. Thanks to sensors built into the rear of the car, the system can alert you to approaching vehicles or pedestrians who might wander behind your car without you noticing. Loud beeps are standard but some cars can even automatically brake before a collision occurs.
Lane Departure Warning
Lane departure warning systems use cameras to determine if a car has drifted across a lane, giving an audible notification (or even a vibration through the seat or steering wheel) that you’ve moved too far out of your lane. More advanced tech, sometimes called Lane Keeping Assist, can even help nudge you back into the proper lane, which can be a literal life-saver if you were heading into opposing traffic.
Automatic Emergency Braking
Automatic Emergency Braking or AEB uses a variety of sensors to determine if a forward collision crash is imminent and automatically applies the brakes. The auto industry agreed to make AEB standard in cars by 2022, but many vehicles have it available today. While USB ports and smartphone apps are important, this one could save your life.
By combining cameras on every side of the car with some advanced computing power, your car’s display can show a virtual top-down 360 view of your surroundings. It can show the sides of your garage, or provide assistance while parallel parking.