Features that once seemed extravagant, such as stand-alone capabilities or using a mobile phone to interact with your vehicle, are now beginning to become an essential part of the automotive experience,” said Tara Trompeter, editorial director of Autotrader. “Regardless of manufacturer, model or price point, we expect many of these advanced features to spread rapidly throughout the automotive industry in the near future.
This year’s advances in safety and convenience should be welcome news for car buyers. However, with so many new and attractive features, consumers should study them well in order to fully appreciate what these features bring, and when it makes sense to decide to buy.
Autotrader’s Essential Automotive Technology by 2018
Auto control activated by application
A growing number of vehicles now come with an application that allows you to honk, turn on the lights and even start the car remotely, without being near the vehicle. This functionality promises great comfort and some freedom: imagine lending your car to a friend without having to worry about leaving your keys, or leaving your keys at home when you take a long vacation and start your car in the airport garage with your phone.
For brands that offer these applications, including Ford and Chevrolet, this functionality is often included free of charge or possibly with a small subscription fee.
Advances in autonomous operation
After several years in the spotlight, stand-alone technology is having a real impact on the industry. Tesla has attracted a lot of attention in this area, but other car manufacturers like Cadillac, Nissan and Volvo have similar systems. More systems are coming online soon.
Even if you like to drive, it’s easy to see that stand-alone technology has the potential to transform the less pleasant aspects of the automotive experience, such as driving in a city with heavy traffic or on a busy road when everyone is on vacation.
Collision Avoidance Driving System
Evidence that the adoption of driver assistance technologies is increasing can be seen in the wide variety of active driving systems coming onto the market, particularly those that can be maneuvered to avoid an accident. Volvo and Lexus have recently introduced active driving systems that not only keep the vehicle in its lane but also maneuver to avoid possible collisions.
Automatic braking systems are already impressive technological feats, but collision avoidance driving systems go further by actually taking control of the steering wheel to reduce the risk of an accident.
In the past, Autotrader’s editorial team announced the safety benefits of rear view and 360-degree cameras that allow the driver to see outside the car. But now, the cameras are used for more functions than we expect. The latest Honda Odyssey, for example, has a feature called “CabinWatch” that uses a camera to see passengers.
This feature will be very useful in reducing distractions when driving, for example, by not having to look back to control unruly children, or by eliminating blind spots, as in several Cadillac models.
For years, car manufacturers have been replacing conventional instrument panel indicators such as the speedometer and the tachometer with displays, but it is only since last year that this feature has begun to reach its true potential. We are especially impressed with the Audi’s Virtual Booth, which is basically like a second infotainment screen, only this time it appears just below your line of sight, which means you barely have to take your eyes off the road.
These displays with grouped indicators will be more useful and more configurable, offering more than typical readings such as speed, mileage, and fuel level.
Better Bluetooth capabilities
Connecting to Bluetooth in the car has become easier and easier over the years, and car manufacturers are reaching new levels in 2018. For example, the newest Honda Accord comes with a feature that lets you touch your phone (Android) to a dot on the instrument panel and connect instantly. With this new feature, it’s easier than ever to put your phone aside and concentrate on driving.
A growing number of vehicles are adding wireless charging bases to their central consoles and interiors. This means that you only need to