It feels like a recent memory that Auto Technology meant having a CD player instead of a tape deck. Previous to that, we had a portable CD player that plugged into the cigarette lighter with a cassette tape popped into the car’s tape deck. One bump and that ever so fun music jam was over. Just twenty years later, 2017 is proving that auto technology is far from ceasing to surprise us in improving our driving experience.
So let’s start with the ever present device of the times, the smartphone. Automakers have found new ways to make the smartphone experience safer while driving by integrating the technology into our vehicles and for good reason. Smartphone use while driving is attributed to 26% of all car accidents. According to ATT, texting alone causes 1.3 million crashes a year, and this doesn’t include gaming, app use, checking in on social media, video chat, and web searches.
The Providence of Newfoundland, Canada began banning cell phone use while driving in 2003. Today, all ten provinces have strict driving with cell phone laws. Touching your phone while driving in Ontario will result in a $490 - $1000 fine.
Here in the United States as recent as September of this year, California extended its cell phone/driving laws to include banning all uses of a cell phone. To our health, and, longevity 2017 autos bring even more hands-free options for that cell phone than ever before.
Addressing this issue, and one up-ing smartphone/vehicle technology, we now have… Onboard Infotainment. Which is, basically, everything you love about your smartphone in that center spot of the car where only your stereo used to reside. A simple, touch screen access to Bluetooth, social media, GPS navigation and more. The Bluetooth technology even allows connecting to your favorite online commercial-free music such as Jango or Pandora.
This technology is too new at this juncture to analyze if it’s less a distraction overall than actually touching a phone while driving, although as of today it is a legally allowable way to continue communicating with the outside world as you drive by it.
A few other new technologies coming to a dealer near you include:
- Predictive Forward Collision Warning system
- Improved Smartphone Infotainment Integration
- Smartphone Vehicle Management
- Self-Parking Systems
Ford, Lincoln, Toyota, Lexus and BMW all have new Self Parking technology. Thus far, my system of landing a parallel parking spot has been to keep driving until a more convenient parking spot appears. The 2017 Ford Super Duty Pickup Truck has at least SEVEN cameras to make anyone look like an expert parker.
Also look to see more vehicles with Predictive Forward Collision Warning systems and smart braking technology. Those capabilities are sure to help avoid accidents, an August 2016 report from AAA, states it is best to still keep you as the driver in control of the brakes.
For more mind-blowing details on what to expect in 2017, check out the following links:
Whereas it may still be a few years before the standard vehicle drives itself like that awesome car from Night Rider, we are every year closer to living like the Jetsons than we ever thought possible.
By Guest Blogger: Audrey Elder - See more of Audrey's blogs at Past to Present Research