Technology is everywhere, from our phones, our fridges, and even our feet, but only the best technology makes it into our vehicles. For decades, we have expected our cars to be safe and functional, but only recently have we also looked forward to features that make driving fun.
Of course, it is more sensible to make a vehicle purchase based on boring aspects like reliability and value, but the following car tech trends will have almost everyone reaching for their wallets.
LED headlights are becoming standard in most new cars, but even as this technology starts to find its feet in the industry, engineers and designers are lighting up with brighter ideas. Luxury car makers have started producing cars with laser-assisted headlight technology that diminishes the difference between night and day. Laser headlights are smaller than traditional halogen and even LED lights, which revolutionizes car design, but the headlights are even brighter than their predecessors — which is exactly why you won’t see them on American roads any time soon.
Standards for headlight brightness were created in 1968, and though the law has frequently changed to keep up with new technology, for now, laser lights are simply too bright for American eyes. Audi and BMW currently corner the marked on laser headlights, but when the laws change, you can expect to see plenty of other car makers jumping on the technology.
Now that cars are becoming capable of taking care of themselves, car manufacturers are beginning to trust drivers and passengers with more opportunity for entertainment. Nowhere is this more evident than in the increasing number of “infotainment” screens built into car dashboards. These touchscreens allow drivers and passengers to control the climate, audio settings, phone calls and messages, navigation, and more. Soon, buttons and knobs will be things of the past as touchscreens continue to grow in popularity.
Critics agree that currently Chrysler’s touchscreens stand above the rest, offering a perfect combination of elegance and functionality. You can tool around with their systems at Rairdon Kirkland and see what you’re going want to in your next car.
Adaptive Cruise Control
Every year, we come one step closer to a car that drives itself. Adaptive cruise control is 2015’s step. In standard cruise control, the system deactivates when drivers press the brake pedal; this means that in the past, cruise control was only useful on roads free from traffic. Conversely, adaptive cruise control allows drivers to sit back and enjoy the ride, no matter how many cars are around.
Adaptive cruise control functions through radar. The system achieves a preset distance between your car and cars in front of you, applying the brake and gas when appropriate to maintain that distance. While drivers must keep alert, ready to intervene in the event of surprises, adaptive cruise control certainly does seem like a step toward vehicular autonomy.
Though “parking assistance” technology has been around for a few years — providing rear cameras and the like to improve the likelihood of a successful parking job — 2015 marks the beginning of hands-free parking. Using cameras and sensors, cars can now seamlessly pull into parallel and perpendicular parking spots.
However, drives of these vehicles should be warned: Your cars still require assistance when it comes to using the pedals, so while you can show off saying “Look, no hands!” your feet should still be hard at work.
Most vehicles with autonomous parking can also navigate out of their parking spots as well. This technology is particularly useful with cumbersome SUVs that can easily become sandwiched while drivers and passengers are away.
No matter how many tiny pine trees dangle from the rear-view mirror, it seems that foul odors are more likely to stick in cars. However, one car manufacturer has caught onto the need for refreshing scents and is including built-in atomizers to make their cars smell wonderful all the time. Tantalizing scents like “Nightlife” and “Sports” are designed to set the mood for particular outings, but more than anything, they relax and revive drivers weary of the same old “new car smell.”
Currently, only Mercedes has made this technology standard in its S-Class models, but given the stench that some cars can develop over time, demand from drivers is sure to see this technology soar.