Autotrader published an article detailing new technology in the automotive sector for 2021. Will cars get more tech savvy this year? Here’s what Autotrader noted will be on the horizon in the wired tech of automobiles for 2021!
Writer Eric Brandt broke down all the details by new makes/models. While the highlighted vehicles are luxury and high-end offerings, in this article, we will offer insight to all the unique features of these new vehicles and include details on how high-tech functions play into all price-ranges, too.
Tech is Driving Luxury
The new 2021 Escalade features a “curved OLED with 38 inches of total diagonal display.” There are actually three screens in the driver’s view—the control panel, a “cluster display” and the “infotainment screen.” The display offers navigation options (per the control panel) like night vision, an augmented reality camera (think rear and front cameras), and a map. The night vision feature detects heat during night driving so drivers will always be aware of pedestrians or larger animals. The new Escalade also offers 36 speakers that offer a full 360 degrees of surround sound through the AKG Studio Reference speakers (the feature is standard on specific models).
Featuring the Mercedes Benz User Experience (or MBUX) augmented reality navigation with voice control, this model (and many others in Mercedes line-up) let drivers give voice control. Mercedes’ Attention Assist feature (which is standard) also can detect when drivers are getting sleepy and can provide auditory alerts. Other standard features include PARKTRONIC, a parking assistance feature that parks for you (no more navigating tight parallel parking spaces). In addition, the Surround View System uses cameras to show the entire view of the car (which also helps in parking or navigation).
PRE-SAFE Sound features emit a noise that protects the driver’s and passenger’s hearing in the event of an accident, while PRE-SAFE adjusts seat belt restraints and closes all windows (including the sunroof) when an accident is detected. This helps keep everyone safer upon impact. One of the upgraded options includes Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, which sets speed according to surrounding traffic.
Rolls Royce Ghost
The 2021 Ghost features a ceiling of lit stars, giving it an ethereal ambiance. However, the Ghost features amazing tech functions like “effortless parking,” and doors that close seemingly autonomously, or, in the words of Rolls Royce “…the sense of being assisted by an obliging, built-in chauffeur.” Of course, touch-screens are a given.
Can’t afford a Rolls, Mercedes or a Cadillac? Don’t assume that tech-savvy features are only available to the affluent buyer. Today’s latest models often offer augmented reality standard features and optional high-tech features, too.
Standard features that incorporate augmented reality include backup cameras. These cameras showcase the rearview of your car on a dashboard screen. Drivers see the real-world view, but graphic overlay features showcase the turning radius in the form of grid lines.
Many vehicles also may include upgrades like cameras in the front or sides of the vehicle, too. This allows drivers to see all vantage points of the car while pulling-in or backing up in a parking space, tight corner or any crowded area. Augmented reality features like these camera functions may help reduce pesky fender benders or other accidents. Plus, they make parallel parking less of a stressful situation!
Other Tech Features?
Most new vehicles also are compatible with smartphones. This allows drivers to stream music or maybe even send and receive calls and messages through the car’s entertainment system…hands-free! Map or GPS apps on smartphones also might be utilized within the car to aid drivers during a new route or during a long road trip.
Many of these features may be used by drivers without even realizing how they have evolved to incorporate our high-tech lifestyle. In the past, cars were equipped with basic stereos, perhaps a CD player and a standard dashboard with basic instrumentation.
Today’s cars include digital instruments that can be manipulated through a multi-screen menu. Drivers can change their instrument screen views to include information about oil life, gas mileage data and other information about their vehicles.
Older vehicles didn’t include any map that wasn’t foldable paper—and these were never standard features! Drivers had to grab a road map and find their way using old-school methodologies of guiding their route via roadways located on actual paper. Hopefully, they had a passenger who could act as a guide, hold the map and prompt them about when to take the next turn.
Today’s cars offer GPS maps visible on the dashboard screen that shows the exact route. Of course, auditory prompts are also provided, so drivers never have to take their eyes off the road.
While luxury cars may offer amazing high-tech features beyond more basic models, the future may include amazing technology functions for all drivers. Self-driving cars may be a reality, and, perhaps in the not-so-distant future, drivers will not drive at all.
Technology or artificial intelligence may take over the driver’s seat. Driving and maybe even holding a driver’s license could be a tradition of the past.
However, electric cars also could become the standard. Many manufacturers offer electric models, and this could become the trend that dominates the industry. Instead of gassing up, drivers may just plug in.
How is Tech Driving…Today?
If you drive an older car, is tech still driving? Possibly! While older cars typically didn’t include all the fun high-tech bells and whistles found in today’s new models, there could still be a way that drivers are plugged in. Smartphone adapters could be used to plug into older vehicles. This allows drivers to take high-tech on the road even in an older auto.
This could allow for GPS functions to be utilized while driving. Or perhaps drivers stream their playlist. No matter how drivers utilize tech on the road, though, hands-free is the best option. While technology is a fantastic addition on the road for convenience, navigation and musical entertainment, tech also could be a distraction.
Some smartphones allow drivers to actually divert phone calls on the drive. This ensures that they don’t pick up the phone while trying to navigate the roads. If your older car allows you to plug in that smartphone, make a driving rule not to pick up the phone during the drive. Let the music play or set the GPS before pulling out of a parking space. Then leave the phone on the passenger seat or in the middle console.
Most newer cars allow for the phone to stream commands and music through the entertainment system, and this compatibility may help minimize the need for drivers to actually pick up their phone. Older cars, though, likely don’t have the same capabilities. Drivers should be diligent in minimizing the distraction of the phone. Many states have laws regarding distracted driving, and drivers always need to be aware of what these laws entail. Parents of teen drivers may insist on a driving contract that stipulates that cell phones cannot be used in the vehicle.
While distracted driving includes any action that takes eyes or attention from the road (or the task of driving), the rise of technology—especially the prevalence of the smartphone—may have exacerbated the distractions within the vehicle. Drivers need to be diligent in ensuring that distractions don’t compromise their safety or the safety of anyone else on the road.
Technology will continue to evolve throughout our vehicles and in daily life. While more and more high-tech features are being incorporated into the drive, consumers may see the rise of self-driving automobiles. These autonomous vehicles could revolutionize travel, allowing the driver to become a passenger. While technology could be a distraction, if cars do become self-driving, perhaps these distractions disappear, too. When AI takes the wheel, distracted driving could—hopefully—be an obsolete worry…rooted only in the archaic times of the early 21st century!