In my business as editor of AUTO Connected Car News and writing for automotive publications, I get to see all the latest technology coming to cars in the future. The more I learn about safety features (ADAS), the more I want them. Then of course there are new features that most of us never dreamed of before, that could happen in the future-future which I think I would like also. Here are the top 10 features that I think I and most car buyers would love.
Backup Camera – I often park in areas where there are a lot of kids. I live on a street with many kids and stray dogs. Backup cameras are critical to reducing the more than 200 deaths and 15,000 injuries caused by backover crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Also short people have less of view of back in the mirror than tall people. When backup cameras have dynamic guides, they make it easier to parallel spaces. In fact, I used a backup camera at CES to backup into a space where I had eight-inches in the front and back of the car!
Safety Seat – It’s getting harder to alert a driver to danger because so many senses are being bombarded at once in cars. However, the engineers at GM invented a patented solution that cuts through the audio and visual sensory overloads with gentle seat vibrations called the Safety Seat Alert with directional tactile sensations. The seat vibrates to warn the driver when they are leaving the lane or if there is a rear cross traffic by where the vibration if felt. It’s like getting a tap on the back as a warning. The nice thing about cars with the safety seat, they usually have built-in massager, too.
Automatic Emergency Braking – Research in Japan and United States shows that automatic emergency braking can save lives. Vehicles with front crash prevention are much less likely to rear-end other vehicles. Systems with automatic braking reduce rear-end crashes by about 40 percent on average, while forward collision warning alone cuts them by 23 percent, reported IIHS.
Bluetooth Phone Integration – Although Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are becoming more popular both systems require a cable connection. I have already heard complaints from car owners who don’t like having to unlock, pair and connect a cable to Android Phones. If I’m just running to the store or gym, I like that Bluetooth automatically connects to my phone. In fact, every time Apple updates iOS many iPhone owners have Bluetooth issues which they loathe.
Video Mirror & 360 View Currently only a few GM vehicles have video mirrors instead of review mirrors, this function cuts out the clutter of the backseat headrests, the dog looking out of the window and the clutter in the trunk of hatchback.When I was given a demo of the Sensus Connect System by Volvo when we parked at valet area of the hotel at the LA Auto Show Connected Car Expo, the 360 camera showed all the people walking around. When there’s a crowd drivers need a 360 view.
Video Side View Cameras with AMOLED Screens (not available yet) – At CES, I was given a demo of side view cameras, instead of side view mirrors, tiny cameras are mounted on the sides of the car, reducing drag. In recent years, the side view mirrors have been moved closer to the driver making it harder for short people like myself to adjust mirrors. In a rental car, when I moved the seat closer to reach to foot pedals, I couldn’t get a good view in the mirrors. The Mercedes-Benz outfitted with side view cameras by Continental, projected the images of the mirrors on the dash which was much easier for me to see. The Mercedes-Benz seat adjusted nicely for my 5’2″ height.
Mercedes-Benz Interior/Suspension – I had no problems with my Nissan Leaf until I went for a ride in the Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric at the Alt Car Expo. The interior was a warm soft tan leather so homey, so comfy and the ride like butter. The only problem is that MB class comes at price too high for me right now.Therefore my dream car would have a luxury feel at an economy price. Another Merecedes-Benz I saw at the LA Auto Show had a dreamy chocolate interior, it cost more than my house which made it completely unaffordable.
Wireless DSRC Charging on Freeways & Drive-Thrus – Since gas-powered gar generate almost 20 pounds of CO2 per gallon of gas, my car of the present and future must be electric. In the six months I’ve owned an electric car, I’ve forgotten to plugin the charger a few times. There are not enough charging facilities for me to travel far. However, researchers are working on wireless charging would be in highly populated urban areas. A commuter could, through a payment box or in-car infotainment system, pay for charging while commuting to work in a charging HOV lane. A parking garage could offer charging while the commuter is at work. A retailer, say McDonald’s, could give free inductive charging while in the drive-through lane for purchases of $10 or more.
Advanced Biotech Monitoring & Sober Steering – I’m very healthy right now. I see,hear and feel well. However if God forbid I should have my blood pressure drop dangerously low, I should become too aggressive or hungry technology can detect my problems. I don’t drink and drive, however, just in case a member of my household should try to drive drunk, I would like Sober Steering to detect blood alcohol and stop anyone drunk from driving my car.
Delphi Self-Driving DSRC Vehicle-to-Everything in a City with Infrastructure – I was skeptical about connected autonomous vehicles until I interviewed Delphi engineer Kathy Winter who supported the first cross-country autonomous car. The Delphi cars have many sensors and scanners than other self-driving vehicles and use existing ADAS technology. Delphi added vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-smartphone and vehicle-to-infrastructure in Las Vegas along with a Human-Machine-Interface that rivals Star Trek, the driving experience becomes special. Riding in the Delphi autonomous car (winner of the Tech CARS Award for best autonomous car) for me is more like playing an iPad driving game or being in a Star Trek episode.
That is my top ten favorite car tech features right now. However, in the coming months and years, I’m sure I’ll see even more new high-tech features, I want in my super car of the present and future to have. That’s why I enjoy writing and editing articles about connected car technology for AUTO Connected Car News, Cars.com and Motor Matters.