It’s getting to be that time of year where all of the car commercials for the next year’s models start to flood the airways in hopes of ending up in someone’s driveway with a bow on top.
Vehicles have come a long way from crank up windows and cassette players. The technology available in cars today is already light years ahead of where it began. In roughly 100 years of production, cars have gone from the Model T to today where some cars drive themselves.
New cars are unveiled every year, each with some feature better than the last year’s version. They can be as small as adding cup holders to as large as improving gas mileage but it’s usually the advances in technology that grab everyone’s attention. Here are five new tech features in 2018 model cars that you can look forward to.
While most of the exciting tech updates come from within the cabin of the car, this first one is under the hood. The Ford Mustang, beginning in 2018, will include a feature to muffle the engine sound to a whisper. Although Mustang owners around the world marvel at the sound of their purring engine, my gut tells me that the Neighbors of Mustang Owners Association is rejoicing. This feature allows drivers to engage this feature ad-hoc or it can be scheduled for certain hours to avoid disturbances.
There is a flip side, though. What Ford’s engineers figured out wasn’t just how to quiet the engine from 82 decibels (a food blender) to 72 decibels (a dishwasher) upon startup. They figured out how to adjust the sound of the engine. So while quiet mode is one advantage of that, it also allows the ability to make the engine even louder with an extra 5.0 liter V8 engine boom. So if your neighbor gets the new 2018 Mustang and is still rattling your windows late at night, he or she is purposefully being an asshole.
Image via Motor Trend
LIVE STREAM TV
With the onset of services like SlingTV, Roku and Playstation Vue, it’s becoming easier and easier to watch live television anywhere. Add inside the car to that list. Starting in 2018, the new Lincoln Navigator’s dual screen entertainment system can stream from Android devices or stream directly through the car via SlingBox. The experience will be the same for the driver as listening to the radio, unfortunately, but for all backseat guests, this feature adds a lot to the traveling experience.
Image via Cars for Sale
SELF DRIVING CARS
Automated driving systems in cars should no longer be a surprise. Companies like Uber and Google have been testing self-driving cars for years and many commercial cars now have features like hands-free parallel parking or automatic lane correction.
In 2018, however, that technology moves to the next stage. Cadillac’s Super Cruise system in 2018 models will include a feature allowing drivers to go completely hands and foot-free. While only available on multilane highways, the system uses sensors to both maintain a safe distance from cars and stay in the current lane.
The system also includes a camera in the steering wheel that can tell when the driver isn’t watching the road and sounds alerts, and eventually stop and call first responders if the driver’s attention isn’t on the road for too long. So don’t get this car to catch up on reading, or do makeup in the car, you’ll end up parked on a shoulder somewhere.
Image via GM Authority
FIVE ZONE CLIMATE CONTROL
A rite of passage with every road trip is arguing over the temperature of the car; someone’s always cold, someone’s always hot. Many cars now have climate control panels throughout allowing different parts of the car to be heated or cooled to different temperatures or with different air flow speeds.
Beginning with the 2018 model, the BMW X7 will contain five different climate zones allowing the driver, shotgun, both captain seats and, presumably, the rear row to each have their own climate settings.
Image via Car Wow
Parking in a foreign city, or even your own city, can be a hassle. Several creative minds have attempted to address this issue by creating apps but only one integrates with a car and that’s ParkMobile. This product is changing the way people park providing maps of availabilities and payment transactions all from within the app. Now, after partnering with BMW, ParkMobile CEO John Ziglar is one step closer to achieving his goal, “My goal is that in three years’ time, not a single driver gets into their car without knowing where their car will come to rest at the end of their journey.”
This partnership actually opens up a lot of avenues that were previously seen as threats to the status quo. Many were worried that self-driving cars would challenge norms and cash flow for parking structures. However, the ParkMobile-BMW collaboration brings about the possibility of self-driving and self-paying cars that can not only navigate to a destination but then park and pay for that parking when it gets there. Crazy!
Image via Twitter