In a world where we live closer to our technology than ever before, the gadgets and capabilities served up by our cars have never been more important. We have powerful smartphones in our pockets, razor sharp tablets to tap away on and sleek laptops that hardly weigh a thing. So it’s only natural that we want our cars to match up to all other aspects of our hi-tech lives. The good news is that things are only getting better in this respect, so here we take a look at the coolest in-car tech of 2017.
What do James Bond, David Hasselhoff in Knight Rider and Batman all have in common? Apart from an innate ability to save the day in the search for justice, it’s self-driving cars, of course. So obviously, self-driving tech’s cool. And now there’s more and more autonomous technology making its way into the cars we drive, as the motoring industry strives for fully driverless vehicles. One of the most significant developments of 2017 was the release of the new Mercedes S-Class, which offers features such as Active Speed Limit Assist, Active Lane Change Assist and Remote Parking Assist.
Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication is very cool tech, as it allows your car to talk to other vehicles and other things on the road, such as traffic lights. While this will be important as self-driving cars become more prominent, for now the 2017 Mercedes E-Class uses V2V tech to let other Mercedes vehicles on the road know about things like traffic and climate conditions. As you’ll find out about potential issues up ahead before you reach them, you can easily change course or adapt your driving to avoid them.
Connection and communication is the name of the game these days, so it’s no surprise that many new cars include a WiFi connection as standard. As systems such as Audi Connect bring even more sophistication to our in-car infotainment, our set of wheels is turned into a hotspot where we’re always in touch whichever road we’re on.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
It’s fair to say that quite a few of us have either an Apple or Android smartphone. It’s also fair to say that we all know how dangerous it can be if we use them while we’re driving. Luckily, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are systems which allow you to access certain supported apps through your car’s infotainment centre. From dictating messages to send to your friends to choosing the next tune you’ll tap your fingers on the steering wheel to, this tech’s both safe and cool - plus it keeps you on the right side of the law.
As well as telling your smartphone what to do, you can also speak directly to your car these days. In cars such as the BMW 4 series, you can use the Voice Command system to carry out tasks like setting your destination in your sat nav. While you might not get an in-depth response like Michael Knight does from K.I.T.T., it’s still very cool and very useful.
As a certain telephone manufacturers rolled out their first foray into wirelessly charging phones in 2017, it’s suddenly become a much bigger deal for cars to come equipped with the tech. Luckily the likes of Audi offer an optional universal mobile phone holder with Qi wireless charging, which you can get on models such as the A3, A5 and Q7.
DAB radio is of course no new thing. But it’s great, and so much better than the analog radio tech we’re used to. Which is why it’s brilliant news that BMW and MINI have decided that all of their cars will come with DAB radio as standard.