Top Car Tech Trends to Look Out For in 2015
By: Good2GoPublished: January 20, 2015
Car technology has come a long way since the Ford Model T was first introduced in 1908. While we may not have hover cars – yet – the auto industry continues to make great strides in creating the safest, most comfortable driving experience possible. And the latest 2015 models will deliver on just that. Here’s a look at some of the top car tech trends you can expect to see this year.
Drivers live in a digital world which means auto makers have had to shift gears to accommodate the ever-increasing need for in-car internet. Previous car models feature Bluetooth capabilities which is great for syncing your phone to your car to play music or take hands-free phone calls. This technology uses your phone’s wireless 3G/4G connectivity. But today’s vehicles are taking it one step further by turning cars into mobile hotspots.
General Motors (GM) is the first auto maker to offer 4G LTE connectivity in the U.S. and the feature is already available in several 2015 models. By using AT&T’s network, passengers will be able to connect their mobile devices to stream movies, videos and music without a problem. Down the road, GM hopes that this 4G LTE capability will be able to wirelessly update the car’s operating system, meaning the car will be able to self-diagnose or “remote fix” mechanical problems without the trip to the auto body shop. And if software needs to be updated in the midst of a recall, the car will be able to complete the update on its own, without going to the dealership.
Audi, Chrysler and Ford will also be introducing this technology in their cars in 2015.
Closer to driverless cars
Autonomous cars will continue to make headlines this year as dozens of auto manufacturers in the U.S. and abroad get closer to having driverless cars cruise the open road.
Beginning in 2015, California approved the testing of self-driving cars. This is great news for many eager autonomous car developers like Google, Nissan and Audi.
With this new regulatory timeline, Google’s autonomous prototype (which has no steering wheel or pedals) may be in deployment as early as April of this year.
Tesla has also been testing out an autopilot feature in its cars. Founder Elon Musk estimates that this new technology will enable cars to operate hands-free 90 percent of the time.
Perhaps the most exciting feature of driverless technology is the ability for autonomous parking. With the use of cameras and sensors in 2015 car models like the Lincoln MKC crossover SUV, cars will be able to steer directly into a parking spot and remove themselves from tight spaces. Watch the MKC in action using “Active Park Assist.”
More luxury car manufacturers are getting in on the self-driving game as well. Mercedes unveiled a concept driverless car earlier this month at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2015 that takes luxury to a whole new level. However, this epitome of high-class self-driving technology won’t be available for at least another decade – but it’s nice to dream, right?
Rearview cameras become standard
Rearview cameras or back-up cameras will become more commonplace in future car models. Several automakers have already made rearview cameras a standard feature in their models. An increase in this feature is due in part to The Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007. This act was issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) after a two year old boy was accidently run over by his father who was backing his vehicle out of the driveway. It amends “the agency’s Federal motor vehicle safety standard on rearview mirrors to improve the ability of a driver to detect pedestrians in the area immediately behind his or her vehicle and thereby minimize the likelihood of a vehicle’s striking a pedestrian while its driver is backing the vehicle.” According to the NHTSA, there are 210 deaths and 15,000 injuries caused by vehicles backing up every year.
In March 2014, the NHTSA required all new cars to have a rearview camera starting in May 2018. However, some manufacturers have already taken the hint. In fact, Nissan was ahead of its time with its 2002 Infiniti Q45 which became the first car in the U.S. to include a rearview camera. Now, 46% of cars sold in the U.S. include a rearview camera either as a standard or optional feature according to 2014 data from Edmunds.com. Nissan has taken backup camera technology one step further by developing a “smart rearview mirror,” which puts an LCD camera in the rearview mirror for a much clearer view. This feature will be introduced globally in 2015.
Drivers’ smartphones will become even more integrated with their car’s systems thanks to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. These two systems will focus on common smartphone features that drivers use such as messaging, navigation, and music. The goal of these systems is to help reduce the level of distractions inside the vehicle by getting the driver to rely on voice functionalities and data shown on the car’s dashboard screen instead of reaching for their phone.
Several car manufacturers like Audi, Chevrolet, Hyundai and Volkswagen plan on having this smartphone integration included in their systems before the end of 2015.
Above is just a sample of some of the highly sophisticated car tech trends that drivers can expect to see in 2015. While these trends may shock and amaze drivers, this is just the tip of the iceberg. What other car trends do you expect to see in the next decade and beyond?
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Photo credit: Jeff Wilcox/Flickr/CC