10 Awesome car technologies we love

Today, motorists are demanding more and more from their vehicles, and the result is rapid evolution in technology relating to cars with each brand trying to out to the other in the race for consumer loyalty. All we can say to that is – awesome!

What was once a machine merely built to move you from point A to B has now turned into a virtual computer on wheels – giving you the ability to link to the world as you watch it pass you by in utter comfort. As gadgets and new additions continue to take us to places unimagined, we decided to slow things down a bit and give love to some car innovations that have not only made lives easier, but have grown people’s appreciation for the humble automobile.

Heated / ventilated seats                           

Few sensations match up to the sheer pleasure of sitting your derriere down on a warm seat during an icy winter, except for the cool embrace of a chilled seat during a scorching South African summer. Despite the fact that heated seats have been around since their inclusion in the Cadillac Fleetwood (introduced in 1966), these are still as amazing as they’ve always been, making bad weather a mere inconvenience. Considering that most drivers spend at least an hour in the driver’s seat every day, it’s no wonder that Mercedes-Benz has included ventilated seats (optional or standard) in almost every car in their line-up. It’s simple really – comfort is key!

Parking sensors

Gone are the days when you had to turn your whole head to look behind you while parking your car, and thankfully so! While the practice is still encouraged, many modern cars come with rear-facing cameras to assist you with parking, while other vehicles come complete with sensors equipped to help you achieve parking greatness. We’re quite sure that if BMW bumpers could talk they would give many thanks to their makers right about now…

Ambient interior lighting

Usually found in luxury vehicles such as the BMW M5 feature might not be very high-tech but it does make driving a whole lot more fun. LED lighting within the vehicle can be adjusted to different levels and colours, transforming the inside of your car into the back of a limousine, or better yet – an upper-class club. Parking lot parties will never be the same…

Push to start

We have officially begun entering the era of the key fob, essentially rendering keys obsolete. Key fobs are programmable hardware devices that can be used to remotely access your vehicle when needed. They allow drivers to lock, unlock and start the car from the outside, thereby making life easier when you have your hands full.

In addition to key fobs, push-start buttons have increased the value of vehicles while allowing motorists to get on their way without having to search for the keyhole. Now all you have to worry about is remembering where you put the house key!

Adaptive cruise control

Adaptive Cruise Control (or ACC) uses either a radar or camera system to track vehicles in relation to yours, adjusting speed according to their movement. While traditional cruise control holds the vehicle at a steady velocity, ACC speeds up or slows down your car in relation to the vehicle in front of you, allowing you to feel like the pilot of your own private jet. Some versions of ACC will even bring you to a complete stop when necessary, before giving you the option to “resume” when you see fit. Who needs a chauffeur when you have a Mercedes-Benz C63

Fully digital dashboards

Putting everything directly in front of your eyes, fully digital dashboards are the instrument panels of the future, essentially turning the driver’s seat into what could only be described as a virtual cockpit. The digital interface is completely driver-focused and makes use of crisp graphics and detailed effects to enhance your driving experience, while different modes allow you to make the most of your journey, giving you the option of using GPS, gauging your speed and fuel levels or selecting the perfect soundtrack for the journey ahead, all while keeping your eyes facing forward.

Automatic braking

Automatic braking technology combines brake controls with sensors to help avoid collisions by reducing the speed of a vehicle before it hits something. In addition, some systems make use of data received via GPS, accessing a database of road signs and other information to better detect any possible obstructions on the road. Automatic braking systems occur without any driver input, allowing you to drive as you normally would. While you should still remain vigilant on the road, an automatic braking system could save your life should you have a momentary lapse of concentration, and that’s what makes it so awesome!

Head-Up Display (HUD)

With dashboards becoming increasingly more cluttered and console displays getting bigger as time goes by, many cars are running out of space for screens. With the demand for information still very high, manufacturers have come up with a clever solution to this problem – making use of the vehicle’s windscreen. By building projectors into vehicles, Head-Up Display (HUD) is now able to display speed, GPS details and various other crucial data along the bottom of the windscreen, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road while still receiving info they may need along their journey.

Traffic light prediction

Spend more than five minutes on the road and you are bound to find several drivers glued to their phones while in their vehicles. Nowhere is this more annoying than at a traffic light where a slow reaction time could result in several cars having to wait for the next green light. Audi has since found a helpful solution to this problem, implementing “time to green” technology into some of their models. [ not for South Africa ] Displayed on the dashboard, a countdown clock displays real-time information relating to traffic lights around cities, letting you know exactly how much time you have before the light changes colour, leaving drivers with a renewed sense of control behind the wheel.

Automatic parking

Imagine you could park wherever you want without fear of having to maneuver your way into a space that requires nothing short of extreme arm strength, lots of hope and a little faith? Well imagine no more, because your dreams have finally become a reality! Automakers have heeded the call of many motorists, incorporating intelligent parking assist systems into their vehicles in order to take the stress out of parking.

Self-parking cars not only help solve the issue of parking in densely populated spaces but also limit traffic congestion by lowering the amount of time it takes to enter a parking. Self-parking systems will also decrease the number of dents and scratches caused during parking, leaving your rims sparkling and your paintwork pristine.

Now that you’ve scoped the best new technologies that the automotive market has to offer, why not head over to Autotrader to experience them for yourself? AutoTrader South Africa has been the leading media market space for the past 24 years for buying and selling vehicles. Whether you are looking to buy a brand new car or are in the market for a pre-loved model, AutoTrader has over 65 000 cars to choose from to suit your tastes and needs. Find your perfect car on AutoTrader.

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