As with all new technology, they first appear in high-end and expensive vehicles. Over time, as more and more car manufacturers include them in their vehicles, they become much more cost-effective and standard.
These new features improve safety, reduce emissions, improve mileage, make the car easier to drive, or make the journey comfortable for the driver and passengers. Let’s take a closer look at 10 of these features that will soon be found in almost all new vehicles in the affordable price bracket.
- Wireless and USB Smartphone Charger - Smartphones have become prevalent and are used for different types of activities while driving such as navigation using Google Maps, playing music using apps such as Spotify and Apple Music, hands-free messaging and calling, etc. To keep these power-consuming devices charged and running, most cars now feature USB wired chargers or wireless charging pads for phones that can be charged wirelessly. This convenient feature ensures your smartphone does not die on you when you exit the vehicle after a long drive and is handy especially if you are someone who forgets to charge their phone at home.
2. Ventilated Seats - This feature is a game-changer, especially in hot or humid climates. Imagine getting into a car on a hot day and the seats are cool and comfortable to sit in. On a hot day, your clothes may get ruined as you may experience sweating on your back. Ventilated seats have small fans that circulate cooled air through perforated or mesh upholstery to keep your body at a comfortable temperature.
3. Mild-hybrid Technology - Vehicles with this feature have an in-built electric motor that uses energy generated by braking to reduce emissions. These cars are able to coast for some distance on electric power thus reducing the amount of fuel being consumed, thus reducing your fuel bill also. In some models, the stored electrical energy is used to provide torque assist which supplements the engine's power during acceleration thus reducing the load on the engine.
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4. Digital Infotainment Systems - Playing music or listening to a podcast while driving is something we all do and with Digital Infotainment Systems this has become convenient. Easily connect your phone via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to these entertainment systems and gain instant access to the music library on your phone. Besides music, you can also access apps for navigation using maps, calls, and text messages. Stay connected on the go infotainment touchscreen mirrors your smartphone screen.
5. Safety Systems - Even if you pay attention while driving, there is a slim chance that you can collide with something that is in your blindspot. Using advanced technology, car manufacturers aim to reduce such incidents by providing features such as a 360-degree Parking camera, Reverse Brake Assist, Automatic Pre-Collision Braking, Blind spot monitoring, Electronic stability control, Forward-collision warning, Pedestrian detection, Rear cross-traffic alert, Lane-departure warning and Tire-pressure monitors. Features such as these can be life-saving and reduce the chances of getting into an accident thereby minimising repair costs.
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6. Remote Control Parking - Parking in tight spots can be difficult at times and this feature aims to reduce the stress you take to do so. Though this feature may seem like something out of a Bond movie, with the advancement of AI and camera technology your car may soon be able to park on its own. Using the smart key that comes with the car, you will be able to move the car forward or backwards to fit into tight parking spots. This feature is especially useful when there might not be enough space for you to open the door to get out after you park the car.
7. Connected Car Technology - This modern feature lets you bi-directionally communicate with your car with devices from outside the vehicle using embedded e-SIM cards. The e-SIM cards allow the car to connect to the internet and thus enable you to activate certain functions without even being near the car. For example, on a hot day, you can turn the air conditioning on 10 minutes before you even approach the car so that it is nice and cool by the time you need to drive. You can lock the car in case you forgot to do so after parking it or unlock the car in case you want someone to collect something from it on your behalf. Some models will allow you to see what's happening around your car through the car’s cameras and alert you if something is wrong. You may also schedule periodic servicing through the app.
8. Video Rearview Mirror - The rearview mirror though a must-have feature has its drawbacks and issues. In some cases, passengers or luggage in the back seat may block the view or light from the cars behind you may reflect off the mirror and dazzle you, impairing your vision. To remedy these issues, car manufacturers have introduced the "Intelligent Rearview Mirror" which displays live video captured using a rear-mounted camera. This ensures an unobstructed view of what’s behind your vehicle and drastically minimises the glare that can distract you while driving.
9. Cabin Air Purification - Everyone is aware that breathing in unhealthy air is detrimental to health. Imagine being surrounded by vehicles pumping out exhaust fumes which ultimately get into your vehicle through the windows or AC vents. When Tesla announced the Bioweapon Defense Mode that cleans the air entering the car using a HEPA filtration system most people were sceptical. But during the California wildfires, this feature proved useful as it scrubbed the air inside the vehicle and made it pure. Following this event, major car manufacturers are now installing better air filters in their cars to ensure passengers are able to breathe clean air at the touch of a button. These systems are also able to eliminate viruses and other airborne bacteria by as much as 97% which seems like a good idea considering we live in the post-covid era.
10. Adaptive Cruise Control - This hi-tech feature uses radar or laser technology to keep a track of the vehicle in front of you and follow it at a safe distance by controlling the throttle and brakes. This feature once offered only on luxury vehicles such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class has now become more widespread due to the fact that radar technology has become cheaper. Adaptive Cruise Control helps reduce stress for the driver by maintaining a predefined minimum distance to the preceding vehicle and automatically controlling vehicle speed. This allows the driver to concentrate more on the traffic and drive safely.
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