As cars continue to improve under the hood with hybrid and electric motors, the technology inside the cabin is also improving the way you drive. Some gadgets are for fun or to make your commute a better experience, but others improve driver safety and save you money when it's time to take your car to a mechanic. Here are some of the most popular car technologies around the horizon in 2016.
Assisted Driving & Parking
The driverless car is the new gold rush in the auto industry. Every manufacturer is doing what it can to be the first to produce a mass-market vehicle that requires zero human input behind the wheel. Ford recently partnered with Google, which has already spent years successfully testing driverless cars in Silicon Valley, and GM is working with popular ride sharing company Lyft in its quest for a driverless solution.
While Ford and GM have been climbing the mountain, Tesla is implementing automated driving one step at a time. Right now, in a Model S, you can drive down the highway with your hands off the wheel. The car also can pull itself in and out of the garage for you. It's not completely autonomous driving, but it's a move that Tesla, Mercedes, Lexus and BMW are making until driverless cars are a reality.
One of the most stunning features of the Model S is its enormous screen interface in the center console. It's an area of the car that's often overlooked for new technology, but more manufacturers are catching on and teaming with tech companies to produce a 21st century experience on the road. Presented at this year's CES, the Audi Q7 features a large touchscreen that has controls to most of the car's functions and a full entertainment dashboard. To prevent distracted driving, it hands all entertainment controls over to the passenger when you're on the road.
Apple also has its hands in car entertainment, and its CarPlay feature will become more common in 2016. Apple took the complete functionality of an iPhone and placed it in your car's dashboard. CarPlay handles your calls, texts, navigation, music and third-party apps. It's the total package for iPhone lovers, and it's available on most 2016 models.
Automatic & Smartphone Connectivity
A nightmare for every driver is the check engine light coming on. The uncertainty you have between the first alert and your trip to the mechanic gives your imagination time to come up with the worst case scenario for your car's diagnosis. But there is a way to empower yourself with knowledge.
Mechanics don't take your car apart to figure out what's happening under the hood. They use a diagnostics port under your steering wheel to digitally connect to your car's computer system to know why the check engine light turned on. You can have that same diagnostics power at home. Devices like Automatic plug into your port and wirelessly connect to your smartphone to tell you what's going on with your engine, brakes, traction control and more. It can even locate your car if it's stolen or if you simply forget where you parked it.
Courtesy of SocialMonster.org
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