As automobile technology continues to advance every day, your car is no longer just a vehicle. It’s also now your chauffeur, your butler and even your track partner. From in-car apps that can control car settings and satellite-aided driving to infotainment systems that keep you as connected as your smartphone, being on the road has never been more exciting and convenient at the same time. Here are five of our favourite cabin technology features in cars right now.
Though still in the development stage, Audi’s Fit Driver project is shaping up to becoming your guardian angel on the road. Working with car sensors that monitor driving style, weather and traffic, the wearable (either a wristband or smartwatch) will keep track of the driver’s heart rate and skin temperature to detect stress or fatigue. The car responds by automatically adjusting climate control, interior lighting and even provides an invigorating seat massage. Feel an immense wave of road rage coming up? Audi Fit Driver will start a video tutorial in the cockpit for specially designed breathing exercises — because an angry driver is a terrible driver.
What can’t an Apple Watch do? The nifty little timepiece can now even control the burly SUV that is the Bentley Bentayga. Unlike other car apps which are mostly only good for finding your car in a parking lot, this one is about getting you as comfortable as possible throughout the ride. Besides individually adjusting climate control settings, entertainment systems, massage systems and seat position via the app, passengers will also receive real time information on speed, outside air temperature and distance travelled. If you’re in a Bentley you’re likely to be driven around too, so it makes sense that you don’t have to reach for the controls on the dashboard from the back of the car. Bentley is really upping the indulgence game here.
Nothing has a better bird’s eye view of the terrain you’re driving on than a satellite. First introduced to the Wraith in 2013 and subsequently to the rest of the lineup, Rolls-Royce’s Satellite Aided Transmission technology uses GPS mapping data to ensure the correct gear is pre-selected, so you no longer have manually do so. Jarring downshifting will now be a thing of the past, while driving around tight corners and sweeping bends will be a smoother and less harrowing experience. You wouldn’t have a hair out of place when you get to that black-tie event.
Tesla’s Autopilot promises to be good now. As the v8.0 software update is introduced to its fleet of vehicles, you can expect some significant updates. Pedestrian detection is significantly improved and human rendering now appears accurately on the instrument cluster; only cars, trucks and motorcycles were displayed previously. CEO Elon Musk also promises that Autopilot will reduce the likelihood of an accident by 50 percent. Besides the usual steering, acceleration and braking, it also succeeds in autonomous operations such as driving itself right to your porch.
For speed junkies who are serious about their lap times, BMW’s M Laptimer will give you a breakdown of your track runs, hassle-free. The German automobile manufacturer is taking its GoPro integration one step further by enabling syncing with an iOS device, where you can connect to specific cameras and look at live image or video previews. It also creates track maps and will provide a visual breakdown of your speed at every corner and turn. Steering angle, brake and throttle inputs will surely help with lap time improvements. Extremely proud of your latest run? The BMW M Laptimer can help you show off by posting your result to Twitter or Facebook too.