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New Automotive Features for 2017...Let's Hear it for Tech Sophistication!

By Eric Budzinski, AVP GrooveCar, April 14th, 2017

As our dashboards become increasingly more sophisticated with electronic features found in all models of vehicles, other great options have been developed to appease our driving lifestyles. Some of the hottest and most functional features can be found in 2017 models all designed to make our driving experience the best and safest it can be. Because there's not a one-size fits all when it comes to new features, I have broken it down into several categories: Staying Safe, Fun Features, and Wow...My Car Can do That?

Apple CarPlay™
Apple CarPlay™

Staying Safe

Alert systems have become a major advancement in car technology. Cameras and sensors are adding several extra sets of eyes to make the trip enjoyable and ultra-safe. For instance, Cadillac's XT5 crossover SUV and full-electric Chevrolet Bolt will have LED screens that display wide-angle rear views through the back of the vehicle replacing conventional glass surface mirrors. The new rear view mirrors seemingly see-through head rests and people to provide an unobstructed view of what is behind you.

Automatic high beams

Around Car Monitoring is one of the most talked about features this year. Look for 360-degree video recording in several new models to capture accidents and provide assistance. The Ford Super Duty pickup will be offering at least seven video cameras around trucks introduced this year. According to Nissan Motor Company, Around View Monitor, their tech name for the feature, is a support technology that will assist drivers to park more easily providing a bird's eye view of surroundings. Nissan technology will allow the user to view images simultaneously through an image processing unit.

A look ahead...

Hey, You're Going the Wrong Way: Within the next two years, Ford will introduce “Wrong-Way Alert,” a new system that relies on a windshield-mounted camera to detect Do Not Enter or Wrong Way signs. When these signs are spotted, the car's navigational system will immediately begin warning the driver with visible and audible alarms.

Also, under this category; Ford is also introducing Evasive Steering Assist to pair with its automatic braking. The system relies on radar and cameras to prevent a collision. Automatic braking is combined with the driver initiated system, exact details on how the system will work will be released by the company. Other safety technologies on the horizon for Ford: more camera-based adaptive lighting systems that will widen the high-beam headlights when cornering and at intersections. Also, “Spot lighting” a system that uses infrared cameras to detect pedestrians.

Android Car

Fun Features

The new Tesla Model 3 will be introduced with a longer range, 200 miles to a charge and a sticker price that will appeal to a great many more people; $35,000. New Tesla drivers will also benefit from tax incentives which will bring the price down. Now that's fun!

The Tesla won't be the only fun electric car on the road, the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf will also provide electric car buyers lots of cool features and excitement. The Chevy Bolt is a compact hatch that was named a “game changer” at the Consumer Electronics Show. Like the Tesla, it too has an impressive 200-mile-plus-per-charge range with a sticker price around $30,000 after government incentives.

Parental controls

Inside the cabin, features such as a configurable digital main instrument cluster along with a 10.2-inch touchscreen including navigation and EV-specific mapping to help optimize your journey based on the owner's driving habits, topography, and temperature. Best of all it will locate recharging spots for you. Other great tech features: rear facing cameras and a 360-degree surround vision capability to make parking oh so easy!

Several new vehicles will offer onboard Internet service with 4G LTE and Wi-Fi hotspot to support all the latest mobile app technology and GPS routing. Look for instant Bluetooth pairing with smartphones when it senses the device is approaching. If you have a competitive streak, the Chevy Bolt owner can compare eco-performance stats with other owners using a new “gamification” capability.

A look ahead...

Designers want to blur the line between the home and the car. Hyundai envisions a time where you will park your car right in the living room and it will be just like another piece of furniture. With pivoting seats and fully opened hinged doors, the idea is to utilize the vehicle's technology in your living room from the air conditioning system to the advanced stereo and tech components. Fully powered on hydrogen, the vehicle can also generate electricity serving as a backup generator during power outages.

Night vision

Wow...My Car Can do That?

Yup, the fully autonomous or driverless car is here. Volvo will be putting a completely autonomous XC90 SUVs on the roads in Sweden. The Mercedes Benz all new E-Class will offer semi-autonomous driving features and Tesla will introduce the Autopilot Feature with more capabilities than ever before. Many of the new cars on the road already incorporate autonomous features, but this will be an exciting next step. So far, 2017 for most of the car manufacturers involves the introduction of both luxury and tech rolled into one great experience.

Case in point, known for being plush and comfortable, the Lincoln is really turning heads this year. Don't blink because the Lincoln is lightning fast. You might miss seeing this impressive new design providing drivetrains and trim levels to excite the Lincoln yachters and the newly converted. According to Yahoo! News, the new Continental is oozing with swiftness. This year's model will house a 3.0-liter, twin-turbo V-6 dishing out 400 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. 0-60 acceleration is in the low 5 second range. This swift get-up-and-go provides pure luxury with inflatable front seat belts, enormous knee room, easy touch screen controls and cushiony comfort massagers located in the seats.

A look ahead...

According to AutoBlog, Toyota's new concept car has a mind of its own. Designers refer to the Concept-i as the autonomous pod. Rounded edges, glossy white exterior that seats four, it may look weird but Toyota is very serious about what you will be driving by 2030. This futuristic version of vehicles to come will usher in many new fun features such as artificially intelligent user experience interface, known as Yui. This feature will be able to understand you, your emotions and your preferences...and react accordingly. It's all very science fiction and very real!

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