How Technology is Transforming Your Time Behind the Wheel

MyFord Touch

James Bond, eat your heart out.

You no longer have to be a secret British Secret Service agent to drive a high-tech vehicle. Today, anyone who can afford one can buy a car that features tech gadgets like touch screens that turn your dashboard into a laptop, and safety features that alert you of hidden road hazards and detect cell-phone signals of pedestrians to warn drivers of their presence, helping to avoid traffic accidents.

Some car industry watchers predict that by 2018, one in four cars on the road will be connected to the Internet. That will dramatically transform what your car is capable of doing and how you spend your time behind the wheel.

Here’s a look at some of the newest and expected technological innovations that are coming to a road near you.

Better Navigation

Many car makers already include in-dash navigation screens to help keep drivers on the right course, but expect them to get better, faster and more informative in the coming years as Internet connectivity improves. For example, more advanced navigation systems in Acura models already include live traffic reports for Los Angeles and other major cities.

Premium Surround Sound Systems

Top-quality surround-sound systems are making many cars sound more like concert halls. The Lexus LS includes a $2,500 Mark Levinson system while the Audi A8 features a Bang & Olufsen system that costs $8,000. Car buyers are telling manufacturers that they want better audio away from home and the car makers are listening.

Advanced Keyless Entry

High-tech “smart key” systems allow drivers to start their cars remotely, automatically unlock the doors by just being close to the vehicle and perform other routine tasks. So what happens if you start your car while you are still in the house and someone drives away with it? No worries, the engine will cut off after your car has travelled about 20 feet, so the would-be car thief won’t get far.

Active Cornering Headlights

Many new vehicles feature headlights that use your speed, turning angle and other computerize data to automatically position your headlights and better illuminate the road in front of you. Anyone who has been driving on a dark, winding road surely will appreciate the increased visibility that these “smart” headlights can bring.

Blind Spot Detection

Drivers may no longer have to worry about what’s in their blind spot. Some cars, like the Infiniti EX models, include devices that emit a beep when a driver is too close to a lane divider or another vehicle while making a turn when using the blinker. It’s easy to see how the audible warning could help prevent accidents on the road when one driver doesn’t see another vehicle.

Since technology has transformed how we watch TV, listen to music and communicate with each other, it’s no surprise that it has now started to affect how we drive our cars. From safety features to entertainment options, many new and used cars include ground-breaking technology that is poised to help make our daily work commutes and long vacation road trips a lot more fun.

What sorts of technology are you hoping to see in the next vehicle you buy?

Author Bio: Jessica is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.

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