Car Tech that is AnnoyingJun 1th, 2017
In theory, technology is supposed to make our lives easier and less stressful. However some car technology isn’t quite as developed as it should be and it just ends up annoying us more often than not. Here are a few current car technologies that should still spend a bit more time on the testing rigs before hitting the mainstream vehicles.
- Keyless Entry
In theory keyless entry should be just that, entry without the key. But we still have to carry a big bulky key fob in our pockets. A better interpretation of keyless entry should be integrated with something that generally everyone carries with them, a cell phone. Locking or unlocking a vehicle’s doors should be done automatically when the vehicle detects your smartphone nearby. Or better yet, to prevent hacking, vehicles should have biometric scanners. So when you put your hand on the door handle to open it, the car would read your fingerprints and only unlock the door if it actually is you and not a thief. An example of this technology (albeit with a bit of movie magic) is in the Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation movie when Simon Pegg’s character opens the door of his BMW M5 with just a touch of the door glass. This technology is not as farfetched as you may think as some smartphones can be unlocked with just a touch of a fingerprint.
- Gear Selectors
The days of the traditional “P, R, N, D” gear selector may be numbered. These days more and more manufacturers are placing intricate gear selectors that spring back to their resting position or involve buttons which makes it confusing for some people. In some cases, confusing gear selectors can lead to injury or even death (Anton Yelchin accident). The reason why manufacturers are favoring these new types of gear selectors is because they tend to look better and it also frees up a lot of space in the center console. Also different manufacturers have completely different gear selectors than others. For example, Jaguar and Ford use rotary selectors, Jeep and BMW use selectors that spring back into their original locations, and GMC is switching over to buttons in the upcoming 2018 GMC Terrain.
- HUD (Heads Up Display)
Heads up displays are a relatively new technology that only a few manufacturers offer in their vehicles but it’s very quickly gaining momentum. At the moment they are very limited as to what they can display. For the most part, HUDs show you the vehicle speed, engine rpms, radio station, and turn by turn navigation. Most systems can only display in one color and look more like an afterthought but Chevrolet is introducing their systems with multiple color displays, such as in the Chevrolet Tahoe or Corvette. But it’s still a system that has potential in particular when it comes to warning drivers of potential dangers. The entire windscreen could become a giant HUD that uses augmented reality to highlight vehicles that are potential dangers or pedestrians who may inadvertently cross in front of the vehicle. But until that time comes, we just have to make due with small displays that display information that drivers already know.
- Infotainment Systems
Those big (or sometimes small) touchscreens in the center of the dashboard are among the biggest culprits behind vehicles receiving poor reliability ratings on JD Power’s dependability surveys. They have a lot of functions with menus and submenus that are sometimes impossible to find unless you press every single button that is displayed and you come across it by accident. They’re also notoriously difficult to pair your smartphone to. Chevrolet did try to make it simpler with fewer steps but it’s still not a foolproof system yet. One bit of light at the end of the tunnel is that Apple and Android have created easy to use and navigate systems for when their phones are paired with the vehicle. But unfortunately not all manufacturers support Apple CarPlay and AndroidAuto yet. So until that time comes, we still have to spend a long time learning the infotainment systems and perhaps even going back to the dealership to get help on how to properly use it.