How important is technology in today’s auto industry? In China, the world’s largest market, 85 percent of auto consumers may decide against a vehicle if the app roster is lacking, according to IHS Automotive research. Fortunately, many high-tech tools are already embedded in popular cars and trucks. Here are five pieces of auto technology now, or soon to be, industry standards.
Things are rolling along nicely on the highway until an overly aggressive driver flashes in front of your car, then hits the brakes, forcing you to adjust your cruise control settings. That’s aggravating, but adaptive cruise control aims to rectify the situation for you. It can sense the distance between your vehicle and the next car. Ford (NYSE:F) is working on a system for the Lincoln MKT and other large vehicles that will handle the adjustment at an even smoother rate. Most highway drivers will benefit immensely from the upgrade.
The seventeen-inch touch screen inside a Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S sets the bar in terms of connectivity and ease-of-use in automobiles. This system turns back on when drivers enter the vehicle to display the last app in use. It can also remember your favorite apps, assist in navigation, control temperature and entertainment, and provide essential vehicle data.
Toyota’s (NYSE:TM) unintended acceleration defect may have prompted the industry as a whole to accept brake override systems, but every driver benefits from the upgrade. When a vehicle notices the car braking and accelerating simultaneously, it will automatically slow the engine down, thus preventing runaway cars.
The 2014 Chevy Impala has been a big winner for General Motors (NYSE:GM), with safety features wowing the critics and car-buying public alike. The Impala’s Advanced Safety Package features Forward Collision Alert that scans vehicles ahead of the driver and sends alerts to the cockpit warning you to stop.
Honda (NYSE:HMC) is on the verge of making a full roster of advanced safety features standard in its line of Civics. In fact, the automaker is bringing blind spot monitor systems to most of its cars in 2014. The technology can scan cross traffic patterns using radar and alert the driver of danger before it’s visible to anyone inside the car. It’s especially useful when cars are hidden behind vans or other large vehicles.