Image Source: Unsplash
Technology has always been a part of the automotive industry. That’s exactly why we’ve seen so many advancements in how vehicles are manufactured and the features they include. Most upgrades over the years focus on safety, reliability, comfort, and convenience.
But, there are also some features that haven’t exactly stood the test of time, because they’re just not worth the hype. Remember rear entertainment systems? They may have been great at keeping kids occupied when they first came out, but now, in a world where so many kids have smartphones and tablets, those systems are pretty much obsolete.
Because cars will continue to change and advance, it’s important to know which upgrades are worth it, and which ones will still be worth it in a few years.
Automation and Assistance
Driver-assist systems aren’t brand new. Manufacturers have been tweaking these features for the last few years, and while they’re now more advanced than ever, there are still some inconsistencies to be aware of. Driver-assist systems are meant to help with:
- Automatic emergency braking
- Road sign recognition
- Distance control
- Blindspot detection
- Lane changing guidance
One of the major issues with driver-assist systems is that some people rely on them too much to “take control”. If you want to focus less on your driving and have your car do most of the work for you, you might want to do your research on self-driving vehicles. Thanks to advancements in automation and AI, self-driving cars are well on their way to becoming mainstream. Many cars already have some automated features, but fully autonomous vehicles are the next step.
Aside from convenience, self-driving cars are designed to be safer for the public, and more economical. But are they really worth it?
You have to consider some of the potential cons, including cybersecurity issues, economic impacts, and accessibility for everyone. Further, because they are still a relatively new concept, there are also bound to be “bugs” to work out. It can take a lot of trust and confidence in a vehicle to fully let it take you where you want to go. While the technology is there now, you may want to wait a few years before committing to an automated car.
Some of today’s newer vehicle models feature Bluetooth text dictation. While that might seem like a small or frivolous upgrade, you might find that it will quickly become your favorite feature. For example, think about how many texts you send and receive in a day. Even more, everyone knows how dangerous it is to text and drive, as texting while driving makes you six times more likely to get into an accident than if you were driving while intoxicated.
While your focus should be completely on the road, being able to hear a text out loud and respond to it just by speaking is so much safer than looking down at your phone, reading, and replying.
Using voice-activated commands to reply to a message allows you to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road. Some newer systems even understand how to send an emoji with just a word or two, so you don’t have to give up on sending an icon of a burrito when your partner is texting you about what to have for dinner.
Staying Old School
You don’t have to buy a new car with the latest technology to make some upgrades. If you want to splurge on an electric vehicle or a model with more automation, there are definitely pros and cons to consider. But, if you want to keep your current car and make more affordable upgrades, you’ll have more options.
Some of the most affordable upgrades that can improve the life of your car include:
- Getting new tires
- Investing in premium oil
- Installing polyurethane bushings
- Replacing spark plugs
- Investing in a new stereo system
No matter how old your car is, you can also upgrade it with some of today’s top tech items, including a remote starter kit, a rear backup camera, and even an Apple CarPlay unit. Installing different pieces of technology into your existing car can help you to determine if you’re ready for greater upgrades in the future, or if you should consider investing in a new vehicle. But, you don’t have to “break the bank” right now to take advantage of some high-tech features.
Not all technology is worth the hype in any industry. The tech used in some cars is no exception. Don’t be afraid to do your research on the longevity of some high-end tech features. Most importantly, though, consider which features would help you or make your driving experience more convenient and comfortable. At the end of the day, it’s about what you want and need in your vehicle, and not necessarily what the manufacturers’ marketing teams want you to buy.