6 Car Tech Innovations of 2017
Remember when we all thought car backup cameras were a pretty cool idea? Now, car tech is advancing so rapidly we can barely keep up. Here’s a look at some of the newest advances in car technology.
Car Tech Innovations to Watch for in 2017
1. 360-Degree Video Recording
If you spend upwards of $50,000 for a 2017 Cadillac CT6 sedan, you’re going to be more than a little mad if someone dents the fender and then darts off. Don’t worry — four of the car’s seven (yes, seven) exterior cameras can record video of the car’s surroundings. “Cadillac expects the surround-vision video recording system to be used by CT6 owners to record events such as a memorable drive, for security in the case of a vehicle being tampered with or to record an incident.”
2. Advanced Autopilot
Ready to kick back, watch TV and let your car do the driving? We’re not quite there yet, but we’re getting closer. While an autopilot feature has already been introduced by some carmakers, notably Tesla, this groundbreaking car technology promises to get better and smarter in 2017. Volvo has announced that 100 Swedish customers will begin driving autonomous Volvos in 2017. Other carmakers, such as Mercedes and BMW, offer semi-autonomous vehicles, which still require a human driver.
Autopilot is controversial. In May 2016, Joshua Brown became the first known fatality caused by a self-driving car when his Tesla — set on autopilot — slammed into a tractor trailer that was crossing the highway. Tesla says the autopilot system failed to distinguish the white truck from the pale sky behind it, and has adapted its system to prevent future mistakes.
3. Traffic Jam Assist
Traffic jam assist is a new car tech that can help you drive more safely in congestion. The 2017 Audi A4 and Audi Q7 include traffic jam assist, which uses radar, ultrasound and a camera to identify vehicles nearby. According to Audi: “The car brakes and accelerates independently, all the while not only maintaining a safe following distance behind the vehicle in front but also gently correcting steering to ensure you stay in your lane.”
4. Seats That Hug You
If you still think heated seats are a nice treat, just try sitting in the 2017 Mercedes E300. This model features active multi-contour front seats, which is just a fancy way of saying “seats that hug, rub and snuggle.” Side bolsters automatically adjust to support you when you’re taking a tight corner. “Eight massage programs can soothe and rejuvenate your back and shoulders, including two spa-like ‘hot stone’ massages, plus an ‘active workout’ program to help strengthen your back and leg muscles,” Mercedes says.
5. Groovy Ambient Lighting
Have you ever wished your car felt more like a nightclub? Your wish can be granted. Some 2017 models include wild ambient lighting — like the 2017 Audi A4, which lights everything from the speakers to the cup holders. Change it to Maritime Blue, Impulse Red, or a custom combination of colors. The 2017 Mercedes E300 ups the game with 64 colors to choose from and edge lighting everywhere.
6. Electric Cars That Go Far
People are giving the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt a lot more love than its electric predecessors. Why? One, it’s cute — the Bolt is a pugnacious little hatchback that growls, “Drive me!” Two, it’s reasonably priced for an EV, with a MSRP around $37,500 (before tax credits). Three, it goes far on one charge: up to 238 miles. This huge step forward in range and affordability will make electric vehicles accessible to a lot more people. EV fans are also drooling over the Tesla Model 3, a $35,000, 215-mile range car that’s going into production in 2017.
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