The average Brit spends 41 minutes a day behind the wheel of a car – be that commuting to or from work or just nipping to the shops. This soon adds up and you come to realise that a large portion of your life is spent inside your car. Whilst there is technology that can make your driving life safer (dash cams, parking aids) or easier (sat navs) the entertainment side has been a bit lacking.
There is, however, some new emerging technology that can make that commute time more pleasurable (and safer at the same time):
BMW Touch Command Tablet
What is it? BMW’s Vision Future Luxury car aims to have the ‘BMW Touch Command Tablet’ installed on the back of both passenger seats, allowing those in the back access to the car’s multimedia systems along with a host of additional online entertainment – details of which are yet to be released by the manufacturer. You can possibly expect to see Touch Command in production from 2017.
It was announced in January 2015 that BMW were teaming up with Samsung to create an all-encompassing control unit for their cars. The Touch Command Tablet will sit in the back of the headrests and will allow passengers to adjust most of the car’s functions from one control panel instead of having a button for climate control in one place, and a control for music in another. Touch Command will take control of car features such as climate and music but also others such as seat position, heating and movies. The Touch Command Tablets will also give you the option to quit the BMW command centre and use the tablet as a regular Samsung Android device.
Apple CarPlay is going to be offered in a growing list of manufacturer’s cars in the future. Fiat, Audi, Citroen, Jaguar and Ford are all on board to offer the ability to select music, make phone calls, access Apple Maps and more – all through the car dashboard. CarPlay will be an all-in-one entertainment centre which will allow you to access your iTunes and iPhone contacts without the need to use your phone in the car, allowing you to stay away from the temptation of using your phone whilst driving, and let you save that fragile iPhone battery life for when you arrive at your destination.
One of the best things about CarPlay is that you don’t need to wait until you’re buying a new car to be able to get it in your car, you can already purchase devices with CarPlay capabilities which can be installed into your vehicle. Apple CarPlay isn’t a completely separate system from your phone, but it works with your iPhone (iPhone 5 onwards) and enables your car to communicate with your phone to then display your phone on the dashboard. CarPlay supports a range and variety of different screen sizes and resolutions allowing for flexibility and wider accessibility for users.
Not to be outdone by their rivals at Apple, Google are also offering a similar service for Android devices running Lollipop and newer versions. Deals are in place for the technology to be featured in cars from 40 manufacturers, but currently neither Android Auto nor Apple CarPlay offers any additional functionality over the other.
Hyundai Display Audio System
A lot of the big tech companies are looking for ways to remove the CD player from the car and have full blown infotainment systems included. The Hyundai Display Audio System lets you link up your Apple or Android smartphone to access a wealth of apps that keep you – or the kids – entertained. Gone are the piles CD’s and you can enjoy music via Spotify, Apple Music or SoundCloud.
At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that Hyundai’s new system doesn’t do much as it doesn’t include any in-built navigation system, apps and doesn’t even include a CD player. But that’s the idea, Hyundai has left this space open so that your mobile phone can take control and fill the gaps. Simply connect your phone and it will appear on the screen. Hyundai’s system will support both Apple iOS and Android systems, much to the disappointment of Windows phone and Blackberry users.
The comfort and enjoyment that passengers endure has long been due an overhaul. Fortunately, the future looks bright for those riding shotgun, and even those confined to the back seats.
Leading the way is the Mercedes-Benz F 015, which gives us a glimpse into the future and what passengers can expect in the coming years. Mercedes aren’t just looking at entertainment and making more fun for passengers, they’re also taking on comfort, and in a big way. The car is fitted with open-pore, walnut wood flooring and also has four luxury lounge chairs that rotate to allow passengers to face each other – although we wouldn’t advise that the driver does this whilst on the move!
Virtual displays will allow passengers to adjust the ambience levels to suit the mood. If you want to relax, you can set soothing coolers and shapes to subtly move around and help ease the atmosphere. Alternatively, lighten the mood with brighter colours – and turn the volume up too!
We spend a lot of time in our cars travelling from place to place, stuck in traffic, and even cleaning them, so they should be spaces that are fun to be and comfortable to sit in for extended periods of time. We’re excited about the cars of the future and the latest developments in vehicle technology to entertain. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest developments that might be in your car soon!