This post is sponsored by SAP.
Someday soon, your car won’t be just a vehicle to transport you from Point A to Point B, but a rolling, seat-belted mobile device.
Right now, most cars with onboard navigation systems require that you plug in your smartphone so it can use your cellular network. That’s changing. Cars are increasingly engineered to be digitally connected to the world they travel through, in ways that go far beyond your GPS or pre-installed music apps.
According to AOL’s Autoblog, Audi will be introducing a feature in some of its car models that allows users to take advantage of onboard LTE, giving the driver and passengers access to fast Wi-Fi. Information will download from the cloud more quickly, and passengers will be able to stream movies without a lot of buffering.
Making systems easier to use is the ultimate goal, along with limiting driver distraction. With some in-car systems able to give you updates on the news, the need to keep one’s eyes on the road is obvious. That’s why these systems generally limit many capabilities of the web, and don’t allow drivers to surf when they should be driving. They also have text-to-speech features: You can have your car read your Facebook updates to you.
In the ongoing effort to simplify in-car services, Apple will be adapting its popular iOS interface — the very thing that gives your iPhone its look and feel — to your car. Not much is known about Apple’s new system, but we can assume that at least present-day iPhone users are likely to feel comfortable with it.
BMW is also working to streamline these often-wonky in-dashboard devices (think many knobs and switches). Their 7-Series cars have an optional system that allows you to use your fingernail to scrawl out quick, handwritten commands, without having to peck through a menu screen to get what you want.
Where are we headed? Toward even more data in our automobiles. Soon, car seats might also have sensors that can detect if we’re having a heart attack, then safely stop the car and contact emergency services for us. And if we’re in an accident, they might be equipped with black boxes similar to what’s in aeroplanes.
The end result is an even greater connection to the world around us.
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