You can open your eyes now, 2016 is over. Congratulations, you did it! You successfully navigated your way through the 365 days of surrealist hijinks that last year entailed. We are now living in the year that The Running Man movie is set in, so I look to the near future with high hopes and optimism. Yet, life isn’t all about death sport reality shows, no matter how many times Jean Claude Van Damme pitches the same idea on Shark Tank. The next 12 months look poised to bring yet another significant wave of digital bells and whistles to the auto industry, so if you’re in the market for a new ride, it may be wise to consider some of the updated model releases. Here are some of our favorites.
Based on a few recent auto tech revelations, I am beginning to think we may live in the golden age of parenting. Long gone are the days in which mothers and fathers turn to alphabet games or, in severe instances, duct tape, to entertain/subdue their children during long car trips (kidding, of course). The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica will introduce its Uconnect Theater, an infotainment system loaded with built-in game apps. The Cadillac CT6 sedan will allow occupants to stream live TV to their backseat via an Amazon TV or Google Chromecast stick.
Don’t have children? Fear not. There are plenty of options for the ‘kidult’ in all of us. Do you pride yourself in your superior music taste, and hate the term hipster? Well, there’s good news and bad news. Bad news is, you’re definitely a hipster. The good news is, Honda has kept you in mind when designing their 2017 model pickup trucks, converting the entire truck bed into a massive audio speaker. With six weatherproof audio exciters and a 540-watt audio system, it really makes me wonder how long John Cusack would have had to wait out in front of Ione Skye’s house in Say Anything if he had simply had a truck bed with which he could blast Peter Gabriel. I’m thinking, like, under a minute?
The latest tech upgrades aren’t all for play, however. Last year, Nissan introduced their predictive Forward Collision Warning system in the 2016 Maxima. This system allows for monitoring of the speed and proximity of the vehicle in front of it, and actively keeps tabs on the vehicle, auto-braking when necessary to avoid or lessen the effects of a potential collision. This year, Nissan will expand the use of this system into their redesigned Nissan Armada.
Volvo is also set to introduce new safety features to their vehicles this year, with the implementation of their Run-Off-Road Mitigation system in the Volvo S90. The intention of this system is to prevent a car from inadvertently veering off the side of the road, while also boasting an improved City Safety low-speed auto-brake function, enabling the vehicle to take control in avoiding anything from a car to a cyclist to a wandering elk.
George Orwell fans will be terrified to hear of how many 2017 model vehicles will possess multiple cameras. The Cadillac CT6 will literally have an onboard 360-degree video recorder, which I have to imagine won’t always be used with the best intentions in mind. Ford is joining in, placing seven video cameras around the F-150 truck for monitoring purposes. The safety benefits of such systems are obvious, but there is concern that these technologies can be hacked, and could present an influx of larger issues down the road (an even worse Transformers movie).
2017 will most notably introduce the game-changing vehicle-to-vehicle, or V2V system, starting in the Cadillac CTS. This system essentially allows vehicles to communicate with each other, and will likely be standard in every new vehicle going forward. With V2V, separate vehicles can communicate and share information about several driving condition factors, including weather, speed, sudden braking, accidents, as well as many others. What’s great about the introduction of V2V technology is that it will be an essential element to improving traffic flow in the future. Through a term referred to as ‘platooning,’ vehicles will be capable of driving close together at high speeds without accidents or slowdown.
The above-mentioned additions of 2017 are only a select handful of what we can expect in the near future. We exist in an exciting time for the auto industry. Sure, we’re not hover biking on the dunes of Mars, BUT, we now have the capability to literally watch the Dukes of Hazard while involved in a high-speed chase. So, you know, trade-offs. With every new innovation introduced to the auto industry, we bring ourselves one step closer to a fully-autonomous consumer automobile and, hopefully, a Running Man reality show that we ALL, secretly, really want to happen.
Check out more on Vehicle to Vehicle Communication.
What are your favorite tech additions for 2017? Let us know in the comments!