Five new amazing car technologies which haven’t reached South Africa yet.

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kingr
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Five new amazing car technologies which haven’t reached South Africa yet.

Post by kingr »

As we all know, technology is moving in leaps and bounds, and it's often difficult to keep up. From cassette tapes to CD shuttles to MP3 Players, and now streaming, car entertainment features have come a long way in the last few years. At the moment, all the car manufacturers have been adding more and more tech to entice customers, and the results have been astonishing. The word "infotainment" didn't even exist until recently, yet now it is a universally used term when talking about a car's multimedia system, and can mean anything from a standard touchscreen to an advanced premium multimedia system.

Thanks to the rapid advances in technology, and connectivity, it's no longer just about listening to music in the car, or having a computer box quietly working without being noticed. In today's cars, the computer's actively involved in all aspects of the drive to get the best out of the vehicle and to increase safety. Some of the fantastic technologies that have come out in the last few years that have changed everything are:



· Onboard GPS navigation

· Touchscreens

· Bluetooth connectivity

· Rearview cameras

· Adaptive cruise control

· Lane departure warning

· Autonomous emergency braking

· Blind Spot Detection

These features and more have changed the way cars work, and the way that we drive, but what can we expect in the next few years? What features are available in other countries, but are only making their way to South Africa now?

1. Amazon Alexa Compatibility
Amazon Alexa assistant was first found on their Echo home devices but has now made it into cars. Some cars have Alexa compatibility from the factory, while there is also an option to add it by getting an Echo Auto device, which can connect to the smartphone Alexa app and plays through the car speakers. While still not in use much in South Africa, Alexa Auto allows the driver to issue voice commands to control car functions like starting the engine, heating the seats, or adjusting the climate control, while sitting in their homes. In houses that are wired, it’s possible to issue voice commands from the car to lock the door, switch off the lights and more. It can also make restaurant bookings, update your calendar to-do lists, or even set reminders.

For now, South Africans can make do with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which allow smartphone integration in many of the new cars on the market.

2. Car Curfews
As cars become more connected, they become easier to monitor, especially if you have children, or if it’s a company car. Car manufacturers are installing software such as VW’s Car-Net, Subaru’s Starlink, and Kia’s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kia_Uvo
UVO[/color]
, which allow curfews to be set on them. If the car is driven after curfew, then alerts will appear on the smartphone app. In the case of Kia's UVO, not only can a curfew be set, but also a top speed and a geofence, which means that if the car leaves a specific predetermined area, the app can notify the owner. These apps can not only monitor authorised drivers but can also be used as an anti-theft device because of being able to track the car in real time. Other apps like HondaLink can get a service agent to check up on the driver if it detects an Automatic Collision Notification. It even has a parking reminder so that you can never lose the parking again, and also schedule services, as well as appointments.


3. Traffic Sign Assist
Certain Mercedes Benz models in South Africa already have this feature, and it is becoming common elsewhere as well. Traffic Sign Assist uses a camera in the front of the car to read the upcoming road signs and alerts the driver accordingly. If the driver is in heavy traffic, in low light conditions, tired, or even driving fast, it can be easy to miss a sign for an off-ramp, or a speed limit sign. The Road Sign Assist monitors the road ahead and using stored information determines the shapes of the signs, as well as their symbols and alerts the driver. By doing this, the driver is more likely to obey the rules of the road and be a safer driver. A similar driver assist technology that reads the road ahead and is already in locally available cars is Autonomous Emergency Braking, which uses cameras and sensors to detect that a potential accident is about to occur, and then stop automatically to avoid it. Certain cars like the Volvo XC60 even have the ability to use their steering wheel, as well as brakes to prevent a potential collision.

4. Electric Mainstream
Not long ago electric cars were more a novelty rather than a practical choice mainly because of their low driving range, as well as high costs, and with the earlier versions, strange looking designs. Just a couple of years ago most manufacturers in South Africa didn’t offer any fully electric vehicles let alone hybrids, but the tide is slowly turning, and as electric cars get more practical, they will be more common. In theory, they should be in demand because of their phenomenal torque on take-off, fuel saving and money saving features, as well as being eco-friendly. Unfortunately, none of those benefits can beat practicality, and that's why electric vehicles haven’t taken off until now.
New electric cars for sale in South Africa such as the Jaguar iPace, which recently impressed in the Jaguar Simola Hill Climb has a range of 470 km, while the Mercedes EQC has a range of 354 km. By having a decent range for most day to day travelling, as well as being able to get an adequate charge in a short amount of time due to DC fast chargers, electric cars are becoming more appealing and widespread in other countries, but have failed to take off in South Africa.

One of the main prohibiting factors is that most of the electric cars available in South Africa are still expensive with the Jaguar iPace starting at R1,6 million and even the Nissan Leaf with a range of only 195 km starting at over R500 000. Another prohibiting factor in South Africa is the lack of infrastructure in the form of charging stations, but this is slowly being addressed, and hopefully, we'll be seeing some of the new generation of electric cars which are making waves overseas like the VW E-Golf, Kia Niro EV, and the Hyundai Kona EV. Every new trend starts off small and then reaches a tipping point to become mainstream. While electric cars are still far from becoming mainstream in South Africa, they are taking off in a big way overseas.

5. Onboard Wi-Fi

Since we are now reliant on connectivity everywhere we go, it was just a matter of time until cars came with their own Wi-Fi hotspots. Most new cars are already offering smartphone integration, but most of these systems rely on the phone's data to connect to the internet. Cars with built-in Wi-Fi are already common overseas, and the owner normally has to take out a contract with either the vehicle manufacturer or an affiliated internet service provider. Some cars such as some Fords with a MyFord Touch infotainment can actually connect to surrounding Wi-Fi networks and then create a hotspot in the car. In South Africa, some of the latest cars like new 3-series have added Wi-Fi hotspots as optional extras.

For now, cars with Wi-Fi are mainly used for user devices, but in the future, it will be used for cars to talk to each other about road conditions, weather conditions, or even the current traffic situation in a particular area. It will also be used for software updates and real-time diagnostics so the car can report a fault before it arises.

The Holy Grail?
At the moment the race is on for companies to develop self-driving cars, and while many are being tested, there aren't any completely self-driving cars available commercially. Yes, there are features like adaptive cruise control, automatic parking, and other driver aids that can control the car, but ultimately, the driver is still responsible and in control. The self-driving cars that are currently being tested like the Google Car use a combination of radar, cameras, GPS, as well as Artificial Intelligence to perceive their surroundings and make decisions on what to do based on a massive amount of calculations. Self-driving cars are still a few years away from being used by everyday motorists, even in the most advanced countries, so it’s a long, long time before they will land in South Africa.

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Re: Five new amazing car technologies which haven’t reached South Africa yet.

Post by Abnormal »

kingr wrote:
Mon Jul 01, 2019 1:53 pm

The Holy Grail?
At the moment the race is on for companies to develop self-driving cars, and while many are being tested, there aren't any completely self-driving cars available commercially. Yes, there are features like adaptive cruise control, automatic parking, and other driver aids that can control the car, but ultimately, the driver is still responsible and in control. The self-driving cars that are currently being tested like the Google Car use a combination of radar, cameras, GPS, as well as Artificial Intelligence to perceive their surroundings and make decisions on what to do based on a massive amount of calculations. Self-driving cars are still a few years away from being used by everyday motorists, even in the most advanced countries, so it’s a long, long time before they will land in South Africa.

Tesla already has commercially available self driving cars. (although not available in SA)
\Oo) \ _w_ / (oO/

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