It’s hard to imagine driving through life without technology. Once upon a time, motorists had to use paper maps to get from A to B, and the only source of entertainment was the local radio station or cassette player.
And no, this wasn’t what life was like centuries ago – although sometimes it feels like it. This was just the 1990s!
Sam Sheehan, motoring expert at cinch, the leading online car marketplace, said: “We should all show a bit of gratitude for modern in-car technology. It’s made the commuting experience much more convenient and enjoyable and continues to do so with each invention and upgrade.
“It’s not just the latest Audi A3 vehicles and fanciest, most expensive Mercedes cars either. Much of this technology is becoming a standard feature in all vehicles.”
In-car technology comes in very handy, considering just how much time we spend in our vehicles. In fact, UK cars drive an average of 20 miles per day, which equates to 7,400 miles per year. That’s roughly the same as driving from London to Zambia!
Here, cinch explores how in-car technology is transforming the commuting experience.
While drivers shouldn’t rely on technology to keep them safe (nothing can replace skill, experience, and common sense!), these handy tools can provide a safety net and additional peace of mind.
For example, a lane detection warning system can enhance your safety when driving down a busy motorway. The sensors signal when you start to drift out of your own lane and alert you in the event of an unintended lane change. This is a handy alert if you are tired or you lose concentration momentarily.
Safety-boosting technology also includes blind spot monitoring, automatic headlights, autobrakes and rear cross-traffic warnings.
Recent data shows there are around 126,247 road accidents across the UK each year, and while some incidents are unavoidable, the use of new safety features undoubtedly contributes to safer roads.
Such features can be invaluable in all driving scenarios, but most importantly those that occur in bad weather, late at night, or long-haul journeys.
Drivers must be always alert while behind the wheel – but being entertained doesn’t always mean being distracted.
In fact, having no means of entertainment while driving can actually have the opposite effect, especially for drivers who are stuck on long trips alone.
Spending significant time alone doing such a repetitive action can encourage feelings of distraction, boredom, depression and fatigue. This can increase the chances of an accident or collision.
Fortunately, there are various in-car devices and systems that can offer just enough leisure to keep drivers engaged throughout their journey.
Streaming audio technology mean motorists can receive the very best sound quality and seamless playback, making listening to music and podcasts that much more enjoyable.
By connecting your phone to your car, you can also make use of various apps while you drive.
It’s illegal to be on your phone while driving, but the introduction of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allowes you to send messages, make notes, reminders and control your phone using voice commands, using hands-free Bluetooth.
The rise in technology has led to journeys being significantly more entertaining, not just for the driver but for passengers too.
Driving can be tiring and uncomfortable, which is where comfort-boosting technology becomes critical for safety and pleasure.
Vehicle manufacturers have long been designing and implementing technology to help motorists feel more comfortable. These include:
Cruise control – This system can relieve foot-fatigue by allowing drivers to take their foot off the accelerator, with cruise control letting you set a specific speed that the car then maintains.
Climate control – Set and forget. This clever system automatically monitors the temperature inside the vehicle. Once you select the temperature you want, climate control will use the air-con, fan and heater to reach this temperature and maintain it.
Heated seats – There’s nothing worse than sitting in a freezing-cold car and waiting (for what feels like an age!) for the cabin to heat up. Fortunately, heated seats warm up much more quickly than the rest of the car, so you can get cosy while you wait. They also offer relief from stiffness during long drives.
The daily commute is no longer the chore it once was
There’s always something we’d rather be doing instead of driving, but technology is making daily commutes a lot more convenient, comfortable and congenial.
The travelling part of reaching a destination is unavoidable, whether that be the office, supermarket, children’s school, or hotel.
Now, we can actually look forward to these journeys, or – if that’s too much of a stretch – at least tolerate them much better than those pre-tech days.
We’ve come a long, long way from popping in a cassette tape and reaching for the A-Z Road Atlas kept in the glove compartment.
This is an incredibly exciting time to be a driver, and we can’t wait to see the technology that will exist another 30 years from now.