In honour of Star Wars Day on 4th May, we’re casting our eyes to the stars above and the galaxies beyond to see what kind of gadgetry we can expect in the cars of tomorrow.
We shine a light on six of the most innovative driving technologies we’re excited about in the not-too-distant future.
2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS: MBUX Hyperscreen
This hi-tech dashboard has the future written all over it. Available as an option in the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS electric sedan, the MBUX Hyperscreen integrates three AI-enhanced screens into a single glass panel.
The MBUX system is seriously smart. Based on your driving behaviour, suggestions will be displayed on screen—for instance, phone numbers of contacts you’re likely to call at a specific time. The car can also store the locations of speed bumps and steep driveways, and issue recommendations via the infotainment system for you to raise the car's ride height to clear the obstacle ahead.
The all-new EV is expected to be released in Australia in December 2021.
BMW iDrive 8 Infotainment System
The latest version of BMW’s iDrive infotainment system has been revealed, due to debut in the BMW iX fully electric SUV at the end of the year.
The new BMW Operating System 8 is the most intelligent yet, tailoring itself to your specific driving needs by remembering your preference for the way the car performs on the road, including drive mode, transmission control, steering, suspension, and artificial engine sounds.
It’s like your very own personal assistant, responding to your simple voice commands to adapt conditions inside to suit your comfort, for instance modifying cabin temperature and ambient lighting.
The new system will operate across the BMW Curved Display, integrating a 12.3-inch information screen and a 14.9-inch control screen.
Apple Car Key
BMW owners are expected to be among the first to unlock and start their vehicles with nothing but their iPhone. Apple’s new Car Key capability enables you to pair your vehicle with an iPhone and securely store a ‘digital key’.
Once you’ve set up Car Key on your iPhone and paired it to your car, you can simply touch the phone to the door handle to gain access. Car Key will also work with the Apple Watch (Series 5).
What’s more, up to five other people can be granted access to the same car, using a digital approval system, and you’ll be able to restrict the vehicle’s power, top speed and audio volume.
The first manufacturer to sign onto the new tech is BMW who have rolled out the feature on a number of models, ahead of wider adoption by other car makers in 2021, so stay tuned!
Genesis GV70 Fingerprint Authentication
Hyundai’s new luxury arm Genesis has taken personalisation and convenience to a whole new level. While the G70 and G80 sedans have been available in Australia since 2019, it’s the tech inside the new GV70—due in showrooms before the middle of 2021—that has heads truly turning.
Among its bevy of smart technologies, the fingerprint recognition system is perhaps the most impressive. Once your fingerprints are registered via the infotainment system, you can easily configure and store your own customised profile of ideal driving and comfort settings, enabling fast and easy switching between you and other drivers.
Panasonic Augmented Reality Head-Up Display
At the recent 2021 Consumer Electronics Show, Panasonic wowed crowds by debuting its very own futuristic augmented reality head-up display. The new technology uses artificial intelligence to detect and highlight potential hazards on the road like pedestrians, cyclists, bridges or a vehicle suddenly appearing. Information is projected into your line of sight in crystal-clear 4K resolution.
The only catch? You might be in for a little bit of a wait—no official date has been given by the company as to when we can expect to see the tech appearing in vehicles, but there is talk that it may be a reality as of 2023.
Gentex Full Display Rearview Smart Mirror
Rearview mirrors seem to be the latest in-car equipment being given the hi-tech treatment. Global tech company Gentex has unveiled its Full Display Rearview Smart Mirror, signalling a trend that could see the bulky dashcam relegated to the past.
The intelligent rear-vision system uses a custom camera and mirror-integrated video display to help you keep track of what’s going on behind and in front of your vehicle, while even keeping tabs on your passengers in the rear seats. Not only does it help you remain focused on the road, the system can also record footage in the event of an accident.
Gentex has not yet confirmed a release date—but it’s suspected car brands will be eagerly lining up to incorporate the new product, or at least their own versions of the ‘smart mirror’.