I am a gadget freak. And I admit it! I always buy the latest of every device with a battery, keyboard or at least an ON-button! So I have a lot of those playing tools in my drawers and cabinets.
Last time I bought a new car it was the number of gadgets and digital stuff in the dashboard that made me decide. Minimum I need to have integrated navigation, iPod, iPhone and of course a stereo.
I had that in my former BMW and I have that today in my Ford Kuga SUV. In my Jaguar X-type (miss that one) I had a built in phone, no iPod or iPhone integration. But the nice thing was that I could even read text messages on the display. And from the navigation I could also call up hotels on my way – and everything was touch screen.
But technology is moving fast. There are new innovations every day. My own employer, IBM, is the world leader regarding new patents – and has been so for 18 years!
I will soon be changing my car as the lease contract ends after summer. So what would I like to find in the new car’s dashboard?
Earlier this year, Fortune, brought an interesting article called «Rebooting the dashboard» written by Matt Vella. Here is what he predicts for digital automobile dashboards in the future (included my comments):
Video Calling: Cameras placed in the dashboard for placing and receiving videoconference calls, much like Apple FaceTime. (I have already used Apple FaceTime while driving my own car with the iPhone mounted on the dashboard. It worked great, but please don’t tell the police!) In Bentley’s implementation, video calls work only when the car is parked. Shifting into gear transfers the call to voice only.
Configurable Instruments: Instrumentation can be fully customized. Chevrolet’s next generation Corvette offers a track mode, for instance, in which a large graphic of the high-performance car’s torque band takes center stage.
Energy Use: Some Ford hybrids feature a data-visualization tool intended to improve the way people drive. Images of curling vines bloom with green leaves to indicate economical driving. But agressive acceleration or braking causes them to wither.
Apps Everywhere: At this year’s CES, Ford announced it would open up its vehicles to developers much as Goggle and Apple have with their phones. BMW’s upcoming i3 electric vehicle features a companion app of its own. (Oh, Yes! I would like that. I certainly would love to have my IBM Notes email, my to-do list, my IBM Connections, my IBM SmartCloud, my Evernote – all those that help me organize my life – popping up on my display when I drive. Not to respond to them, which could be the end of my life in the traffic, but only to get the warnings about things I have to remember).
Vehicle Diagnostics: A detailed display of the car’s wheels (well, I really know there are at least four of them, already), engine, and batteries shows what’s going on below the sheet metal in real time. That type of information can be crucial for four-wheel-drive vehicles navigating deep mud, sand or snow. (Snow driving is a special sport that needs training, four-wheel-drive or not. Come to Norway during winter – we have the snow, the wild roads and the skills. We are natural born skiers and snow drivers).
Smart Interfaces: Motion detectors sense a hand approaching touch-sensitive areas, enabling the interface to transform accordingly. (Jeez, is he talking about my body?) Cadillac’s CUE system, for instance, hides buttons when a driver has both hands on the wheel, cutting clutter.
Heads-Up Display: Externally mounted cameras display not only what’s behind the vehicle when it’s backing up (I have one of those and it is fantastic – especially if you have a stiff neck), but also what’s on the ground on either side (I certainly would like that). Infiniti’s system broadcasts a 360-degree view of the ground around the vehicle to avoid accidents.
Huge Displays: Forget squinting to read a minuscule GPS display. New vehicles like the hot-selling Tesla Model S feature gigantic screens akin to a 17-inch laptop’s. That allows fore more PC-like interfaces that can display large maps or entire web pages. (Yeah! I certainly would love to get my 27-inch iMac integrated in my dashboard, but then I guess there would not be space for the windshield).
So, Dear Reader! What would You like to integrate I your car’s dashboard? Feel free to comment!