10 Futuristic Features That Will Be in Every Car by 2017

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Technology’s relentless march has transformed the home and the office. The Internet of Things is becoming a reality. And we’re all connected, too. From tablets and smartphones to personal fitness trackers and more, technology has become an incredibly important part of our everyday life. That holds true for our cars as well. If it’s been a while since you looked at the auto market, you might be surprised at some of the technology that’s beginning to become commonplace. Here are 10 features that will be standard in almost every vehicle by the year 2017.

10. In-Car Wi-Fi

Today, in-car Wi-Fi is available, but not particularly widespread. You’ll find it offered in some higher end models, but it’s not really commonplace. That will change by 2017, and it will be the rare model that doesn’t offer at least basic connectivity. What can you do with this tech? Imagine being able to upload that presentation without leaving the car or draining your cell phone’s data plan. Get ready for this technology to make it much easier to stay connected on the go.

9. Android and Apple

Android and Apple

Both Google and Apple are interested in getting into the automotive segment, and their efforts are directed to much more than self-driving cars. Look for Siri and Google Maps to come to your in-dash infotainment system by 2017. In fact, many automakers expect these systems to replace the OEM solutions currently provided. You may find Microsoft getting into the act as well. If Apple brings Siri to the car, then why shouldn’t MS bring their hit assistant Cortana, too?

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8. Parking Assist

Who doesn’t loathe having to parallel park? It’s a nightmare even if you’re experienced with it. By 2017, most of us won’t have to worry about that problem. There are several systems already on the market that offer some degree of parking assist, but look for them to get much more robust in the next year or two.

7. No More Buttons

Buttons have been the traditional form of in-car control for a long time, but companies are looking to phase out those ubiquitous buttons, in favor of touch technology. Both Tesla and Volkswagen have sophisticated touch systems on the market now (both in concept cars and in production vehicles), and you can look for other automakers to begin adopting this technology on a wider scale. It’ll go far beyond a touchscreen infotainment system, and allow you to control all aspects of the car with touch and gestures.

6. Laser Lights

Sure, our headlights have gotten progressively brighter over time (we’ve all been blinded by those “super blues” at some point). However, laser technology promises not only better light emission, but amazing control over where that light falls on the road, allowing you to see better and creating better safety for drivers, passengers and even pedestrians. This tech faces a few challenges, though, including changing US laws so they would be legal on our roadways.

5. Self-Driving Cars

Ok, this one might sound like a far-off dream if you haven’t been keeping up with the news about autonomous cars. They’re on their way, and they’ll be here sooner than you think. In fact, many experts predict that 2017 will be the year they really come into their own. Even conventional cars will have some autonomous aspects, too, from parking to automated braking and more.

4. Bye-Bye Physical Gauges

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Many cars on the road have already done away with physical gauge clusters, but 2017 should mark an almost complete departure. LCD systems will become the norm, thanks in large part to advances made by Sharp (as well as other technology companies). Free-form LCDs provide designers with the flexibility they need, as well as ensuring that drivers have access to all the information they need at a glance.

3. Rearview Cameras

These are already here, but by 2017, they should become standard equipment available for no additional cost. That’s because the NHTSA has mandated that automakers include these on all vehicles under 10,000 pounds by 2018. Most have gotten a jump on it, but you’ll find them everywhere by 2017. They offer significantly better safety by removing dangerous blind spots.

2. Auto Braking

As much as we might think we’re better than machines when it comes to recognizing threats in our environment, we really aren’t. Auto braking systems work in conjunction with other technology aboard your car to help eliminate needless accidents. They’re designed primarily for low-speed situations, but they can help to reduce the severity of even high-speed crashes on the highway. Like most of the tech on this list, these systems are already out there, but they’ll become much more common by 2017.

1. OLED Lighting

LED technology might be the most advanced right now, but look for that to change. OLED (organic LEDs) will be taking their place within your car’s interior and even on the exterior by 2017. They offer power savings, excellent light emission and they last an enormously long time. They can also be built into almost any shape imaginable, so you can expect some very interesting adaptations of this lighting technology from some forward-thinking automakers.

There you have it – 10 technology features that will be filtering down to most vehicles by 2017. Of course, there are many others out there that have either started to make inroads into the industry, or are in the testing and development phase. Some of those include driver side heads-up displays (which project your dials and gauges onto the windshield), cloud technology, and even wireless charging for hybrids and electric cars – VW is testing an inductive charging system for their vehicles, and Tesla is doing something similar. Whether you’re buying on a budget or looking for high-end luxury, you can bet that technology is going to be a major part of your next car.