Current in-car entertainment and future tech
In-car entertainment and technology has come a long way since 1930 when the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation introduced the first Motorola AM car radio. We take a look at some current in-car innovation and at what the future may hold.
If your car is a basic model and more than five years old, chances are that you have a standard radio/CD-player combination without Bluetooth or a USB port. You can inch your car towards today’s current tech (admittedly by a small increment) by installing a simple Bluetooth hands-free device that allows you to make and receive calls without having to fiddle with your phone.
However, unless your regular calls are made to highly engaging or comical individuals “Honey, do you want me to pick up some milk on the way home?” doesn’t quite qualify we suggest something with additional features. By installing a new car stereo that has built-in Bluetooth technology with music-streaming functionality, you’ll have a few more options. This will give you full control of your phone from your radio and you can play music or listen to audiobooks from your phone or iPod.
Price Parrot CK3000 Bluetooth Handsfree Kit R1 700 Pioneer FH-X775BT 2Din Bluetooth iPod USB AUX CD Player R2 600
These prices exclude fitment.
2. Headrest or roof-mounted DVD Players
To make long journeys with children – like travelling on the N1 through the Karoo or along the Trans-Kalahari highway in Botswana – a bit more pleasurable, why not install a DVD player? Adult passengers can enjoy the benefits, too.
You get a 10-inch motorised flip down, roof-mounted DVD player with a USB port and an SD slot, allowing you to watch stored digital media in addition to DVDs. Or, a similar device can be installed within the back of the front headrests. Alternatively, you can fit an Android multimedia headrest with screen, which has internet connectivity through Wi-Fi and 3G but no DVD player.
Price 9-inch Android multimedia headrest R2 600 10.2-inch motorised flip down/roof-mount DVD R3 795
3. CASKA in–car entertainment
If you don’t have all the bells and whistles in your regular ride but would like them, Caska aftermarket entertainment systems are the perfect way to get current tech into your car without the need to upgrade your whole vehicle. Caska has a huge range that is customised to all the popular vehicle manufacturers’ cars. You can get a seven-inch touchscreen, compatible with all iPhone and iPods, with built in hands-free Bluetooth functionality that has a phonebook download and music streaming and navigation.
The Caska car multimedia and navigation systems claim to be the only aftermarket touchscreen SatNavs with live traffic updates that currently service Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. Each system is fully plug and play and there are optional extras that can be integrated, too. These include a tyre- pressure monitoring system, park distance control, reverse camera, TomTom mapping, Tracks4Africa, Caska digital video recorder and a licence plate rear-view camera.
Price R12 999 (including installation)
4. Active Window Displays
Head-up Display (HUD) is already a feature in certain cars, such as the Audi Q7 and the Jaguar F-Pace. Transparent speed, navigation and cruise control notifications are projected onto the windscreen directly in front of the driver so that you can view this information without taking your eyes off the road. Car manufacturers are experimenting with next-generation HUDs and this Active Window Display (AWD) technology was showcased at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas.
Vibrant images (that are still transparent) are displayed on the windshield and because cars will be receiving information from outside the vehicles, warning signals can be shown flashing on the windscreen. AWD can also link to Google and Apple app services, allowing apps to be displayed on the windshield and controlled with hand gestures (3D gesture control) and voice recognition systems.
5. Three-Dimensional Gesture Control
Three-dimensional (3D) gesture control sounds futuristic but it is available in the 2016 BMW 7-series sedan, complementing the existing touch screen infotainment systems. Limited functions can be operated using 3D gesturing, such as swiping or pointing at an area above the centre console to accept or reject incoming phone calls.
You can also adjust volume by moving your index finger in a circular motion. If this technology catches on and more car manufacturers implement it, the biggest challenge for a system like this will be to distinguish between intended hand gestures and random movements, thus avoiding unintended commands.
6. Personalised in-car marketing
This development is a bittersweet one. Just about everyone hates being bombarded by advertising and yet, with current Facebook, Twitter and Gmail ads based on your behaviour, something occasionally pops up that is exactly what you’re looking for. It’s estimated that the average car will be fully connected to the internet by 2020, which will mean that marketers will be able to target you in your vehicle.
Although this may seem excessively intrusive, the technology has potential benefits. Imagine that you’re running low on fuel in an unfamiliar neighbourhood and your car not only displays which petrol stations are close, but offers directions, shows the fuel price and other special offers running at nearby filling stations. Hopefully there will be the choice to opt-in or out, leaving it up to you whether you want personalised, location-based ads in your vehicle’s display.