These are exciting times for automotive technology. The gadgets and gizmos that keep people safe, and enhance the driving experience are nothing short of amazing. Those self-driving cars that we imagined back in grade 4, are mere moments away. Features like alert systems, infotainment systems, GPS and smart suspension all come standard with today’s new cars, while an assortment of wonderful new implementations are in the pipeline. Not all of today’s technology is a hit though, some of it is pretty silly at best.
For example, artificial exhaust noise. Thanks to cabin insulation, cars are quieter than ever, especially electric cars. Some companies, such as BMW, feel that the driving experience has changed as a result, and now create fake exhaust noise, and even pipe it in through the car’s audio system. Fail.
Tesla is making incredible strides when it comes to technology, but who thought of the virtual buttons found in Tesla cars? There are no physical buttons to press or turn, only a touch screen. Let’s hope that screen never stops working properly.
Electric-powered doors are replacing mechanical door release mechanisms in some cars. However, if the car’s battery is dead, getting into the vehicle might be a problem. There are solutions, but they could be troublesome in an emergency.
Those stop-start systems help to conserve fuel when they turn the car off when idling, but that shaking they cause upon restart is just annoying after a while if you’re stopped by multiple red lights.
Keyless start systems are pretty handy, after all, you can start your car with your key in your pocket, or when you drop it between the seats. The problem is when you hand off your car to a valet with your key still in your pocket, leaving the valet unable to lock the car, or even maybe shut it off. There are safeguards, but it’s still annoying.
We know that restricted access features are for our own good, but we hate them. These are features that are unusable while driving. The idea is to not allow the driver to distract himself, but what about the front-seat passenger?
Screen displays are handy, but they still need a lot of work. For example, the back-up camera display hogs the entire screen, making it impossible to answer a phone call or adjust climate control until the car is out of the reverse position. Only mildly annoying, but surely better design and functionality is possible?
Cars are smart these days, too bad some of the warning systems are stupid. In particular, when something goes wrong, they override everything, including your screen and making it impossible to even change the radio station when there is an alert. Let’s hope a fix for this is on the way.
Finally, not everybody wants to read a screen. Please bring back paper manuals, at least as an option!