Until recently, the idea of self-driving cars was something you would only see in the latest sci-fi film. Today, the connected car is no longer a buzzword or futuristic concept. Self-driving cars are becoming a reality, with numerous developers and manufacturers demonstrating prototypes across the globe.
Vehicle manufacturers and technology companies are combining expertise to develop a more connected car – bringing Internet access and smartphone-like features into cars and trucks. Other companies, such as auto insurers and app developers, are also integrating in-car connectivity into their businesses.
In-vehicle apps are becoming more commonplace, both through built-in technology embedded in new cars, as well as through tethering smart devices to cars. One such app is Apple's recently launched "CarPlay", which allows drivers to use their iPhone through their car’s media and control systems. A driver can send a message, choose music by voice command or get directions quickly.
Driving into the future
While the behind-the-wheel driving experience will not be changing anytime soon, the roll-out of V2X technology will provide secure communication between cars, roadside infrastructure and even people.
Each car will be more aware of its environment, know when the lights are about to change and will “predict” if another car is heading into a collision. Driving is a task that requires focus and concentration. The Cabin Watch feature found on the new Honda Odyssey lets the driver see what people are doing in the back via a screen in the dash (and even has a night vision mode), while Cabin Talk enables drivers to speak to passengers through speakers in the car.
Electric cars are becoming very popular, which inevitably means there will be more batteries that need to be replaced. Such batteries tend to still have a lot of life left, but aren’t suitable for the high-performance world of electric vehicles. Totus Power is one company that finds new purposes for such batteries. They are retooled with more durable housing, then sold in developing markets. Recharged with solar panels, the batteries can run lights and gadgets, and claim a lifespan of at least five years.
Distraction while driving is a controversial topic. The solution may be GoPoint Nix. This USB device is plugged into the car’s USB port and syncs with your phone. Once the car starts moving faster than 10km/h, GoPoint will lock the phone’s screen. It will also notify others if it is removed from the USB port.
Jaguar's latest release, the F-Pace, comes standard with Jaguar's latest driving technology called "InControl". This is Jaguar's suite of advanced technologies that links the driver and the F‑Pace to the wider world. Features include state-of-the-art technology such as optional Head-Up Display and Activity Key, as well as advanced driving aids to make every journey easier and more relaxed.
Your chance to win
Signing up for an iPhone 6 on a Smart + or Red + plan with Vodacom puts you into the draw to win a Jaguar F-Pace, one of Jaguar's new line of connected cars.