A New Kind of Smart Car

As smart phones continue to take the world by storm, automobiles are beginning to adapt to the technology in widespread form. According to Pew Internet Research, about 56% of people own a smart phone, showing that the high-tech mobile device continues to be on the rise. That doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon, and automobile makers realize that, too. As a result, the integration of smart phones into automobiles is occurring at a rapid rate. As this partnership between smart phones and automobiles becomes more rampant, consumers are likely to become more aware of the features (and concerns) below:

What Is the Value of Car “Infotainment”?

Some are using the word “infotainment” to refer to the convergence of information and entertainment on modern media like smart phones. Now, the functionality of “infotainment” within automobiles is affecting the price point. Car dealerships typically promote features like smart phone integration on vehicles that have them. This is due to both the popularity of smart phones and consumers’ increased willingness to purchase items based on technological sleekness.

Whereas cars used to be valued for their safety and quality of parts, “infotainment” has become a prominent selling point. It’s interesting to wonder how “infotainment” features within vehicles will impact their value in the future.

Big Company Collaborations Are Imminent

Partnerships between smart phone manufacturers and automobile makers are already on the rise. Google already plans to bring Android to several vehicles in 2014, while many vehicles already utilize hands-free iPhone functionality by using voice control to allow drivers to call their friends, change the song playing or find directions without taking their hands off the steering wheel.

This feature is already being ushered into vehicles with very few issues. This suggests that this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. After all, Apple has already teamed up with names like Nissan, Ferrari, Infiniti, Hyundai, Volvo, Honda and many more to offer “iOS in the Car.”

Can Phones Become the New Car Key?

Apple’s most recent iPhone introduced fingerprint technology to the mobile arena, suggesting that smart phones may have many future security benefits. Using your mobile device as a car key or method to turn on your car from inside a building – such as when you’d like to get the heat going on a cold day – is already possible on vehicles like Nissan’s 100% electric LEAF.

In the future, automobile drivers can expect functionality like this, in addition to constant 4G connectivity and other embedded technology. You may even be able to equip an old Mustang with embeddable add-ons in the future.

Central Console Screens Will Become the Norm

Several years ago, a video screen between the driver and passenger seats often signified a top-of-the-line car that approached six digits in value. Today, it’s becoming relatively common to see more affordable cars with the same functionality, primarily because it costs less today to manufacture such technology in automobiles.

Throughout the next several years, consumers can expect automobiles to prominently feature these monitors. They will offer mostly everything a smart phone can – from directions and rear-view cameras to internet, music and weather. It’s just worth wondering how much of a distraction they will be to drivers.

So, what future advancements can we expect the next decade in the automobile industry?

While the distant future may offer technology like self-driving vehicles, more recent technology aims to make the driving experience easier than ever until we reach that point. In the meantime, rising infotainment value, collaborations between smart phone and automobile makers, additional smart phone-automobile security integration and central console prominence will likely be rampant trends in the automobile industry throughout the next decade. It should be an exciting time for smart phone fans and car aficionados alike.