Carmakers differentiating through technology

by Gadjo Sevilla

Let’s face it, in-vehicle technology is one of the few areas that car manufacturers coming out of an economic recession can differentiate their models and get users excited about buying new vehicles. In-vehicle communications and entertainment systems offer varied forms of voice control, Internet and e-mail features as well as advanced GPS, car security and safety features.

Gadjo Sevilla

The internal combustion engine, while quite evolved, is a 100-year-old invention. Hybrid technology is still in the early adopter stage, it is promising but prohibitively expensive and requires support from governments and costly infrastructure to back it up.

Horsepower, acceleration, top speed are all mercurial features that look great on paper but aren’t as important in the day-to-day as carbon footprints, gas consumption figures and mileage.

Tech is where it’s at right now. This year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show) saw unprecedented attention given to car manufacturers who introduced compelling tech-heavy features in their latest models. These weren’t prototypes or pie-in-the-sky concept cars either but production models slated for release this year. Vehicles are the new IT platform, they’re getting smarter and more connected.

We ran a number of stories covering this latest trend. Technology on Wheels at the Canadian International Auto Show focused on all the new tech from GM, Ford, Kia, Mercedes and others who are ushering a new era of high tech heavy vehicles. BMW aims for cars to take e-mail dictation was a another feature that showed voice-to-text email technology is empowering drivers and passengers with communication options while keeping their eyes on the road.

On the flip side, a cautionary story,  Car hackers can disable brakes, change speedometer, prevent doors from opening focused on the very real possibility of car computers being hacked which also applies to all the new technology that’s coming down the pipe.

We also ran a poll  asking you, our readers, “How important will tech features be in determining the next car that you buy?” and the results speak for themselves.

49 per cent said  Very Important

30 per cent said Somewhat Important

8  per cent said  Not at all Important
In-vehicle technology is more than a trend. What technology matters most to you as a driver and a passenger?  We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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