Cars in '08 to be most wired ever
Bluetooth, digital music player support, and navigation will come standard on a record number of consumer cars next year.
A survey released today says the 2008 model year will yield the highest percentage of gadget-filled cars in history.
The study, conducted by Telematics Research Group (TRG) and based on 100 cars announced for the 2008 model year, says almost 70 percent of cars for sale in North America will offer voice-activated, hands-free Bluetooth phone support. Navigation systems will come standard in 80 percent of announced MY08 models.
Portable music player support will also be at an all-time high. According to TRG's Technology Availability Index, 50 percent of cars will have direct iPod connectivity, and 90 percent will have auxiliary input and/or flash memory interfaces. (Not too long ago, those of us wanting to connect our iPods directly to our cars had to shell out around $300 for a stereo shop to install a third-party solution.) Some automakers are also taking a chance on the growing popularity of USB; 20 percent of upcoming models will offer support.
Other technology becoming more widespread in new cars includes safety systems like parking assistance; 60 percent of cars will have ultrasonic park assist as standard or optional equipment. Camera-assisted parking will be available on 30 percent of MY08 vehicles.
TRG named the 2008 BMW 5 series the most technologically advanced vehicle in world for that model year. According to the survey, it has the highest number of electronic features and gadgets available as standard or optional equipment. The German car beat out the Lexus LS-460, which led the pack in the '07 model year.