We're awash in a lot of amazing technologies in cars these days.
Much of it transformational, and a lot of crap.
Not that the ideas aren't good, but a lot of it's got a little ways to go to be ready for prime time.
So let's take a look at my Top 5 list of in-car tech that is not quite ready to come out of the oven.
There's so many that came to mind, I'm actually gonna give you a bonus and start with number six.
And that would be, so-called keyless access.
Now let me get this right.
Car keys have become bigger, heavier, require batteries and are far more expensive to replace, all so we can carry them around and not ever touch them?
That's not keyless access.
That's something weird.
Keyless access needs to progress soon to be something based on our phones, clearly, but with a backup path.
That might be biometric on the outside of the car, as long as you still have power.
Or, to be honest, we're still gonna need the flat metal key for when the thing is completely dead and I just gotta get in.
Number 5 are all these new-fangled ways of changing the gear you're in.
We're getting knobs, we're getting push buttons, we're getting all these things that are a little more nuanced than the old PRNBL lever.
Now I got it, the old lever were the linkage, waste a lot of valuable interior space.
But some of these new ways of doing the same thing require me to think a little too much and look and confirm, they're too subtle.
Something like reverse, or park, or drive has high stakes around it.
It should be something I can positively engage, with a little muscle memory, and feel alone.
Number four is a technology that I have great hope for, just not too crazy about it right now.
And that is the head-up display.
In most cases, it varies somewhere between being useless and obvious.
Mm, we haven't got the full fruition here yet.
Now coming soon, look for cars like the new Lexus LS and even the new Camry to push the boundaries on the size of a head up display.
That'll be one big march forward.
The next wave will start to borrow techniques from augmented reality.
Allowing indications, and augmentations to be in contextual location on the windshield.
In other words, they'll sit where they should be that tell me about what I'm seeing outside the glass.
It won't be long from now when the windshield is doing more than keeping out just bugs and rain.
Number three is current lane departure technology, which is a little bit of lame departure You know, sometimes it will beep at you, with the beep that sounds like every other beep, or it will prevent you from making a lane change that you do want to make, it just didn't feel like turning the turn signal.
These systems have to get better about scanning the traffic around you, not just the line, and what kind of a line are you crossing?
What color, how many of them are there, what's its dottedness?
Also, I think, gaze detection has to fold in here pretty soon, so the vehicle can start to understand, what am I looking at, and thinking,as I make that lane change?
Do I wanna do that, or am I actually asleep?
Number two gets my goat all the time.
It's auto start/stop technology.
One day we're going to look back at this and say, who the hell came up with that idea?
Even in some very pricey cars you'll find this, and it makes the car feel like you're driving a wet dog after a bath.
Shakes the whole thing from nose to tail, not pleasant.
Now it does work.
It does save fuel and reduce emissions, but there's gotta be a better way.
And that will come with increased hybridization.
So cars will do their single digit speeds on Under electric motor, and then while they're under way, very, very transparently refire the combustion engine.
[SOUND] Now before I take you to el sucko numero uno, here is one that definitely is not in that list.
Automatic emergency braking.
I think it's the biggest innovation in safety since the airbag, anti-lock brakes, and stability control, and the feds agree.
That's why they've gotten carmakers to basically Go wall to wall on this in just a few short years.
Now, yes it does have some false positives from time to time, and it's not gonna catch every instance, where you should break and don't know it.
But, there's almost no downside, it's almost always acrited to safety.
This one's sharp.
The number one half baked technology in cars today has to be that CENTER STACK interface.
Car makers and their suppliers still think they're pretty good at this and basically they're not.
Now here's the thing, they make you dig through menu's to dig through simple things or use stilted voice command that makes you ponder what is the difference between idiot, imbecile and moron.
It's in your dash one way or the other.
This is what Apple and Google do so well, they always will, they're better at QI than and they know me better.
Than you will.
Now I get it, carmakers, you don't like them very much, cause they're trying to steal the relationship between you and the buyers of your car.
But there's gotta be a middle ground somewhere, where you can both harvest me.
And all I ask is, don't make me dig through a Menu so I can turn up the navigation prompts.
More top five lists await the car lover.
Go to cnetoncars.com.
Click on top five.