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Futuristic tech we could live without

By Mathilda Bartholomew | May 30, 2024


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Here's our rundown of the latest tech that your car probably doesn't need, including cameras replacing mirrors, prank settings, and gaming systems.

Futuristic tech we could live without

Car tech keeps getting better, no doubt. Take rear-view cameras, for instance; they've become essential for many drivers. But let's talk about the other side of the coin. Some new features seem more like a hassle than a help. Here's our rundown of the latest tech that might leave you scratching your head:

1. Camera Replacing Side Mirrors:

Blind spot assist has been a game-changer, alerting you when another vehicle sneaks up in your rear quarter. But now, traditional side mirrors are being swapped out for cameras. It started with the Audi Sportback Q8 e-tron, then the Honda e and Hyundai Ioniq 5 jumped on board, with others like the Lotus Eletre following suit.

These virtual screens above the door handles might look futuristic, but the promised benefits for electric vehicles, like reduced wind noise and better aerodynamics, quickly lose their shine. Manufacturers claim wider camera angles reduce blind spots, but in reality, they just bring more hassle and distraction.

Remembering to check a camera in an odd spot isn't second nature, and even if you do, pesky obstacles like a front-seat passenger can block your view. Plus, there's the glare, unreliable images, and issues for drivers with poor eyesight.

Stick with traditional mirrors; you won't miss out on the 3.8% aero efficiency Honda boasts the cameras offer. After all, who needs more distractions, especially with the ongoing debate over distracting infotainment systems?

2. Virtual Rearview Mirrors:

Rearview mirrors have been a staple since Dorothy Levitt invented them in 1909, revolutionising driving back in 1914. But now, virtual rearview mirrors are shaking things up. Take the Nissan Ariya EV and the Polestar 4, for example.

Nissan boasts about its "intelligent rearview mirror," equipped with a camera at the back of the car, promising a clear view. You can switch between the traditional mirror and this high-tech version on the Ariya. Sounds fancy, right? Until the camera gets dirty, making the "intelligent" mirror less than helpful, and you're left scrambling for the washer fluid.

Then there's the Polestar 4, which skips the rear window altogether, relying solely on its digital rearview mirror.

Polestar argues that the traditional rearview mirror is obstructed by interior features, but we're not entirely sold on the idea.

3. BMW Airconsole:

The BMW i5, also known as the electric 5 Series, brought something new to the road: an in-car gaming experience. Teaming up with AirConsole, BMW turned their infotainment screen into a gaming hub.

When the car's parked, drivers and passengers can kill time by linking their phones to the BMW Curved Display screen and playing a variety of games. From racing to quizzes, there's something for everyone, or so BMW claims.

But let's be real, with the amount of screen time we already rack up, do we really need a gaming console in our cars? And good luck tearing your kids away from it when it's time to hit the road again.

4. Tesla Toy Box:

Tesla's got a knack for quirky features that are almost as famous as Elon Musk himself. Take the "Emissions Testing Mode," for instance – it's basically a whoopee cushion for your car. Sure, it's funny for a minute, but then what?

Then there's the Boombox, which lets you make funny noises for pedestrians when you're parked. And who could forget the "Mars" function, where your car becomes a rover on the Martian landscape?

Sure, it's all fun and games, but when it comes down to it, we'd rather have features that actually enhance the driving experience. After all, you don't buy a car just to park it and play around with gimmicks.

Innovation is great, but sometimes simplicity wins out.

What car tech do you think is completely unnecessary? Let us know in the comments below...

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