THE SHOP

July '16

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54 THE SHOP JULY 2016 RESTYLING/AFTERMARKET ACCESSORIES W here do you find a sure bet that something will be twice as strong as it was last year? (Yes, we all wish it was our investment portfolio; and no, it will never be your chances at winning the lottery...) Advancements in technology have proven to be the sure bet. In-car technology is no exception. The increase in appetite for car buyers to be connected during travel time has the auto industry in high gear in fulfilling the demand. Whether it is safety-related or infotainment, consumers are looking for the dashboard to become as versatile as a laptop. BRING ON THE TECH A survey recently completed by Autotrader of a panel of 1,012 vehicle owners reveals drivers' concerns and preferences when it comes to the evolving land- scape of in-vehicle technology. Although a large percentage of respondents consider the thought of an autonomous vehicle as a dangerous concept, that number will decrease as consumers become more knowledgeable and increas- ingly utilize the semi-autonomous features that currently exist, such as adaptive cruise control, colli- sion avoidance and parking assist, to name a few. Some of the more interesting results were that 77 percent of respondents feel it is more important to purchase a vehicle with the technology they want as opposed to their preferred color. An eye-opener for the manufacturers should be that 65 percent of respondents would switch brands to get the technology that is important to them, and 51 percent stated that they would wait six-18 months in order to get all the tech- nology features they desire. With safety leading the way in tech- nology advancement, consumers are being exposed to features on new vehicles that were not imaginable a decade ago. For instance, regular cruise control has been around for decades. Adaptive cruise control has been refined over the past dozen years and is playing a big part in several safety applications. With the ability to set speed as well as a set distance from the cars in front of you, and slow down or speed up automati- cally, this radar-based technology can assist in an automatic braking application to avoid a collision. Meanwhile, lane depar- ture warning systems that beep or vibrate if the driver leaves a lane in combination with adaptive cruise control can keep the car centered in its lane at highway speeds, allowing the driver to cruise with minimal effort. Audi, Mercedes, Infiniti, Cadillac and Volvo are among those whose systems work in tandem on the highway. In-vehicle infotainment has reached new levels of informing drivers about every- thing from traffic and weather conditions to social media updates. The ability to sync features found in a smartphone app directly into your vehicle has been over- whelmingly received by the tech-savvy driver and equally by those who rely on their phone for daily activities. How does this pertain to profit in the aftermarket world? The possibilities are increasing exponentially as aftermarket manufacturers continue to introduce new technology products. In a recent trip with an Uber driver, I noticed he was working with three different GPS components and phone apps running simultaneously while driving through a city Connected Technologies By Dino Perfetti If you build it, they will come! Blind-spot cameras and sensors will now alert a driver if a car or object is in the space it plans to enter. Voice activation is allowing drivers to send and receive text messages without losing view of the road. 54 THE SHOP JULY 2016

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