The newest Chrysler concept, the Portal, was shown off at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show, and Chrysler made it perfectly clear that this is a vehicle for Millennials. That’s a pretty broad statement, and a gamble at that. Can an auto brand really say they’ve built a vehicle for a certain demographic, one where the youngest of such won’t even be 20 years old until 2020? We don’t know what 20-year-old college student wants to ride around in a minivan, but the Portal does have some new technology that other vehicles would benefit from. For now, let’s look at what should be in a car designed “for Millennials”.
It’s been around for awhile in some forms, and it’s just starting to pop-up in others. Bluetooth connectivity for voice-command texts and phone calls is a nifty technological advancement that helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. However, you can’t use Bluetooth to tell your car what to play from your music library next … yet.
Google Android Auto and Apple CarPlay currently connect to the car stereo via a USB cable for playing music, navigation via GPS, and many other features anyone with a smartphone can do. It’s not very revolutionary, but now that Google Android Auto, and presumably Apple CarPlay, will be getting wireless functionality, drivers may soon be able to replace their Bluetooth by simply having their phone in the car. We also talked about Google’s Allo possibly replacing infotainment systems in automobiles, which will definitely be a step up.
Built-in Wi-Fi and Apps
Lots of apps are popping up in infotainment systems, Google Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay, but without Wi-Fi, smartphone users are left to eat through their data plans. Once they hit the limit, they either have to cash out for another couple gigabytes (GBs) or halt the use of their apps until within range of a Wi-Fi hotspot. Well, vehicles have started to come with built-in Wi-Fi in recent years, making the automobile its very own hotspot. One would assume drivers can make it a secure connection with a password too.
Plus, all those apps on the phone are great, but unless drivers can tell their phones to open Pandora and play a music station, the most common apps should be available in infotainment systems as well. If owning a smartphone with Google Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, these apps can pop up on screen when connected, but it would be nice if we didn’t need a $600 phone just to use Skype when on the road (and hopefully not driving).
Advanced Safety Features
This is a no-brainer. A lot of advanced safety systems have come out in recent years: forward collision warning with and without automatic emergency braking, cross-traffic and blind-zone alerts, parking assist systems, rear-view and 360-degree surround cameras, automatic parking, adaptive cruise control, and the list goes on. All of these and whatever pops up next should be in a Millennials vehicle. Heck, we’re pretty sure most of these were developed with them in mind, given how side-tracked some A.D.D.-phone-loving Millennials can be, according to some auto brands that will not be named.
Other Tech and Future Endeavors
Just as a side note, we’d also like to point out the auto market shift towards SUVs, crossovers, hybrid cars, and electric vehicles with lots of new electric automakers popping up. Kia already did a bang up job releasing the Kia Niro hybrid crossover, combining two into one. There’s also an uprising of autonomous vehicles with Google, Apple, Chrysler, Kia, and many more auto brands in this robot race. There’s no sure future of when autonomous vehicles will become the norm though, maybe semi-autonomous for starters, like an auto-pilot you can turn on and off.
The Chrysler Portal concept does have some technology worth to note though, aside from its also autonomous drivetrain. One of the tech features mentioned was a zone-specific audio system. If you thought triple zone a/c control was neat, imagine being able to listen to your favorite music in the back while the driver is listening to theirs in the front - without causing your ear drums to bleed. Yeah, that would be nice.
What do you think? Does the auto market have us Millennials pegged?
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