Back To The Future (and beyond)

6 min read

Your first car. It’s practically a rite of passage. Freedom on four wheels. American teenagers dream about it. They babysit, make greasy fries, cut grass, and sack groceries all in the name of getting their first car.

When I turned 16, I was ready for my keys. Keys to fun, keys to adventure, keys to freedom.

Keys to a ‘79 Volkswagen Rabbit. Ta-daahhh. It was in a show-stopping, light tan. I mean, woah. You couldn’t help but notice me coming.

But, umm… you would’ve heard me first. Every cruise route lap I made through town was accompanied by an undeniable screech. My lil bunny had a bit of a fan belt problem. Oddly enough, my friends would beg to drive it because it was so hilarious to them.

Yeah. Hilarious. 

Never again would I hear “Little Bunny Foo Foo, hopping through the forest…” without thinking of my first car. I’d love to call her a classic, but let’s be real. She smelled like syrup (pretty sure that was a bad sign). It was rickety. She was cheap. 

And she was a far cry from trustworthy. That poor rabbit didn’t last very long. Soon she’d be replaced with some 85 year old lady’s mossy green four-door sedan.

But not just any four-door sedan. My baby was a diesel. A very special diesel that required me to plug  it in. All. Winter. Long. In northern Indiana. Yyyaayy. Nothing quite like squatting down in the snow and sludge on a bone-chilling  January evening to plug your car in.

Clearly, my first car experiences were very budget friendly. They in no way foreshadowed my future cars. By cars, I mean minivans. But, hey… minivans can be amazing, too!  Especially when they are loaded with the technology available today.

Today, we have things like infotainment systems. No, folks, this isn’t a typo. I’m not talking about the entertainment system with your DVD player. It’s not just voice command tech. I’m talking about real technology residing inside your vehicle. 

According to Techopedia, “In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) is an auto industry term that refers to vehicle systems that combine entertainment and information delivery to drivers and passengers. IVI systems use audio/video (A/V) interfaces, touchscreens, keypads and other types of devices to provide these types of services.”

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay really put your infotainment system to work by enabling you to use apps like Spotify and Google Maps. Once upon a time, hooking up to the car required usb cables. Not any more. If you have wifi in a car, you may go wireless.

After all, we are a wireless world, are we not? We can expect nothing less from our latest vehicle tech than wireless. Wireless sync and wireless phone charging. 

My kids love hooking up their phones and streaming their Musi playlists. Truth be told, they figure it all out faster than me!

That is just the tip of the iceberg.

Backseat reminders are a pretty amazing addition to car technology. I would love to go an entire summer without seeing any news stories of forgotten infants, left in backseats. Backseat reminder tech will alert drivers to check the backseat when they get out. Can you imagine how many lives may be saved?!

What will they think of next?

Well, they already thought of electric cars. Now, I know… You may picture a very manly hatchback with your name on it when I mention electric cars.

But, wait. Expand your mind. The face of electric cars is changing. They now have electric performance cars. Yesss. Performance and electric can now be used in the same sentence.

Think Porche, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Ford Mustang. Those are the manufacturers throwing their hats into the electric ring. Definitely not your grandma’s electric car!

While wireless and electric vehicles sound pretty amazing, my practical side pretty much takes over. I am rather excited about a wireless charger ALWAYS being present in my car.

A charger that I do not have to remember. A charger that my teenager can’t swipe. A trusty, little charger that will always be there when needed. It’s like the BFF of chargers!

Yeah. I’m a little excited about that one.

Alrighty. So, clearly there are quite a few technological advancements… but I must give kudos to Hyundai. Yep, I said Hyundai. 

We’ve seen the cars with park assist… but not like Hyundai’s new feature, Remote Start Parking Assist. It’s magic. Well, almost magic. 

Ok. Get ready for this. It’s not just hands-free. It’s people-free. (Alright. I invented that word a little. But it’s totally appropriate.)

People. Freeeee. As in, you do not need to be present inside the car for it to move!  Woah, Nellie. Color me impressed, Hyundai!

You will no longer need to contort your body in order to squeeze into your vehicle when some genius leaves you a generous six inch gap to open your door. Nope. With this nifty new assist, your car can pull straight forward or backward all by itself! 

Helloooo?! Meet George Jetson! (Showing my age. But, for real. It seems very futuristic to me!)

Smartscreens, wireless chargers, electric performance cars, cars that park themselves… What’s next?

Personally, I would like a self-cleaning feature. What can I say? My practicality prowess is slightly more dominant than my techy brain. It’s a gift, really. 

Can’t you imagine it? Your floors remove their own crumbs and dog hair. Cup holders clear themselves of sticky residue. Seats are gum-free. Windows are void of handprints and dog slobber. 

Now, that is a feature I would whole-heartedly get behind! (Granted, this feature might be more appealing to moms.)

Life sure has changed since my days in the squeaky bunny. I think it’s safe to say the old Rabbit would look more like a clown car these days with my family stuffed in it.

Needless to say, technology is ever-changing. Roll with it and be ready for whatever, whenever something new comes along.

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