I never thought I’d be the kind of person who valued heated seats in their car. They seemed like such an unnecessary indulgence.
But boy, I’ve been appreciating them over these last few weeks of cold weather in our region.
It’s about that time of year in Canberra where we all just get sick to death of being cold all the time, am I right? As I left my office last week at around 6pm (so pitch dark, obviously … ), I found myself dreading that first 5-10 minutes of the drive home in that icy-cold car.
You know, when you just have to bear with the cold air, cold seats, cold steering wheel, until all the systems warm up. Of course, it’s MUCH worse in the mornings. Brrrrrr.
I’m lucky enough to have a relatively new car with keyless entry and ignition – so I can enter and start the vehicle without removing the ‘key’ or fob from my bag or pocket.
It got me thinking: given this proximity technology exists, why don’t we yet have the ability to start our cars remotely, so they can warm up before we arrive?
I can do this with my home heating system. I can log in via the internet and an app, to switch the heating or cooling on or off in any room of my house.
In an era when our cars are almost as connected as your standard small business office, why can’t we do the same?
I have very happy memories of my last car, which was a little Honda Jazz. It was filled with clever features, including rear seats that folded right down to floor level – that was what sold me on the model, in the end.
But another neat little gadget was a foldaway hook behind the passenger seat, which could be used to hang a handbag, a shopping bag, or even a short coat. Such a simple idea and smart use of space, I always wondered why more manufacturers didn’t catch on to the idea.
So if you were in the business of manufacturing cars, what’s features or gadgets would you add that are missing from the modern car?
Remember ‘Pimp My Ride’? It ran for more than six seasons, with offshoots around that world, and it was popular because we loved to see what whacky, ridiculous features the West Coast Customs team were going to install that week.
Giant flat-screen TV in the boot? That was pretty much standard equipment.
A fairy floss machine or clothes dryer? Let’s do it!
Pop-up champagne bar? What could possibly go wrong…
Of course, most of these were bad ideas for many reasons – and in fact, many of the craziest additions were removed right after filming, usually for functionality or safety reasons.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a few daring ideas. I did a bit of Googling around, and here are a few suggestions I found:
- Some sort of interior cleaning system, with drainage for spilt drinks,
- Connectedness between vehicles to share information about driving conditions, accidents, delays, etc., and
- Fold-out steps or ramps to improve access for the elderly, people with disability and even pets.
All great ideas. Not that I’d knock back that champagne bar though.
Let your imagination go wild – technologically or otherwise, what do you think is missing from the modern car? Any features of your car that you’ve appreciated more than you expected?