DETROIT: Car technology is on the increase with self-driving cars and health-monitoring seats all turning from science fiction to science fact.
As such, when V3's sister site THE INQUIRER headed to the North American and International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit to see some of the latest innovations on show, we were keen to see what they unearthed.
One of the most interesting announcements they came across was from Telsa, which was showing off its Model X SUV featuring an in-built tablet control panel.
The car was actually first unveiled in February 2012, and the Model X SUV is still in the prototype stage. However, with gull-wing doors, a front-mounted boot and seven seats it's clearly no small-scale project. It's also said to have a zero to 60mph time of around five seconds. Speedy.
Based on the four-door Tesla Model S that Tesla also showed off at NAIAS, the Model X features some updates such as all-wheel drive, thanks to an additional electric motor mounted at the front wheels.
The main feature that caught our eye, though, was that the Model X exhibited Tesla's updated in-car control centre that features a 17in capacitive LCD touchscreen, the biggest we've seen in a car yet.
Debuting in the Model S when it ships in the US later this year, the Linux-based technology will allow the driver to manage features such as climate and music control as well as navigation via Google Maps.
Better still, you'll be able to browse the web and program driving settings, such as "ride feel". Such settings allow drivers to optimise the vehicle with sounds to make it feel more like an authentic motor vehicle, because the silent drive on an electric-powered car generally lacks that factor.
The 17in display is powered by an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, meaning it will be powerful enough to run a variety of content without lag. However, one drawback is that you cannot view video on the screen, for safety reasons, even when the engine is turned off.
Tesla said that early customers of the technology won't have to pay a penny for it during the first year of use, although monthly pricing might be introduced later on.
Another feature with Tesla's in-car technology is that you can tether your phone or tablet and use its data plan to stream content from your mobile device to the display. Tesla's control centre also has upgradable firmware, giving the driver peace of mind that it is future-proof too.
The instrument displays including the speedometer and fuel gauge are also based on digital displays, allowing the driver to customise what is shown via buttons on the steering wheel.
Deliveries for the Tesla Model X will begin in 2014, however in-car technology will come as standard on the Tesla Model S, which has already started shipping across in the US and can be expected to reach the UK by early 2014.
17 Jan 2013