The Digital Drive. How Apps and Tech are shaping UK Road Trips

By Emma Williams
06-06-2024
The Digital Drive. How Apps and Tech are shaping UK Road Trips

A Deep Dive into New Vehicle Technology and Integrations. What a new Car, Van or Pickup can offer.

Modern technology such as Navigation Apps, Electric Vehicle Charging Station finders and in-car entertainment systems are revolutionising road trips making them smoother and more enjoyable in your leased car, van or pick-up. Not only this but Car Safety Technology as well is transforming travel for the good.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look at how modern technology is helping shape your Road Trip:

Navigation Apps:

AI Navigation Apps are transforming the Road Trip, making them more convenient and adventurous. AI-driven navigation apps continuously collect data from various sources which is processed in real-time to provide up to date traffic updates. Based on this the apps can optimise routes to offer the fastest and most efficient path to your destination. This includes very welcome information on alternative routes due to accidents or avoiding road closures. AI algorithms can also analyse historical traffic data to help you choose the optimal time to hit the road for your holiday weekend or rush hour journey.

As well as optimising your journey through traffic updates the AI can analyse your preferences and interests to identify local attractions and restaurants you might like to stop at on your route. These apps can even be so sophisticated as to narrate local history, recommend scenic spots for photo opportunities or translate foreign signs in real time.

The future of AI navigation apps: They are continuously evolving and providing more interconnected travel experiences. For example Google Maps allows you to control everything with simple voice commands and MapMetrics, a relatively new player is utilising cutting-edge technologies to further enhance the travel experience providing even more comprehensive pictures of the road network.

So venturing out into the unknown on your weekend road trip is no longer a stressful endeavor – it is an enjoyable adventure. Your trusted navigation app is more than just a map, it is your intelligent travel companion.

Electric Vehicle Charging Finder Apps:

All EV owners and drivers are looking for a seamless charging experience during travels allowing them to embark on road trips with confidence and convenience. Planning EV road trips involves using various tools and apps that provide real-time information about charging stations.

Apps are easy-to-use and direct you to the closest charging station en-route appropriate to your vehicle. To use them you must first register and build a profile entering names, names of vehicles and model numbers etc. The app can also offer station information such as what amenities it offers. All this and the ability to schedule a time slot for auto charging and to select from a variety of payment methods.

You can access a thorough overview of your usage and payments tracking your billing history, energy usage and monthly expenses. A good example of an EV Charging Finder App in the UK is Zapmap which has 800,000 registered users and was founded in 2014. Their mission is to help people make the switch to electric vehicles and thereby accelerate the transition to zero emission mobility.

In-Car Entertainment Systems

It’s not unusual in modern cars to be driving to your weekend camping trip with the family, laughing along to a comedy podcast or getting lost in your favourite audiobook. Or in a Tesla for example if you’re taking a pit-stop the kids can watch YouTube or play interactive games on the Control Screen in the dashboard. You can even sit and watch a large roaring fire crackle away on the screen while waiting for the car to charge for example. The Tesla will even discretely pass wind as you’re driving along keeping the kids entertained for hours!

Seriously though, modern in-car entertainment is moving on in leaps and bounds, let’s look at some of the advancements in recent years:

Digital Dashboards and Touchscreen Interfaces: Wave goodbye to knobs and buttons and say hello to sleek, digital dashboards. Navigate your way through entertainment options with ease with intuitive touchscreen interfaces.

Streaming Services Integration: No more bulky CD’s or radio commercials, streaming services integrated directly into your vehicle allow you to listen to your favourite tunes, podcasts and audiobooks and more.

Advanced Connectivity: Apple CarPlay and Android Auto offer you the opportunity to integrate your smartphone with your car infotainment system so you can listen to your favourite playlist and even access some navigation systems.

Wi-Fi Hotspots: Many modern cars now come with built-in WiFi hotspots ensuring you stay connected on the go.

Voice-activated Controls: You can control your entertainment options using voice commands allowing you to keep your focus on the road ahead and your hands on the wheel.

Vehicle Safety Technology:

Road Trips or even lots of long commutes can lead to driver fatigue or present unpredictable road conditions. Car safety technology luckily is rapidly evolving and revolutionising the way we navigate long distances putting safety and convenience at the forefront of every road trip. Let’s look at a few:

  • Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS): You no longer need to rely on roadside signs, modern cars are equipped with a suite of ADAS features that act as a virtual co-pilot, enhancing safety and reducing driver fatigue.
  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW) and Lane Keeping Assist (LKA): These systems use cameras or sensors to monitor lane markings alerting you or even nudging the car back into its lane if you veer off track at all.
  • Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM): BSM utilises radar or camera sensors to detect vehicles in your blind spot activating a warning light on the side mirror or dashboard to alert you to potential hazards.
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): Taking the tedium out of motorway driving ACC allows you to set a desired speed and following distance keeping the car under control and adjusting to the flow of the traffic reducing driver fatigue.

The future of travel promises even greater advancements that will redefine the road trip experience. Soon we will be sitting back and relaxing or working or simply enjoying the scenery while fully autonomous vehicles handle the driving duties for us. Imagine that!