Among the new tech on display at the 2017 Washington Auto Show: Systems making it easier to link up your smartphone to your car's dash display, and parent-friendly tech that lets you track teen driving behavior and even keep the stereo from blasting too loudly.
WASHINGTON — The 2017 Washington Auto Show is underway at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, featuring 600 new models from three dozen manufacturers, along with the usual array of concept vehicles, celebrity appearances and special events.
“I think auto shows are probably the best place to go to shop for a car because you don’t have the pressure of a salesperson, you get to see every kind of vehicle that’s available,” said Autotrader senior analyst Michelle Krebs. “Cars have gotten so good, you’re not going to get a lemon and so it’s all about, ‘How does it fit you?’”
Visitors can also see how well the latest car technology fits their needs.
“I think one of the big things that consumers at this show might want to look at is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,” Krebs says. Those systems allow more seamless integration of a smartphone with a car’s dash display, allowing a driver to do things like pull up the phone’s map function rather than use a built-in navigation system.
“This technology is based on the fact that our consumers were saying: ‘I like using my map on my phone. How can I bring that into the car?’” said Joe LaMuraglia, communications manager for Chevrolet.
Drivers can also use the systems to call up a digital assistant like Siri by pressing a button on a steering wheel or to hear and respond to text messages with voice commands. “The idea is hands on the wheel, eyes on the road,” LaMuraglia said.
Additionally, he touted technology that can keep track of the driving habits of teenagers and allow parents to see a report of the teen’s driving behavior. Parents can also do things like limit the maximum allowable volume of the stereo, set a maximum speed for the car and have the car emit a warning noise when a certain speed has been reached.
A separate technology reminds drivers to check the back seat if a rear door had been opened and closed earlier, aimed at preventing children from being accidentally left in the back seat.
Aside from the wide range of new cars and technology, the show once again features the “hands-on” contest, in which competitors must stay in close contact with a new car over multiple days in order to get a chance to win it. Special guests making appearances include Redskins tight end Jordan Reed, Nationals shortstop Trea Turner and professional wrestler Randy Orton.
Admission is $12 for adults, $5 for kids between the ages of six and 12, and free for kids five and under. Military members and veterans get in free on Tuesday, Jan. 31. The show opens to the public on Friday, Jan. 27 and runs through Sunday Feb. 5. Find more information on the auto show website.
John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.