In-Car Entertainment Technology Trends for 2021

Open roads, great music, and good company are some of the best parts of summer. As the shackles of Covid come off, road trips are again in vogue, with more travelers planning to fuel up and hit the highways. Adding to the experience is the latest in-car entertainment, with trends that leave the eight-track, cassette, and CD eras in the dust. This is one of the year’s fastest-growing technology trends. Even before the pandemic when commuting was the norm for many of us, studies showed that Americans on average, spend a whopping 18 days in their car per year! That means hundreds of miles with plenty of windshield time and a need to keep drivers and passengers alike entertained. The US has long been an automobile culture with our combination of urban sprawl and country roads that turn cars into mobile offices and secondary living rooms.

Smarter Travel Down the Road

You already know that technology is getting smarter; artificial intelligence is consistently extending its reach, whether through facial recognition for mobile devices or one-touch banking with a simple fingerprint. The smart car industry has been part of this movement for the last several years, with AI technology opening the door for imaginative ways of getting around. These are among the highlights of the 2021 auto trends bucket list:
  • Voice Engine Optimization. This innovative solution is designed to remember driving patterns and preferences, accurately detect voices, comprehend questions, and provide on-the-spot answers to topics ranging from a vehicle’s functions and maintenance needs to giving directions. Picture an Alexa for your car, but specifically engineered for you. If VEO continues to grow in popularity, the use of GPS systems may see a sharp decline.
  • Brand Specific AI Systems. Branding empowers manufacturers to stay on top of their game. Many companies have integrated AI, with the General Motors OnStar system as just one example. OnStar features specific commands that can disable a stolen vehicle or call for roadside assistance. And if one carmaker is providing these features, others are sure to follow, with each new system introducing new capabilities.
  • Payment By Vehicle. Imagine paying for food, attractions, tolls, and more without ever getting out of your car or reaching for your wallet. Fingerprint and Bluetooth technology can turn a vehicle into an automated payment portal.
  • Easy Auto Buying. There is far more to the motor vehicle industry, of course, than entertainment and conveniences to enjoy while driving. Half of the journey is finding the right car in the first place. Few people relish the thought of spending hours walking through multiple lots, taking test drives, then waiting hours for the paperwork to be completed. Increasingly, they don’t have to. Expect a more seamless vehicle purchasing process with touchless transactions, digital signatures, and curbside pickup. Your next car purchase may well be handled through an app. Companies like Carvana and Carmax have reshaped the process for used cars. Whether robots can fully replace salespeople is another question, but digital transactions may change public perception of trust and transparency in auto buying.

In-Car Technology

The Amenities of an Airline from the Comfort of a Vehicle

Automobiles are taking a page from air travel. Among the latest trends is a Sky Catalog for the road, a feature that is becoming popular among luxury vehicles. It tells motorists about nearby dining options, attractions, and must-see entertainment, while also highlighting available parking areas. Studies indicate that millennials crave automation and convenience in addition to trying new experiences. Not only can the next generation of road trippers expect new foodie finds and off the beaten path suggestions from their smart vehicles, drivers will also be able to reserve restaurant tables in advance, pay for parking, and even book a spot by the hotel pool. In addition, many auto manufacturers are partnering with third-party streaming services such as Netflix and Spotify to beef up the in-vehicle entertainment menu. Your passengers will have the pleasure of enjoying their favorite shows and movies while on the road, much of it provided by smooth, uninterrupted 5G connectivity. The refrain of “are we there yet?” may become the latest relic of auto travel. Automakers are further reinventing the driving experience with unique apps such as Headspace, Duolingo, and Luminosity. These features offer guided meditation for sleep, language learning tools, and fun brain teasers to exercise your mind. Meanwhile, equal attention is being paid to the body, with enhanced controls for cooling, heating, and adjustment settings for every seat in the vehicle. In short, luxury trends aim to change driving from a chore to a treat, and over time, today’s luxuries will become tomorrow’s standard features. There is nothing car makers can do about traffic volume, other motorists, or the distance of a day’s travel, so they are instead looking for ways to make trips more enjoyable. Think of it as glamping for drivers.

Enhanced Connectivity

Technology has made the world smaller and more interconnected, and the latter is a crucial trend regarding entertainment. Vehicles are adapting to 4G connectivity and the budding 5G networks, improving communication. The future of auto technology means fewer dead zones, more phone calls with friends and family, and more reliable streaming. Vehicles are expected to be fully connected to the internet in the coming years. Forbes highlighted the benefits of a more connected world in a recent article about the continued rollout of tech-based systems meant to ensure that you never miss a beat:
“Connected car Internet of Things (IoT) platforms will bump it up by several notches this year; in-car marketplaces will allow us to indulge in personal retail therapy (or order that butter chicken) from the convenience of a car, while features-on-demand will improve vehicle convenience, comfort, multimedia, performance, and safety. Together, they will totally transform the user experience and push the boundaries of personalization, while opening up innovative business models and recurring revenue streams for automakers.”
Business travelers can expect a whole new world of efficiency while on the road through enhanced connectivity that provides streamlined services anytime, anywhere. That is a lot of information to wrap your arms around, so contact our research professionals to learn more about these and other trends, the data behind them, and potential solutions for success. Want to keep an eye on more technology trends in 2021? Check out these wearable technology trends to watch.

About GlowTouch

As a tech-forward company, GlowTouch is dedicated to providing exceptional customer experiences by leveraging the right people, channels, locations, processes, and technologies. Our personalized omnichannel contact center, back-office processing, and technology outsourcing solutions are tailored to meet the unique needs of clients worldwide. As a certified WBENC Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and NMSDC Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), we take pride in our diverse workforce. Our commitment to operational excellence and high-touch engagement has earned us recognition from renowned organizations such as Everest Group, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP), and six-time inclusion on the Inc. 5000 list. Headquartered in Louisville, KY, we have a global presence with onshore contact centers in Louisville, Miami, FL, and San Antonio, TX, a nearshore center in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and offshore locations in Mangalore, Bangalore, Mysore, India, and Manila, Philippines. To learn more about how we can help you achieve your business goals, visit, or email Tammy Weinstein at

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