Ford's luxury brand has a bright idea for making drivers feel welcome and comfortable even before they get into the new Lincoln Continental.
It's called ‘Lincoln Approach Detection' and is a system that automatically knows when the car's owner is nearby and can light his or her path to the vehicle. But don't think it's just a form of smart lighting.
"It allows Continental to welcome you as if arriving at a friend's house for dinner, or checking into a resort. It makes you feel at home where you have everything you need and you are in a serene and familiar space," said Sheryl Connelly, Ford Motor Company global consumer trends and futuring manager.
In practice, what this means is that when the owner gets within two meters (eight feet) of the car, it will project ‘welcome mats' onto the ground near the doors so that the path is illuminated and will also light up the door handles to make them easier to find.
The cabin lighting will be triggered at its ‘softest' setting and the side view mirrors will actively fold out into their driving position once the driver has entered the car.
"This is a subtle touch that reinforces our commitment to give every Lincoln client what we call quiet luxury -- vehicles and experiences that are elegant, effortlessly powerful and serene," said Solomon Song, Lincoln exterior design manager.
Such features can seem very gimmicky, like in-car entertainments systems that say "hello" or "goodbye" when turned on or off. But quiet or effortless luxury is in itself a growing trend, being pushed forward by advances in technology rather than in traditional forms of craftsmanship.
For example, this week Land Rover has integrated the Tile object tracking system into its latest cars. The idea is simple. With ‘Tiles' attached to everything from keys and laptop bags to sunglasses and smartphones, the car can automatically check and make sure the driver has everything he or she needs to start the day and that nothing has been left at home.
Likewise, BMW's new Connected App, unveiled at the start of April, has been designed to learn a driver's habits and routines and to automatically plan journeys based on calendar appointments and real-time traffic movements.
All of these features are about saving time, and it's time that is fast becoming the ultimate luxury.