Depending on how old your car is, if you’ve lifted the hood recently, you’ll notice that the engine and the supporting parts are not at all like the ones you grew up with (or that you saw in movies for our younger audience). It’s far more electrical and computer driven than mechanical these days. And I’m not just talking about the Nissan Leaf. Technology has been evolving under the hood for many years and it’s about to move into the drivers seat. Here are some of the ways technology is changing your driving experience.
WiFi hotspot – If you do a search on line for ‘wifi hotspot car’ you’ll see results from as far back as 2008. Ford, Subaru and Cadillac are leading the way and expect this feature to become the norm over the next 10 years due to smartphone/tablet adoption. (Ever try to download a full movie onto your iPad while in rush hour traffic? Well I haven’t either but I can imagine it happening soon!)
Smartphone = Connected Bliss – We’ve all said it. “I wish I could here the song I have on my iPhone through my car speakers.” Today you could go buy the tape cassette solution at Car Toys if you have a vehicle old enough to have a tape player but you could also connect via Bluetooth or an In-dash system like Dash (video below). Either way. Car manufacturers are going to be adding a new option.
Ford SYNC – Ford announced the sync system in 2007 and it’s currently available in 14 Ford models and 5 Lincolns. It sells it as a voice activated technology and includes many functions such as navigation, hands-free calling, app synching and audible text messaging. These are some great features and companies like Pandora and Roximity are excited about this conduit since many of spend a lot of time in our cars.
Take Siri for a drive! – Apple’s recent iOS 6 announcement pits Apple squarely against Ford’s SYNC system. This description of Siri’s Eyes Free functionality pretty much spells it out:
You’ll be able to ask Siri questions without taking your eyes off the road. To minimize distractions even more, your iOS device’s screen won’t light up. With the Eyes Free feature, ask Siri to call people, select and play music, hear and compose text messages, use Maps and get directions, read your notifications, find calendar information, add reminders, and more. It’s just another way Siri helps you get things done, even when you’re behind the wheel.
As ubiquitous as Apple/iPhone is, it’s hard to imagine that it won’t become the standard. (I can also imagine Android-based cars.)
I’m excited to where this goes and the next time I’m in the market for a car there will be much more to consider than gas mileage and warranty.