News and Reviews

The new car how-tos

June, 2012

The next wave of ultra-modern car features and functionality you’ll soon need to get your head around.

The world of high tech gadgets and car features seems to be moving at light speed, and it’s always exciting to read about the newest, latest and greatest pieces of car technology and gadgetry which are making our daily drive safer, more convenient, and even just more fun!

Here are the latest how-tos:

Use your smartphone to control your car

Well, not control your car exactly, but car manufacturers are developing more and more ways for users to control certain features of their car using specialised iPhone, smartphone, iPad and other tablet apps.

For example, Hyundai recently released its Equus luxury sedan, and launched an iPad app (available only in America for the time being) which allows users to simply tap a button to schedule a service or maintenance for their pride and joy. Hyundai then goes to the user, and provides them with a temporary replacement vehicle while theirs gets taken away for its service. The luxury vehicle experience at its finest!

Similarly, Ford has launched a service called SYNC which allows users to sign up for regular Vehicle Health Reports, to track when their vehicle needs servicing or repairs. There’s also the possibility that soon, people will be able to use the SYNC service to access other smartphone apps and features like the iPhone 4S’s Siri. Another cool thing Ford may soon be implementing in their cars? An in-car system which automatically informs Groupon users about special deals in the area they’re driving through.

Correctly use your car’s parking sensors

Parking sensors have been around for a while now, but are becoming more and more commonplace in new car models. There are two types of parking sensors, and knowing which kind your car is equipped with could influence how to use them correctly, so it helps to know which one you have. Electromagnetic parking sensors only work when the vehicle is moving slowly and steadily towards an object, and sounds an alarm the closer you get to the object.

Ultrasonic parking sensors use ultrasonic proximity detectors which send out sound pulses, and measure the time taken for a sound pulse to be reflected back to the receiver (kind of like the navigation systems that bats use – cool huh? However, be wary with this one – since these types of parking sensors use sound waves, items that are too small to reflect sound may not be able to be picked up (so watch out for those thin signposts, poles and tree branches!)

Put your car in (almost) autopilot mode

We’ve all heard of cruise control, and even systems that automatically keep your car a certain distance from other cars (often called Adaptive Cruise Control) have been around for a while. But this kind of high tech cruise control is becoming more and more commonplace in newer car models. Not to mention all the talk that’s been around recently about self-driving cars.

No doubt with all these technologies, there will still be safety risks and concerns, but with correct use, we’re looking forward to seeing these technologies increase the safety of cars, and reduce accidents on the roads.

What are your favourite new car features and technologies that we can be expecting in the coming months and years?

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