Consumer Watch: Technology for your car

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by Andy Treinen

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 11, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 11 at 6:21 PM

(WHAS11) -- When it comes to staying connected, smart-phones have been in the driver's seat. Now, automakers are picking up the pace with apps and technology aimed at keeping drivers connected behind the wheel.

Smart phones do a lot to get us where we need to go including directions and roadside assistance. For the most part, that phone works separately from the dashboard. The new trend in automobiles is to change that.

"The focus of this car really showcases how consumer electronics are influencing the drive. So we're seeing for the first time, things integrated that we've never seen in a car before,” Derek Kuhn from QNX software systems said.

QNX software says they have created a "connected cockpit" inside a Bentley. A curved touch screen that can display tweets and emails, navigation instructions right behind the wheel and a web app that lets drivers lock doors or check the gas tank from their smartphone. The company says, it could be adapted to any price point.

Expanding dashboard technology is the goal of a program launched by Ford at the International Consumer Electronics Show inviting outside developers to take a crack at adding in-car apps to the automaker's sync applink platform. 

"We know that consumers are reaching for their smartphones when their in-vehicle technology doesn't meet their needs. So we want to give them the opportunity to control their applications hands-free, and in a voice-activated way," Julius Marchwicki, Ford applink global product manager, said.

A key challenge for any connected car is the access to a new range of safety, entertainment and communication options, without creating too many additional distractions. 

If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.
 

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