4 Smart Tech Devices to Transform Your Ride
We live in an increasingly technology-reliant world, where gadgets and apps are getting smarter and finding new ways to make our lives easier. And just like everything else, our cars are becoming much more connected to our lives too –becoming more like smartphones than just a means of transport.
The ‘connected car’ is the next big things in the motor industry, where wearable tech and mobile devices meet the car, for a fully connected experience - with enhanced safety features and data access while on the move.
More than half of all new cars sold globally in 2015 are expected to have built-in 4G connectivity or smartphone integration and, by 2025, every new car will be a ‘connected car’, says the GSMA. However, as manufacturers continue to make cars smarter with in-car technology, inevitably they’re becoming more expensive. If you’re looking to upgrade your car now, without forking out on the latest model, or simply can’t wait until a fully connected car is available, then there’s a few ways you can make your car smarter with some handy bits of tech.
First, think about what you need from your car. Do you just want to connect to the web? Or do you need to link a smartphone app or smart watch to access your car’s diagnostics? We’re looking at smart gadgets to make your car more than just a set of wheels.
Wi-fi on wheels[caption id="attachment_597" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Image credit: Techlicious[/caption]
Wi-fi hot spots open up huge opportunities for in-car entertainment, where streaming music and movies in your car is just as easy as at home. Just think, Netflix or Sky in your car? Now that’s cool, but we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves just yet! There are some great wi-fi hot spot dongles, or just using your smartphone, that enable you to access the internet wherever your car is, 24/7. This, teamed with a built-in headrest media system or overhead media unit, and you’re good to go!
Car diagnostic apps and devices[caption id="attachment_598" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Image credit: Electronics Weekly[/caption]
Your car can tell you what it's up to under the hood—you just need the right tools to understand what it's saying! With something like an OBD Bluetooth scan tool, which is a small car adapter that you plug into the on-board diagnostics port of your car, you can get all kinds of data about your vehicle. These sorts of devices work by pairing with a compatible smartphone app via Bluetooth — diagnosing engine problems, clearing engine codes and checking engine lights, viewing real-time vehicle data while driving and helping to find and fix problems before they happen.
Cut car insurance costs with a black box[caption id="attachment_599" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Image credit: DailyStar[/caption]
You can get your car fitted with a small 'black box' device, about the size of a smartphone, which records speed, distance traveled and the time of day or night that you are on the road. It also assesses your driving style, to build up a comprehensive profile of you as a driver, which you can access via a secure website to find out how you are performing in each category. You can use it to reduce car insurance, because premiums are based primarily on your current behaviour, so a black box gives you an opportunity to demonstrate that you’re capable and responsible behind the wheel. Automatic and Zubie Key are amongst some of the latest devices that plug into your car to assess your driving habits.
Car journey recorders[caption id="attachment_600" align="aligncenter" width="525"] Image credit: Wilcodirect[/caption] Whether you’re driving for business or leisure there are always incidents on your journey. This is when an in-car camera becomes the ultimate car accessory. Car journey recorders (also known as ‘DVRs’, ‘dash cams’) are another way to make your car smarter as they help you:
- save money on insurance premiums
- improve your driving
- increase your road safety
There are lots of makes and models out there, so it’s best to do your research first. Dashboard or windscreen mounted car journey recorders can accurately record cases of bad driving that result in a collision - whether that collision was a mere accident or was staged. This helps protect yourself – and your insurance premium!