We live in an ongoing technological revolution that helps us do our work efficiently, and provides a platform to move another step forward all the time. In the world of automobiles, there is also an evolution – smartphone apps for cars that provide new utilities to help us with our most common of tasks.
The technology in the mobile phone industry has advanced to the point that almost everyone has access at all times, able to do tasks with a miniature computer packing advanced power, connectivity and advanced capabilities such as GPS, navigation and radar tracking, to name a few.
We’ve often heard that cars are to be the next “connected device” to go mainstream, and after Motor City’s announcements at Apple’s WWDC this week, we don’t doubt it. From enabling hands-free driving to offering more detailed reports on a car’s health, our automobiles are becoming tech-driven vehicles that can do it all.
MyFord Mobile for iPhone
This week Ford Motors announced MyFord Mobile for iPhone, a mobile phone application that will control and help keep the car charged. The mobile charging technology is co-developed by Microsoft and use Microsoft’s cloud computing technology.
MyFord Mobile for iPhone allows car owner to link up their cars via an embedded AT&T wireless module for remote communication.
The app monitors the charge status and estimates the time required for connecting certain travel distances, with alerts in case there are problems (for example, if the power goes out during a charge). It schedules the load of the car to connect only to the network when the fare is most economical, locates charging stations and assess whether it is possible to reach a specific point with current power reserves, and optimizes routes by calculating power consumption.
“The Focus Electric is a fun car to drive and helps save customers money at the pump; with MyFord Mobile, the enjoyment and savings continue after the vehicle is parked and charging,” said Bill Frykman, Business and Product Development manager. “This innovative app also offers new ways of sharing your driving experiences to create a “cool” factor while educating new Focus Electric drivers on the perks that come with an electric vehicle lifestyle.”
The iPhone app also includes its own social network and forum for drivers to teach and learn driving techniques, while uploading statistics to platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
GM Woo makes riding more fun
General Motors Research and Development and students from the FUTURE LAB at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Israel have developed rear-seat entertainment technologies, The Windows of Opportunity (WOO) Project, that provide entertainment and educational value to passengers.
“Traditionally, the use of interactive displays in cars has been limited to the driver and front passenger, but we see an opportunity to provide a technology interface designed specifically for rear seat passengers,” said Tom Seder, GM R&D lab group manager for human-machine interface. “Advanced windows that are capable of responding to vehicle speed and location could augment real world views with interactive enhancements to provide entertainment and educational value.”
The apps include Foofu that allows passengers to create, explore and discover through finger drawings on window steam; Otto, an animated character that responds to real-time car performance, weather and landscape; the Spindow app that provides real time information of other users; and Pond, an app that allows users to share and stream music with other cars on the road.
“WOO is just one of many projects underway at GM that could reinvent the passenger experience in years to come,” said Omer Tsimhoni, lab group manager for human-machine interface, GM Advanced Technical Center in Israel.
Siri is coming to the car
During World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) event, Apple has revealed its new development with car manufacturers to integrate Siri into select voice control systems in cars, dubbed Eyes Free.
This technology allows you to manage various car functions using voice controls. For example, a driver can turn on your favorite music on your device, adjust the climate control settings, send a text message or make a call, and get map directions without being distracted from the road.
The first cars with the support of Eyes Free will be coming in the next year, and among the automakers companion that have committed to delivering Eyes Free Siri integration will be Audi, BMW, Chrysler, GM, Honda, Jaguar, Land Rover, Mercedes Benz and Toyota.