5 essential tech options for your new car

(Credit: iStock)

(Paul Brennan)

A car is never just a car. Yes, there is the engine, the windshield, and shaft; these components are fundamental for the cars because they were known as “horseless carriages.” But the modern car is highly automated, with oxygen sensors, a stability controller, a powertrain module, and a wide network of other functions.

Now, cars are more sophisticated than ever: Bluetooth, rear-view camera, and zoned temperature controls are standard in 2018 models. Too many people do not think about the enormous amount of data collection that happens.

If you are renting a car this summer, don’t be a fool. Tap or click here to avoid making an egregious privacy error when renting a car.

As automotive technology is continually improving, connected cars can radically improve your driving and even idling on a driveway, can be a dynamic experience. If you’re in the market for a connected car, here are five essential features to consider:

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1. Telematics

Simply put, telematics is a connected system for the monitoring of your vehicle problem away.

With the help of a GPS system, computers, sensors, on-board diagnostic systems and telecommunications technology (such as the one you used for your smartphone), telematics may collect and send your car’s vital statistics for a centralized management of the network.

This information may include your car, the location, speed, mileage, tire pressure, fuel economy, brakes, engine/battery status, driver behaviour and much more. Telematics is already being widely used by various industries, such as delivery, transport, and public transport to monitor the entire fleet of vehicles. With real-time location-tracking, the dashboard of the car can display relevant information, such as live weather, traffic updates, and parking lot information.

Telematics can also inquire with your dealer if your car may be in need of the service soon or alert and send your exact location and auto diagnosis to roadside assistance companies such as AAA.

Related: Three sites to buy, keep and sell your car.

2. Audio Streaming, and Apps

If you’re like me, you love streaming music, especially if you’re on the way home after a long day at work. Now that the days of carrying your entire CD collection to the car is as good as gone, you probably have a music streaming service of your choice. These features are especially useful for people with unlimited data plans.

Many drivers connect their smartphone via Bluetooth or connect them via the headphone jack, but it is unwise to navigate from one app during the bombing on the highway.

That is the reason why many new cars offer an “infotainment” systems, with screens embedded in the dashboard. Many car infotainment systems have their own music streaming apps and in-car-smartphone synchronize systems such as Auto Android and Apple CarPlay will be on the display of the streaming application interface on the dashboard itself. You can access apps such as Spotify, Pandora, Google Play, Amazon Music and Apple music for music streaming, Stitcher, and Pocket Casts for podcasts, and Audible for audiobooks on the road.

Keep in mind that you have an active subscription for most of these apps before you can stream music and the contents of your car. And be sure to watch your data usage, also!

3. Bluetooth and USB Ports

In addition to the hands-free calling, you can use your car’s Bluetooth connection for audio playback, data tethering, and infotainment (ivi) system integration.

You want at least one USB port in your new vehicle to charge your smartphone on the go. These USB ports can also be used in place of Bluetooth connections. In this way, your phone is synced with the car.

No Bluetooth in your current car? Tap or click here for three ways to add Bluetooth to an older car.

4. Hands-free texting and Calling

To read a text message, drivers take their eyes off the road for an average of five seconds – enough time to T-bone a truck turning. At 55 mph, reading a text is like driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.

Thousands of lives have been lost due to distracted-driving accidents in the U.S. with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) citing 3,477 deaths in the course of one year in 2015.

Hands-free calling and texting and still imperfect, and I don’t recommend interacting with any device while driving a motor vehicle. But the newer infotainment systems, you can link it to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can take calls through the car audio system. In this way, talking on the phone is not that much different from chatting with someone in the passenger seat.

While you are connected, you can also use your phone’s virtual assistant, such as Android “OK, Google, or Apple’ s Siri to read of your recent text messages, and even shoot a quick reply via voice.

However, it is still much safer to avoid phone distraction while driving, so I strongly suggest that you turn your phone on, is the ‘do not disturb’ modes.

You can also set an auto-reply texts that people receive while you are driving. Tap or click here for the steps to turn on auto-answer on your Android or iPhone.

5. Apple Car Play or Android Auto

Many infotainment modules, has entered into a partnership with tech companies like Google and Apple, and your smartphone can link to these systems via the Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

These two systems are similar. They automatically synchronize your smartphone with your car for music, navigation, streaming audio, and numerous communications. They have a hit with the consumer, and they will probably be standard in the coming years.

Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay is designed to automatically sync with your iPhone so that you can safely use your phone in your car. In short, CarPlay allows drivers to use certain apps by means of an in-dash display, rather than on the phone itself. In fact, the system will synchronize the designated smartphone without removing it from your bag or pocket.

You can get directions, make calls, send and receive messages, and listen to music. CarPlay allows you to use your iPhone while you to stay safe and to concentrate on the road. All you have to do is connect your phone with a USB cable.

CarPlay features Siri voice control and is designed for driving scenarios. It also works with the car’s controls, buttons, touch pad or touch screen. Apps themselves have also been redesigned for the car, so you can use them while you are driving.

Tap or click here for the facts to help you decide whether Apple CarPlay is worth the money.

Android Car

If you have an Android smartphone, version 5.0 or higher, you can transform your car in your phone with an Android Car-system.

Android Auto is not a stand-alone unit; your car may be equipped with an Android-powered Car on the dashboard screen, or you have purchased a stereo with a screen.

To use it, the Car’s Android app, which is free in the Google Play Store. Similar to Apple CarPlay, you must enter the link of an Android gadget using a USB cable to make it work.

The screen displays a driver-friendly version of the Android apps that you want to use while driving. Even the GPS on your phone works with Android Auto, and you don’t have to pay a fee for updated maps.

Android Auto has a more simple, cleaner look than your smartphone. So, instead of scanning dozens of apps for the one you want, there are just a couple of easy-to-see features on Android Car screens.

Tap or click here for the Android Auto in your car and explore why you’d want to.

What the digital lifestyle, if you have any questions? Call my radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. Of the buy of an opinion to the digital world problems, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at


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