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In-Car Technology: Keeping Us Connected ... And Safe

In a world in which communication technology has become so important, innovative features in new car technology have become a top priority for many car shoppers. In-car technologies like Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity; infotainment systems with navigation, real-time traffic updates, and customizable applications; and fighter-jet-inspired heads-up displays are making commutes safer and more fun.

Bluetooth Wireless Technology

Whether for work or personal purposes, wireless technology such as Bluetooth that allows us to connect with our colleagues and loved ones in transit is in increasing demand and has found its way into the car. Using radio transmissions to exchange data over short distances, Bluetooth connectivity technology has long since done away with the need for cables to connect electronic devices. It is now widely available as a standard fitment on many vehicles; the technology is also being used to pilot fully interactive infotainment systems.

Infotainment Technology

Not that long ago, a car's entertainment source consisted of a tape deck and FM radio. Now, using any device that supports Bluetooth technology, you can listen to music stored on your phone, stream live podcasts via the Internet, navigate, and even use smartphone apps with the in-car infotainment system.

Most systems have easy-to-use displays with attributes similar to those of a smartphone, such as touch and swipe screens to navigate through various features. In-car hands-free technology is always integrated into a good infotainment system, so you can access many of the system's features through voice-activated commands; for example, you can simply tell your car which song you would like to hear. In addition to convenience, voice activation can enhance safety by removing the need to fiddle with distracting buttons so that more time is spent with your eyes on the road.

In-Car Applications

There is a big push in new in-car technology toward smartphone applications geared specifically for use in cars. The use of in-car apps is limited only by the imagination of the industry's app designers. Countless smartphone navigation apps are already available that can be run through a car's infotainment system. There are also apps that give up-to-date traffic and weather conditions, gas station locations, and even gas prices.

Many apps offer drivers extended, outside-the-vehicle accessibility as well, such as those that close your garage door from across town, unlock your doors should you lock your keys in your car, or even report diagnostics and car health to your smartphone. There are also apps for carpooling that enable you to save fuel and lower your carbon footprint by finding out who's travelling where and when. Then there is an app that reads text messages aloud and composes them by taking voice-activated dictation. The list of in-car apps seems endless.

In-Car Heads-Up Display (HUD) Technology

Head-up displays, also known as HUD displays, are a piece of in-car technology that projects driving information such as speed, RPM, and navigational information onto the specially coated windshield of your car. The image is projected using an LED or LCD image, and the reflection is seen by the driver just below his or her line of sight.

Drivers require less than a second to view a conventional speedometer or navigator, and at 60 miles per hour, that amounts to over 80 feet without your eyes on the road. Head-up displays reduce the need to remove your eyes from the road to access this information, making it an important safety feature. It was first used in military fighter jets and now heads-up displays are available in many cars.

In-car technology today is all about making our driving experience easier, more enjoyable, and safer while keeping us in touch with the outside world. Vehicle manufacturers are focused on implementing new in-car technology to continuously improve the driving and riding experience and to make the modern car fully interactive and able to look after your every driving need.