Distracted Driving: How Modern Automotive Technology Allows Safer, Hands-Free Connectivity
Many manufacturers are implementing hands-free technology to help you interact more safely with your devices while behind the wheel of their cars. Whether it's Bluetooth connectivity to allow you to place calls, operate your music player, or to send and receive texts, these automotive technologies are improving every day and are appearing as standard equipment in more and more new cars.
On top of offering hands-free connectivity for entertainment and cellphone use, most of these systems also integrate automatic notification to 911 in case of accidents.
General Motors has begun designing hideaway pockets into the dash of many of their vehicles, giving drivers a safe, out-of-the-way place to install their phones while still allowing convenient USB and Bluetooth connectivity. Demonstrated here on the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, General Motors has also built similar storage cubbies behind a motorized faceplate in the dash of the Cadillac vehicles equipped with the CUE system.
What Kinds Of Hands-Free Connectivity Systems Are In Vehicles These Days?
Cadillac’s CUE interface brings the intuitive control of smartphones and tablets safely to the road. With a clean, easy-to-use design, Natural Voice Recognition, and responsive touch-screen technology, CUE safely and conveniently connects drivers to information, entertainment, and communication via the CUE Collection suite of in-vehicle applications. Cadillac will be adding more advanced in-vehicle technology with high-speed OnStar 4G LTE connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that can host up to seven connected devices. Initial apps will include iHeartRadio, Slacker, NPR, and The Weather Channel. OnStar 4G LTE will be standard on all 2015 Cadillac models; the CUE Collection will be standard on all 2015 Cadillac models with CUE. Both technologies will roll out across the model lineup through the second half of 2014. Also new for 2015 is the addition of Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users.
Chrysler’s UConnect system pairs with Bluetooth-enabled devices to keep drivers focused on the road with voice-recognition commands and enhanced text messaging, one-touch emergency notification and roadside assistance, and a theft alarm notification system, which alerts users via SMS or e-mail whenever their vehicles’ security alarms are activated.
The MyFord connectivity suite uses Ford Sync functionality to allow hands-free operation of nearly all mobile phones, PDAs, and digital media players into their cars using voice commands, the vehicle's steering wheel, radio controls, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Depending on the vehicle and the implementation, MyFord may offer a full-color screen and touch-screen capability. Some MyFord Touch systems also capable of receiving text messages and reading these text messages aloud to occupants of the car.
From the hands-free dialing commands, to accessing your favorite music, the General Motors IntelliLink system delivers a world of infotainment and connectivity using Natural Language Voice Recognition technology or via a high-resolution color touch screen. Available on a variety of Chevrolet, Buick, and GMC products, the IntelliLink system now boasts a new, configurable feature called Teen Driver that allows parents to set a radio volume limit, establish a speed warning set between 40 and 70 mph, and set a speed limiter. It also automatically mutes the radio when the driver or front passenger safety belt is not fastened and a “report card” that records mileage, wide-open-throttle events, ABS events, maximum speed and other data. The custom features are locked by a PIN, which is set by the parent.
Much like the CUE system found in Cadillac vehicles, General Motors vehicles will also benefit from advanced in-vehicle technology with high-speed OnStar 4G LTE connectivity and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that can host up to seven connected devices. Select General Motors vehicles will also offer Siri Eyes Free for iPhone iOS 6 and iOS 7 users as well as a convenient voice texting feature that works with iPhones and Android systems to allow drivers to send and receive text messages hands-free.
Kia’s UVO eServices Infotainment System with voice command navigation offers an in-vehicle connectivity experience that includes navigation, vehicle diagnostics capabilities, 911 connect, as well as hands-free mobile phone management capabilities and control of music from a variety of media sources.
Drive safer with NissanConnect, which uses Bluetooth or USB connectivity to offer voice operation of your smartphone and hands-free texting, while your Nissan's display screen lets drivers stay in touch with the outside world via live traffic and weather, navigation, Facebook feeds, iHeart radio, TripAdvisor, and more.
Toyota’s Entune system connects most smartphones via Bluetooth or USB to the vehicles’ head unit and display screen to offer hands-free voice activated operation of popular mobile apps like MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Yelp, and Facebook Places and in-car data services that keep you in the know about stocks, weather, sports, and fuel prices.