Long before teens were texting, most parents kept trying to drum the message to keep both hands on the wheel when driving your car into their rebellious heads.
These days, however, it is the automakers who are increasingly trying to make it easier for distracted drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and both eyes on the road as they try to multi task, including sending e-mail, googling, texting, and even changing radio stations hands free.
In fact, while companies like Toyota are working hard to develop cars that literally drive themselves without the need for human pilots, GM and Ford were busy launching new partnerships with app makers to create software to take care of some of the business, further reducing the roles humans will eventually play in operating their vehicles in the future.
This includes General Motor’s new partnership with Apple’s Siri voice assistant (already integrated into the Chevy Spark) that allows the car to respond to voice commands. In addition, Ford Motor Co.’s use of the music service Rhapsody in allowing drivers to wirelessly syncronize their cel phones with their car and listen to playlists already created by simply pushing a “voice button” on the steering wheel.
Ford is also planning to upgrade their vehicles’ ability to respond to voice commands in Apple Link 2.0 by next September, according to Applelink development engineer C.J. King at the recent International CES Show in Las Vegas.
Even more impressive (in my opinion, however) has been Hyundai Sonata’s BlueLink, connection with iphones and androids to allow drivers to check certain vital statistics such as tire pressure, fluid levels and even air bag condition without having to pull into a service station. This feature, already in use since 2011, is expected to be installed in a number of its newer models as well.