Buying Guide: The Best Automotive Technology

By February 10, 2015Buying Guides

A big part of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was about the emergence of smart technologies in the automotive industry. Ten vehicle manufacturers including Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota showcased their latest cars and newest gadgets to the throngs of car nuts in attendance — and they didn’t disappoint.

By now you’ve probably heard about self-driving cars and augmented reality dashboard technologies, but these are all concepts we can’t get our hands on yet. What about all the cool stuff that we can actually use? Where’s that at?

If you want to take your ride to the next level, here are the best automotive technologies you can get today:

Apple and Android Compatible Head Units

Pioneer AppRadio 4

Capture

The AppRadio 4 is one of the first head units to feature Apple CarPlay connectivity. Anyone that wants full Siri voice and touchscreen integration should seriously consider upgrading their car to one of these head units. This system also supports Android smartphones using MirrorLink connectivity and has plenty of features to satisfy any driver’s needs.

Features

  • Apple CarPlayCompatibility
  • AppRadioMode Functionality for iPhoneand AndroidPhones
  • MirrorLink Compatible
  • Siri Eyes Free Compatible
  • On-Screen Access to Compatible Apps

If you’re more of an Android-type and need more functionality from your stereo, Pioneer is also releasing the next generation of Android Auto compatible head units in the AVIC-8100NEX, AVIC-7100NEX, and AVH-4100NEX.  These head units will be fully compatible with Android 5.0 Lollipop smartphones while retaining Apple CarPlay connectivity from the previous generation.  These units should be available in March 2015 with prices starting at $700.

Parrot RNB6

Parrot RNB6

Parrot, the famed drone manufacturer, is also entering the car business with the RNB6.

This all-in-one infotainment system won two CES 2015 “Best of Innovation” awards for providing the best in-vehicle audio and navigation services. While it won’t be available until late 2015, the RNB6 should be on your list of car tech to save up for. It’s also Android Auto and Apple CarPlay ready so you don’t have to worry about compatibility.

Features

  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay Ready
  • Integrated Navigation System
  • Driving Assistance Services
  • Advanced Voice Commands for Telephony, Apps, Radio, and Navigation
  • In-Vehicle HDR/Full HD Camera

It’s the last spec on this list which has captured the attention of many car enthusiasts. Having a Full HD camera at your disposal opens up a whole new world of possibilities and anyone who wants to record the road ahead will love this unit. And because it’s OS-agnostic, using it won’t be a concern. Thankfully, it also has built-in On Board Diagnostics (OBD2) if you end up having problems.

Crowdsourcing Radar Detector

Escort Passport Max 2

Escort Passport Max 2

Escort was also at CES this year showing off what they are calling “the new standard in ticket protection.” By using their Passport Max 2, Escort claims drivers will be alerted of speed traps and red light camera locations before they encounter them on the road. They’re able to do this by crowdsourcing Passport Max 2 user’s location information and passing it along to those who need it.

Features

  • Built-in Bluetooth Technology
  • Exclusive Real-Time Ticket Protection Network
  • Pre-Loaded with Red Light  and Speed Camera Locations
  • Weekly Updates to Keep You Informed
  • Escort’s Award-Winning App

The unit’s internal GPS will also adjust the sensitivity depending on whether you are on the highway or in a residential/commercial area. This is a handy feature because it reduces the frequency of false alerts while still keeping you aware. Installing one of these impressive units inside your car can almost guarantee you’ll never get a speeding ticket again…almost.

Gogoro SmartScooter

One of the coolest pieces of automotive technology at this year’s CES wasn’t even a car; it was a scooter. Gogoro is touting their SmartScooter as the “first and only” of its kind and promises a faster, smarter, and easier way to get around. One look at the video below and you’ll realize how this design is pushing automotive engineering to new levels.

Founded by former HTC executives, the SmartScooter wants to bring an all-electric option to commuters in urban environments. Gogoro is already working on building a dedicated battery-swapping network and if all goes according to plan, your next ride might be on two wheels. Oh, and in case you were wondering: it also goes from 0-30mph in 4.2 seconds. Not bad for something that runs on batteries!

Performance

  • Acceleration (0~30mph): 4.2 sec
  • Max. Speed: 60 mph
  • Max. Horsepower: 8.58 hp @ 3,250 rpm
  • Max. Torque: 25 Nm @ 0-2,250 rpm
  • Max. Riding Range Per Battery Swap (@ 40 km/h)

What Can We Expect at CES 2016?

Cars are no longer an extension of our smart devices — they are our smart devices. CES proved that this year with all of its automotive innovations. And while we can’t predict what’s in store for next year’s event, it’s safe to assume we’ll get treated to more electronics that transport our cars into the future.

What do you think we’ll see at CES 2016?

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