While some say that cars are today’s most social machines, others insist that phones take the social gold medal. Whatever the case may be, cars and phones are both becoming smarter and more social with every passing generation. The next logical step in this process is to create a system that integrates the smart car and the smartphone into one powerful machine that can do much more than either of these machines can on its own. With the smart car and the smartphone working together as one integrated body, the technology will be unstoppable.
That is exactly what a few forward thinking major automakers are planning for the next generation of their vehicles. Mercedes Benz, in particular, has shown itself to be ahead of the pack with the recent announcements of its latest developments in its car and smartphone integration program.
Mercedes Benz and the iPhone
In the new line of Mercedes Benz A-Class vehicles, the Apple iPhone will be completely, fully, and seamlessly integrated. These A-Class vehicles will feature a docking system for the iPhone that will allow the phone to connect directly with the digital systems of the automobile. Drivers will be able to install Mercedes’ Digital Drivestyle App on their iPhones, which, along with the Drive Kit Plus, will give them increased accessibility, comfort, and access to iPhone content when in their vehicles.
This system will display the contents of the driver’s iPhone directly on the Mercedes’ dashboard screen, allowing for easier and less distracting navigation. An iPhone controller will also be added to the center armrest of the automobile, which drivers can use to access iPhone content without taking their eyes off the road.
Keeping driver safety in first place, the user interface will be a three-dimensional, intuitive system with translucent icons that are highlighted in red tones in order to make sure that drivers get what they need with a minimum of distraction. Because the iPhone content will be larger and closer to the driver’s regular line of sight, accessing its content will be less likely to cause driving malfunctions. Additionally, the verbally-controlled iPhone assistant, Siri, will be easier than ever to use while in a Mercedes A-Class automobile.
Ford and the Apps
While many companies work to integrate the smartphone into the driving experience, Ford is working hard to integrate apps into the whole automobile experience. Ford recently announced on its website that it is currently making huge leaps of progress with a platform known as OpenXC that will help to integrate apps and vehicles.
An open source platform composed of both software and hardware components, OpenXC is being manufactured by Ford’s Research, Innovation, and Bug Labs. Because OpenXC is an open source platform, programmers from around the world will find it easy to make apps that will improve the driving experience in the same way that practically anyone can make a smartphone app today.
The OpenXC platform also plans to integrate an interface program that will be able to communicate with the Arduino platform. In simple terms, this will allow vehicle apps to talk to and access data from the internal communications network of the vehicle itself. GPS systems and sensors on the vehicle itself will be able to provide information that can then be used by vehicle apps and accessed and controlled by drivers.
Today’s Car and Smartphone Integration
All future speculation aside, some of today’s technology already allows for a surprising degree of integration between cars and smartphones. The connecting technology that already exists has allowed manufacturers to come up with some amazing things. Take a look at this link to check out which of today’s automobiles and manufacturers are on the cutting-edge of vehicle and smartphone integration: http://www.connectedworldmag.com/caroftheyear.aspx.
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