Have you driven a new car lately? They’re more computer-on-wheels than they are “car.” With Internet connectivity, backup cameras, heads-up displays, radar lane control, semi-autonomous driving, and even night vision, new cars are straight out of science fiction. All that’s missing is the part where they fly (which probably isn’t a good idea anyway). If you’re a Millennial who just graduated college, your old hand-me-down Toyota is probably looking pretty humble by now, compared to your boss’s Tesla. Have no fear though; even if you can’t install Ludicrous Mode into your Corolla, you can still upgrade it significantly with off-the-shelf components.
If you’re between the ages of 18 and 80, you have likely seen the phenomenon that is Russian dashcam videos. They have captured everything from falling meteorites to military attack jets buzzing the highway. However, there is a practical purpose for these small, innocuous cameras. Though the running joke may be that anything and everything can and does happen in Russia, in actuality, these cameras provide invaluable video evidence that can be used in the event of an accident. There are a number of dash cameras to choose from; read reviews and choose one that suits your budget.
With Viper SmartStart, you can remotely start, control, and locate your car from anywhere. The benefits of such technology will be immediately evident to anyone who lives in a cold climate; with SmartStart, you can preheat your car while you drink a cup of coffee in your kitchen. And should you lose your car because you parked it on the street (downtown apartment dwellers will know the feeling), SmartStart will allow you to find it with ease. Best of all, the Viper SmartStart app can be downloaded on any Apple or Android device. Simply download the app and install SmartStart on your car, and you’re finished.
T-Mobile’s new SyncUP DRIVE is a Wi-Fi hotspot, onboard diagnostic reader, driving monitor, and vehicle tracker all in one. Simply plug in the SyncUP DRIVE OBD reader into your OBD-II port (the port is typically located behind the dashboard above the brake pedal – check your owner’s manual for the exact location) and download the corresponding app on your mobile device (such as an iPhone 7 or Android) to get started. Once installed, you can use your car as a Wi-Fi hotspot, receive maintenance reminders for your vehicle, and keep track of your family when they’re traveling.
Heads-up displays are becoming more and more common in new cars, and for good reason: these devices provide the driver with essential information at a glance, allowing him or her to focus on the road ahead. The heads-up display, or HUD, is commonplace in aviation for similar reasons. Thankfully, with devices like the Garmin HUD+, the heads-up display is now accessible to everyone, regardless of the type of car they drive. So long as you have a Bluetooth-compatible smartphone, you can receive navigation directions, lane guidance, and even an estimated time of arrival to your destination right on your windshield.
Thanks to the proliferation of touchscreens in modern cars, rearview cameras have evolved from mere novelties into a ubiquitous safety feature in a matter of years. Even the most diligent driver may not see a small child or oncoming car around a blind corner. Rearview cameras help alert drivers to such hazards. Thanks to the Pearl RearVision rear view camera system, you can have a rearview camera in any modern car. Using a license plate frame featuring two wireless backup cameras, RearVision transmits a wide-angle image to your smartphone – there is no need to install a monitor or any wiring of any kind. Simply install the camera frame on your rear license plate, plug the provided adapter into your OBD port, mount your phone in the cabin, and you are set!
Bring Your Car into the 21st Century
Many people don’t realize it, but a lot of mobile applications are designed to work in conjunction with so-called “peripherals” – that is, secondary devices. Your iPhone 7 is so much more than a simple gaming device or Internet browser. Modern smartphones can easily sync with Bluetooth-equipped heads-up displays, wireless backup cameras, onboard diagnostic readers, and integrated vehicle systems. With minor technology upgrades, you can transform your vehicle. So what are you waiting for? Bring your old car into the 21st century.