As the car industry strides with ever larger steps into the not-so-new digital age, the gadget and accessory industry takes ever larger chances with their new products. At times they get it right, and add towards a pleasant driving experience, and at times you have to stop and wonder whoever is going to buy that redundant nonsense. This is not a list about the latter objects. We are going to take a glance at some of the more interesting and handy tools for your trip.
Gone are the days of rotating that radio knob and figuring out whether you need an AM or FM station. Today’s car audio systems are fully digitalized, heavily configurable, and more often than not, connected to the internet, and your phone. Listen to your favorite podcast as you commute, or learn a language instead of hating on the road jam. Best of all, you could easily connect to your Spotify or 8tracks account and be in charge of the music that comes from your speakers, because CDs are totally dead.
In-car 4G hotspot.
Coffee and free Wi-Fi! Coffee and free Wi-Fi! This is what our generation stands for, and this is what our generation will rebel over. If we want free internet and we want it now, why wouldn’t we want it now? Or maybe in a car?
This makes more sense than you’d think. Tablets have a pretty clean reputation of being an excellent in-car navigational tool, and you do want an internet connection to get your navigational tools in their most precise form. Wi-Fi hotspots designed for cars serve a dual purpose. Not only do they keep your readings optimized, but they also keep your passengers hushed and busy, meaning your attention now has only one job – to focus on the road.
There is a vast amount of “Watch These Crazy Russians [name of road UNsafety here]” all over YouTube. The reason for this is not some nationwide agreement between all Russians to be on the lookout for the daily disaster whenever they commute, nor do the uploaders practice unsafe driving by using a camera instead of keeping both hands on the wheel. Russian car insurance companies have pretty strict rules about proof of whatever damage you caused, and as a result, all car-owners install a dashboard camera before they sign the papers. A trick many insurance-holders worldwide could put to good use.
Other than being used in legal matters, and filming a meteor flying by in broad daylight, dashboard cameras can be used to create beautiful landscape shots, or dreamlike driving montages.
Engine performance monitoring.
The first thing that made you love your brand new Windows Vista when you got it (right before you started hating it and wishing you never left XP) were the desktop gadgets. Namely, the windows desktop performance monitoring gadget. Measure your CPU, stay on top your memory usage – it was a phenomenal innovation! Well, wouldn’t you like that on a car? The average car dashboard gives you a general input on the going-ons inside your chassis, but what if you could go deeper? Digital engine data readers are pricy little objects, but attach one to your car, and connect it to your smartphone or tablet, and have a ridiculously detailed idea of what your car is doing when it’s doing its thing. Recommended for engineers, mechanics, greasers, and car enthusiasts.
To be very frank here, if you need a breathalyzer to know whether or not you should be driving, you probably shouldn’t be driving. The law is pretty strict on this, no matter where you live, because most driving accidents are the result of inebriated drivers, and all driving accidents are gruesome. However, it is clear that humanity does not intend on separating partying and driving in the short term, so why wouldn’t your car come with an additional breathalyzer – after all, better you do it than the road patrol.