Buick IntelliLink
2014 BMW i3
Buick IntelliLink, BMW i Remote. Click image to enlarge

Article by Justin Pritchard

Everyone has a smartphone, largely because they’re small and powerful and can make calls, send texts, check emails, take pictures and selfies and vines and be used to check Instagram to see what your pals had for lunch while waiting in the checkout line at the gas station. Smartphones these days are so smart that they can be used to track down the best place to eat, see a movie, or fill your car with gas, to lock, unlock and monitor your house, and to track where you’ve recently been jogging and automatically tell everyone on the internet all about it. What a splendid era we live in.

Of course, automakers have been charged by today’s ever-connected driver to find more new and exciting ways to use their smartphones to enhance their driving experience, and a few automakers including Chevrolet, Honda, Ford, Nissan and BMW are leading the way in linking those drivers to their vehicles via Smartphone and satellite connections.

Here’s a look at some of the cutting-edge telematics and communication systems you’ll find available on the scene today, if you’re out for a new ride.

Diagnostics Info at the Ready: You’re standing in a lengthy line behind an elderly lottery lady at the local 7-11 waiting to pay for your maple-bacon flavoured slurpee, and it hits you: “are my tire pressures up to spec”?! For the average peasant, seconds or even minutes of agony could result until they return to the car, retrieve their tire pressure gauge and check the pressures manually. Or, just dial into the RemoteLink app that comes with your new Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac or GMC, and you can see, from anywhere, if your tire pressures are within limits. The app also provides other information about remaining fuel range, your next scheduled oil change, and what that pesky check-engine light might be lit up for.

Siri Eyes Free: You can ask Siri what she’s wearing, or to tell you what the fox said, for an amusing response — but for many, the Apple iPhone voice assistant is a powerful tool for checking and sending text, pulling up weather forecasts, keeping the mobile calendar up to date and accessing their music library with a simple voice command. As a result, some manufacturers are now offering Siri Eyes Free technology in select models, and more are likely on the way. Rather than picking up your iPhone and risking a ticket, a simple tap on the Voice Recognition button on the steering wheel calls Siri into action, with audio playback over the vehicle’s stereo system. There’s no need to take the phone out of the console for full Siri functionality.

2015 Audi A3 e-tron trip data graphGM OnStar RemoteLink for Chevrolet VoltGM OnStar RemoteLink for Chevrolet Volt
Audi mobile trip data & vehicle info, GM OnStar RemoteLink diagnostics & navigation. Click image to enlarge

Google Driven Navigation: Forget worrying about outdated navigation mapping information, or buying expensive update discs for the mapping system in your new ride. Using Google Maps and Google Search, your new Nissan or Infiniti benefits from up-to-the-minute mapping data and search results – adding unmatched confidence when travelling in unfamiliar territory. In fact, if you find a new destination in a Google search on your smarpthone, you can send it directly to your ride’s navigation system for later use. GM and other brands offer similar functionalities which allow drivers to send destinations to their vehicle directly.

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