Many of us spend quite a bit of time in our cars every day. And until autonomous autos become commonplace vehicles in which we can indulge ourselves in entertainment and not be mindful of the hazards of the road in front of us, technology integrated into the driving experience to ease our daily grind is welcome. Here are some gizmos and gadgets designed to make your commute more enjoyable.
This app lets drivers perform self diagnostics on their vehicles. A small device plugs directly into a car’s on-board diagnostic port (OBDP) and tracks some 7,000 potential auto issues. Virtually all vehicles manufactured post-1996 have the port, usually found under the steering wheel.
Drivers download the FIXD app, which receives the OBDP data wirelessly. It then alerts users to issues ranging from the severity of vehicle problems, to why the dreaded “check engine” light is on, to reminders that maintenance is due. The software also prioritizes which issues are emergencies and which can wait until the next oil change.
Muse Alexa Voice Car Assistant
Muse is basically a Bluetooth-enabled Amazon Echo for the car, allowing drivers to connect instantly to Alexa and access apps, without having to unlock their smartphones. The device is made by Speak Music. It hooks into your in-car stereo system via Bluetooth, aux input or USB. Music, internet radio and even smart home apps are accessible through voice control. So, if you’ve left every light in the house on, but are late driving to daycare, just ask Alexa to turn off the lights or lower the heat. Muse can handle 25,000 different voice commands, including helping drivers complete totally hands-free calls.
It’s unlikely you’ll be pulled over for speeding on your way to daycare with Viper’s latest radar detector installed in the family minivan. This combination car alarm and starter is accessed via an application on your smartphone. It’s satellite-enabled, so users can be anywhere within the United States and lock, unlock or start their cars, as well as get alarm notifications. The vehicle can be located quickly from the app — as well as the vehicle’s speed. The unit comes standard with 12 minutes of engine run time — so you can run the car with the AC on and wait in comfort for your spouse to run into the store — but a tech can boost that run-time if desired.
Rexing V1 Dash Cam
For just under $100, drivers get a compact dash cam with 170 degree wide angle 1080p video quality. The unit fits unobtrusively behind a rearview mirror and has a secure mount with a simple dash cam attach and detach mechanism. Drivers can take photos at the push of a button, and by adding a 32 GB SD card the model can take five to six hours video in 1080p.
The loop recording feature overwrites the oldest recordings when the memory card is full, although users can lock videos to prevent those from being overwritten; when the device detects a collision, the current video will be locked.
Hudly Head-Up Display
The problem with GPS and other driver alert solutions is that the screen is generally inconvenient to view. The Hudly Wireless Portable Head-Up Display provides directions as well as incoming call information and texts, while the driver’s eyes can remain focused on the road. It connects to iOS and Android devices. The flat-panel, 6.2-inch high-resolution display, provides a 1:1 reflection, offering a wide angle, so drivers and passengers can see the information displayed, including diagnostic data. Brightness is automatically adjusted to suit lighting conditions.