Weekend Open Forum: What in-vehicle technology do you use?

By on September 16, 2011, 8:00 PM

In-vehicle technology implementation has skyrocketed over the past several decades and even more rapidly over the past 10-20 years. It seems hard to believe that air bags have been around since the early 70s and advancements like electronic stability control, OnStar and GPS navigation have existed for over 15 years.

My family admittedly earned less income than most of my peers and as such, we never had a new car with any cutting-edge safety or luxury features. I can remember being the official map reader and direction giver during vacations when I was eight years old, well before consumer GPS technology was available. Many of our vehicles didn’t have air bags or other creature comforts like power windows or tape decks.

Safety features aside, a lot of in-car technology these days are targeted at user convenience. Wireless key fobs allow you to start your car without inserting a key, Bluetooth technology lets you talk on your mobile phone hands-free while driving, seat warmers keep your bottom toasty during chilly winter months and dedicated GPS navigation systems and smartphones help you get from point A to B with ease.

We would like to hear about what in-vehicle technology you use on a regular basis. Are you one of the millions that have purchased a dedicated GPS? Did your new car come with a navigation system pre-installed or perhaps you use your mobile phone for such tasks? What about keyless entry or ignitions systems? Or maybe you have a LoJack theft recovery system installed? Whatever it is, we want to hear about it!




User Comments: 55

Got something to say? Post a comment
Guest said:

I actually drive when I'm in my car. No technology that wasn't available 14 years ago when the car was built, except for a newer stereo with a USB port. A manual transmission (something I insist on) so I actually have to pay attention to my driving.

mopar man mopar man, TechSpot Ambassador, said:

Ironically, I'm the same way at the moment. When I start travelling, I'm going to use a GPS system. But yeah. Same boat.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Remote start, GPS, and my iPod are the most frequently used gadgets, but I also have an OnStar FMV that I just purchased about a week ago. I haven't had an opportunity to use it yet, other than setting it up, but I like the idea of having it in case I need it.

Lurker101 said:

I use the radio and that's about it, unless you want to include the cigarette lighter.

Staff
Shawn Knight Shawn Knight said:

I installed a nettop in the van I bought back in April which I use as an MP3 server. The computer sits in the space where the 13" CRT television was (its a conversion van with a raised roof).

Timonius Timonius said:

I have a super bright 900 lumen LED light that I mount to my mountain bike at night. It almost looks like a motorcycle is coming at ya. ;p

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

I have this really nifty Child Behavior Modification system (CBM). It employs I.I.H.T.S.T.C. (If I Have To Stop This Car) technology. It Works rather well

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

red1776 said:

I have this really nifty Child Behavior Modification system (CBM). It employs I.I.H.T.S.T.C. (If I Have To Stop This Car) technology. It Works rather well

+1

Anyways my vehicle is a mid/late 90s model so I don't have some of these more advanced/electronic "creature comforts." It does give me an excuse to burn some CDs now and then, though since I have a tape deck I should just use an MP3 player... On unfamiliar road trips I use a portable GPS unit.

freythman freythman said:

Mine uses gasoline, air, and DC power to create combustion, propelling my car forward. Oh, and power windows.

cptmds said:

Nothing here except a radio that sometimes works, and crank windows. And a regular key - useful for those -30C days. I've always wondered how those new push button starters handle difficult starts later in the car's life (mine is going on 14 now). Interestingly, the only time it has not been able to start (ever) is when the door was covered in 4 inches of ice and I couldn't get in....

Oh, and no alarm. No mp3, GPS or anything. If I want the fancy computerized equipment, I use my PC

Guest said:

only mp3-player, but rare. and the car has only abs and central locking. and is good simple like this, yet a usb port(for music) would have been better.

fpsgamerJR62 said:

manual transmission, FM radio and power windows. pretty low tech, I guess.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Power windows, locks and heated side mirrors and I use the cd player whenever the music on the radio sucks.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Does texting while driving count?

Vicenarian said:

Laser-Guided Missile system

Guest said:

Ham radio, Old technology is still my favorite.

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have a Sat-Nav; It's great if i ever want to get lost.

Guest said:

I use my Thunderbold for GPS/Navigation, Bluetooth/Music playing and hands free cell thru a Moto Roadster. I'm in the middle of nowhere so I can keep it on the same FM channel for a 100 mile radius of so.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Old school here too. Got your basic car with an am/fm radio.

SammyJames said:

gwailo247 said:

Does texting while driving count?

Yes. It counts toward the amount of time that you'll spend behind bars in certain districts, at least...

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Yes. It counts toward the amount of time that you'll spend behind bars in certain districts, at least...

Thankfully I don't live in North Korea.

codefeenix codefeenix said:

Is a whole vehicle not technology?

SammyJames said:

gwailo247 said:

Yes. It counts toward the amount of time that you'll spend behind bars in certain districts, at least...

Thankfully I don't live in North Korea.

Do you live in Ohio?

[link]

- S

Xero07 said:

My car has roll up windows and manual locks

Guest said:

My car has the 450 Air Conditioning. Great technology, works 100% of the time!

OUTLAWXXX said:

I have air conditioning and power windows. The year is an 06. It has a CD player but i'm hoping to get a new stereo soon with auxiliary input.

I use the maps/navigation program on my LG Optimus android phone for getting around but that's about it.

Guest said:

20 year old Volvo....

matrix86 matrix86 said:

SammyJames said:

I can't drive.

Don't worry, niether can half the people on the road :P

LadyBlueEyes51 said:

Just purchased a 2005 Toyota Corolla S and I have no idea what all it has. It has the electronic start button on the key fob---and car door lock, unlock feature. I have figured that much out so far....any info shared about this model of vehicle....would teach me much quicker than trying to figure it out myself.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

iPod dock for my EyePhone. It made me realise however how rubbish the iPhones shuffle feature is. Really really rubbish!

TJGeezer said:

Bought a used 2004 Explorer 4x4 when wife and I retired to Mexico. It came with stuff like seat warmers and a plug-in engine block doohickey that would let it start easily in northern Canada. Here in Baja Calif., not so useful. It has an in-dash 6-CD player, which is nice, but we'd much prefer an MP3 player or an input jack and it has neither. Both 4x4 and ABS braking are useful on a regular basis, since the local dirt roads turn to butter when it rains. And the backing up beep-beep-beeper that picks up its tempo as you approach something behind you is useful. That's about it unless you count remote door locking/unlocking and cruise control. Maybe I'll wire in an MP3 player someday. We plan to drive the thing until the wheels fall off or a 4x4 hybrid or electric that can taxi 7 or 8 at a time of my wife's church-lady friends around gets affordable. I figure they're saving souls in wholesale lots. I suppose that's a good thing.

Guest said:

Roll-up windows, manual transmission, tape deck, power steering. That's about it.

ess333 said:

usb, AWD when its raining

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

LadyBlueEyes51 said:

Just purchased a 2005 Toyota Corolla S and I have no idea what all it has. It has the electronic start button on the key fob---and car door lock, unlock feature. I have figured that much out so far....any info shared about this model of vehicle....would teach me much quicker than trying to figure it out myself.

If you register you should be able to download the manual:

http://www.toyota.com/owners/

Guest said:

A steering wheel.

Guest said:

The HUD display and Driver info center (Fuel used, Average MPG) in my 02' Grand Prix GTP

RH00D RH00D said:

I use two feet and a heart beat.

killeriii said:

I think of my car like my home computer.

Upgrades and DIY work are always better than factory.

3000w stereo, 9 speakers, iphone + 2ipod dock type connectors.

GPS, handsfree voice control phone. (it is illegal in Canada, txt or talk while driving)

plugs, wires, battery, coil, alternator. (all aftermarket)

keyless entry and ABS are the only tech's it came with.

IMO remote starters are more problem than they're worth or i'd have that too.

HUD for my PCM would be nice tho. I've driven some new vehicles and the info in the dash is nice. mine only has gear select and milage.

Guest said:

This is the first time I have been disappointed in TechSpot. WTF would you ask for peoples opinions on common electronics in modern cars. If you ask dumb question then you get dumb responses. Example, i use my power steering, power window, power seats, remote keyless entry, power locks, radar detector, and radio, all the time. I was hoping that this article would be about people's opinions and experience on good items that would enhance there vehicle. Example; installing a gps in there vehicle or using a mobile device instead, installing a computer to diagnose/read stats on there cars computer, or some other new helpful device that is worth wild to own.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

just a 2003 dodge ram with standard everything it doesnt even have power windows but i love it i do use my phone as an mp3 player and gps though.

Emin3nce said:

Yeah I have a CD player... Get this, it even plays MP3 CD's... Not that I use that part of it. I also have an in car fridge to keep my beers cold.

Guest said:

FM Radio playing through four 10w speakers. ;p

Guest said:

@Xero07: My driver's side door has a pair of vice grips in place of a handle to roll up the window.

Kraemepoo said:

Radio and CD player, but only when the weather prevents me from putting down my windows.

My car is a sacred place where technology has no place. Its just me a, steering wheel, a stick shift, and the roar of a 500 hp v8.

Arris Arris said:

Bluetooth phone connectivity, ipod (lives in the car as I put 32Gb memory in my phone and use it for music when not in the car) connected via touch screen radio, front and rear parking sensors (actually make me more nervous than parking without them), cruise control, automatic lights and rain sensor, DAB radio. Didn't get Sat nav in the car as I knew I could use my Desire HD for navigation. And keep track of fuel consumption, remaining range etc on multifunction computer display on the dash. I like my gadgets more than I like high performance (Golf 1.4 Tsi 122PS)

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Got a Brand new Corsa, Has electric Windows, Mirrors and all are heated. Radio with Blutooth which works with my IPhone 3GS 32GB. Air con, electronic Steering, Trip computer with all the acronims (ABS, EBD etc...) Cruise Control and a few other bits and bobs I can't remember off the top of my head.

I use my Iphone for Music, Tom Tom App, Phone and as an access point to the web so Laptops can connect to it for internet access on the go. (Vauxhall Corsa 100PS 1.4 SRI)

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nissan Maxima. dual-driver seat and mirror memory. dual-zone ac system. gps navigation. satellite radio. heated seats. heated steering wheel. keyless entry. remote window positioning. easy access retracting drivers seat and steering wheel. power windows with 1-touch up/down. home-link garage door access. lojack. bluetooth speaker phone accessory on the sunvisor.

The one or two things that I would want is integrated bluetooth and MP3/iPod connection. I kind of worked around the bluetooth issue by my motorola speaker thing, but I couldn't fix the mp3 problem. I tried an aftermarket accessory once, but because of my navigation / satellite radio options I don't think it was made to work for this situation and it only plays a second or two of music then quit.

I'd also like to input gps while driving (I have a co-pilot people!). I know my way around town and can get with-in a few miles of where I want to go. But GPS makes life easier by directing you through those last few miles to my destination for the first time.

Brock Samson said:

It sounds like you asked the wrong market according to the comments.

I do like the warning systems on the new Ford vehicles... the flashing lights and loud beeps safety features seem to help keep my attention on the road while I'm staring at the navigation system in the dash.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.