NEW YORK— Automakers are taking their cues from smartphones, incorporating new services and features that work with a quick tap or swipe. The technologies being bundled into today’s vehicles are turning ordinary cars into smart cars.
We spend a lot of time on our mobile devices these days and automakers have taken note, rolling out connected cars that make it easy to do nearly everything from your phone.
“We all enjoy those kinds of experiences wherein you want something and by the push of a button, everything gets taken care of for you. You do not have to go here and there and piece a bunch of things together by yourself,” said Jim Buczkowski, director of Ford electronics systems.
Ford recently introduced FordPass, a mobile platform that lets car owners access services like finding and paying for a parking spot.
Over at Buick, the OnStar RemoteLink app connects owners to their cars no matter how far away they are.
"This car in Detroit, I could start from here in New York. Or let us say I have the only key to it and my wife in Detroit needs to get in the car, I can unlock it for her from here," said Stuart Fowle, manager of Buick communications.
The feature harnesses the car's 4G LTE connectivity. Up to seven mobile devices can connect to it at any given time.
“We want people to feel as if they are at home within the car... Which a lot of people want to be in just for the driving experience, now they can be in there as well for the connectivity experience," explained Rob Peterson, marketing manager for Buick crossovers.
But what does that connectivity mean for your privacy?
“It is important to have personal information to create that individualized, personalized experience, but certainly it will be a customer’s option," said Buczkowski.
For certain consumers, it may not even be an issue.
“There certainly is a factor where a younger consumer is much more comfortable giving up a lot more privacy and data than an older consumer is, and more likely than not, you are going to see a similar behavior to how they handle their personal privacy ... within the vehicle,” said Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst with IHS Automotive.
Considering how capable our mobile devices have become, perhaps the only question left to answer is: "Who’s driving?"