Navigation systems in vehicles are an essential tool for drivers. Long gone are the days of a paper map, which is hard to fold and can become a hazard if trying to read and drive at the same time. Over the years, many drivers have become unimpressed by the on-board navigational systems and opt to use their smartphone apps for accuracy and clarity.
Smartphone usage while driving can be a dangerous mix because it may require as much attention as a paper map. What many drivers need and want are apps that are installed into their vehicle’s navigational system, as fumbling around with a smartphone, while driving, can cause a car accident. Fortunately, for many luxury car owners, there are car apps already on-board for easier navigation. For the rest of us, we might have to wait awhile.
Mercedes Benz’s mbrace
According to the official Mercedes Benz website, “mbrace brings the internet to your dashboard…it connects you to your car from your smartphone or computer and brings you a world of convenience and security.” mbrace allows Mercedes Benz owners to have a sense of safety when driving (or even when they are not). The onboard safety features include:
– In the event of a car accident, a driver can press the SOS button (think of the concept behind OnStar systems). If an air bag or seat belt tensioner is activated, the mbrace system will make the call for the driver, reporting the incident and the location automatically and quickly.
– Statistically, teenage age drivers are the least experienced and the most likely to be involved in a car accident. Mercedes Benz owners can track their teen driver (granted the teen is driving the Benz), with the use of mbrace. Parents can set up driving zones and be alerted if the set boundaries or speed has been broken by your teen.
– Roadside assistance can keep you out of harm’s way. Whether you have a flat tire, a dead battery or any other mechanical worry, a press of a button will summon help immediately.
– In addition to the safety features, mbrace offers weather reports and road conditions before you hit bad weather and can navigate you through unknown territory.
Like Mercedes Benz’s mbrace, Lexus’ Enform offers many of the same type of features, keeping drivers from using the phone in the event of a car accident or when trying to locate their destination.
– If a Lexus driver runs out of gas, has a flat tire or needs a tow, long gone are the days of digging the AAA card out of the glove box. All drivers need to do is press the Emergency Assistance Button (SOS) and help is on the way.
– The SOS button is also used if there is a medical emergency, a traffic accident, or a driver is calling on the behalf of a stranded motorist. 24 hour service and GPS tracking allows the caller to be spotted quickly.
– If air bags are deployed or the vehicles sensors’ detect that there has been a rear end collision, Enform will automatically connect to a response center. If help is needed, the response center will contact an Emergency Response Team in the area.
Cadillac’s CUE is a 8 inch LCD touch screen, which resembles a smartphone screen with large, easy-to-navigate icons to execute commands. Drivers, who should always have their hands on the wheel whenever possible, may also use CUE on the steering column or through voice command. CUE offers conveniences to drivers, like other onboard navigational systems:
– Without needing to grab the phone and make a call (which is a big “no-no” on the roadways), drivers can make a call through voice activation.
– For roadside or medical assistance, CUE has OnStar available. In the event of an accident, Emergency Response Teams can track the driver’s location with quickly.
– Directions can be viewed in 3D for a more clear and accurate picture of your navigational route.
While new car apps aboard luxury vehicles are not yet made available to all drivers, they help keep drivers less distracted, better informed, and safer on our roadways. A luxury car is an impressive sight on the road, but a safer, well-focused driver is much more impressive.
About the Author:
Andrew Miller is a passionate member of the End Ecocide movement, an avid blogger, environmental law student and co-founder of the tech startup Scan and Ban (www.ScanandBan.com); a free mobile app developed to empower the public to find out what toxins are in their food and pass legislature to ban those dangerous ingredients.