Dash Cams Hold Benefits Despite Absence of Insurance Incentives

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By Ali Oswald

Dash cams may not be as popular in the U.S. as in Russia, where footage from them has produced many popular YouTube videos, but they do have a number of practical benefits for drivers.

Related: Most Backup Cameras Don't Like Bad Weather

Dash cams can give drivers additional "peace of mind," said Johan-Till Broer, Garmin public relations manager, if a crash happens. Having a recording of an incident can help protect against insurance fraud. Some dash cams have impact sensors that save footage for 3 to 5 minutes before and after a collision, said Chris Kooistra, Cobra Electronics' director of marketing. Both companies sell mainstream dash cams.

The device can be an education tool for drivers, too. Parents can review footage with their teen drivers to point out bad habits that need to be fixed and reinforce good ones, said Carinsurance.com Managing Editor Michelle Megna.

By Jennifer Newman | October 8, 2014 | Comments (8)

AAA: Hands-Free Voice Recognition Systems Still Distracting

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Ever felt like the voice recognition from your car or smartphone garbled more than it understood? You're not alone. In J.D. Power's 2014 Initial Quality Study, voice-recognition systems added significantly to the headaches in new or redesigned cars, which often pack more of the technology than models unchanged from the previous year. Now a new study from AAA finds that voice recognition isn't just annoying; it can be dangerous.

Related: Distracted Driving Campaign Targets 'Big Fat Myth' of Hands-Free Safety

And it's not just in-car systems; Apple's Siri personal assistant proved even more distracting. AAA and the University of Utah conducted the multiyear study, which coded distraction categories from 1 (least distracting) to 5 (most distracting) through driving simulators and real-world test cars rigged with measurements for driver reaction times, plus dozens of real drivers.

By Kelsey Mays | October 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Video: How Easy Is It to Pair the New iPhone to Your Car?

Now that you've got the iPhone6 in your hot little hand, you'll naturally want to know how compatible it is with your car's multimedia system. As Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder explains in the video above, our experts put the new smartphone to the test in a number of vehicles to generally impressive effect. Watch the video to learn what features you can use and what else you'll need to know about this mating of mobile media.

By Matt Schmitz | September 29, 2014 | Comments (1)

So Far, So Good for iPhone 6 in Cars We've Tested

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When the iPhone 5 rolled out in September 2012, we had some major trouble getting it to work in our fleet of test cars. Thankfully, it turned out to be a simple fix. With the iPhone 6, it seems there are little to no hiccups with car integration.

Related: Should You Use the Apple Watch in Your Car?

First, we tested the iPhone 6's basic iTunes functions, which was something that didn't work for the iPhone 5.

We had a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T with the Uconnect multimedia system at our Chicago headquarters. The iPhone paired easily with Uconnect, quickly bringing up all track information and album artwork. Then we tried our long-term 2014 Chevy Impala equipped with the MyLink multimedia system. Again, track info and album artwork immediately displayed.

Next was the all-new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, which is in for two weeks of testing with us.

By David Thomas | September 22, 2014 | Comments (3)

First California Permit to Test Self-Driving Cars Goes to Audi

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Audi announced today that it had received the first permit issued by California for the testing of self-driving, or autonomous, cars on the Golden State's roadways. The news comes the same day as California's new laws governing the testing of automated vehicles take effect with an eye toward the eventual consumer use of driverless cars.

Related: Survey: Motorists Apprehensive About Driverless Cars

"California roads are especially crucial to Audi Piloted driving testing because the state is home to the brand's Electronics Research Lab," the automaker stated in a news release. "ERL engineers are working on a wide range of automated driving issues, including human-machine interface prompts that indicate when the human or the vehicle are handling driving functions."

By Matt Schmitz | September 16, 2014 | Comments (6)

Should You Use the Apple Watch in Your Car?

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Apple just took the wraps off its new iPhone 6, which ships on Sept. 19 for a contract-tethered starting price of $199. Along with the phone came a new — and much-anticipated — device from the Cupertino, Calif., company: the Apple Watch. Apple's first foray into the field of wearable devices, which are multiplying like digital rabbits, the Apple Watch heralds new ways to do a lot of old things: text messages, checking the weather and social media, but it also has maps and turn-by-turn directions built in. It will start at $349 and be available in early 2015.

Related: Navdy Rethinks the Head-Up Display

Having all this information on your wrist may be as convenient — or more so — than having it on your phone, but looking at your wrist while driving may not be an advisable experience for drivers.

By Kelsey Mays | September 10, 2014 | Comments (2)

Cadillac Preps Self-Driving Tech for 2017

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In the not-too-distant future, your Cadillac could know that another car is approaching from a blind corner and warn you before you or the other car could see or detect the danger.

Related: Feds: Car-to-Car Tech Can Save Lives

That's because so-called "vehicle-to-vehicle" technology will make its debut in an all-new 2017 car from GM's luxury division, CEO Mary Barra told reporters at the Intelligent Transport System World Congress in Detroit on Sunday. The 2017 Cadillac CTS will also boast such tech.

GM plans to debut the technology under the term "Super Cruise," which will also enable semi-autonomous driving. Super Cruise can brake, accelerate and maintain your lane through steering assist without any driver input. Many automakers already offer such technology — Mercedes-Benz's Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, for example — but require you to periodically keep your hands on the wheel. In certain highway conditions, Super Cruise will not.

By Kelsey Mays | September 8, 2014 | Comments (0)

GM's OnStar 4G LTE Rolling Into Dealerships

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As we reported previously, GM aims to be a leader in onboard 4G LTE connectivity and has begun selling 2015 models equipped with the technology. To date only Audi has provided onboard 4G, appearing first in its newly redesigned 2015 A3 sedan. A 4G LTE connection in the car has broader and probably more meaningful implications than onboard Wi-Fi, such as fast delivery of navigation and traffic data and, eventually, the capacity to update onboard multimedia or even car functions wirelessly. But for now, the focus is on the OnStar hotspot, to which up to seven devices can connect.

Related: 2014 Chevrolet Impala: Five Surprising Features

GM is making the hardware standard on most of its models, even the tiny Chevrolet Spark, though the goods will come later in the 2015 model year to the full-size truck-based models: the Chevy Tahoe, Suburban and Silverado; GMC Yukon and Sierra; and Cadillac Escalade. Other vehicles that can actually fit seven humans, the full-size crossovers -- the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia - will wait until the 2016 model year. GM says some of its base work-truck pickups will be sold without the hardware.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | August 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Cyber-Security Experts Name 'Most-Hackable' Cars

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We'll get right to the point, as time is of the essence in this fast-paced new world of connected cars and cybersecurity anxiety: You may be driving one of the "Most Hackable" cars as designated by researchers. On Wednesday, Twitter security engineer Charlie Miller and Christopher Valasek, director of Security Intelligence at computer security firm IOActive, presented a study at the 2014 Black Hat USA security conference in Las Vegas, identifying popular car models they determined to be the vehicles most vulnerable to a remote cyber-attack.

Related: AAA Wants to Protect Personal Data With Connected-Car Bill of Rights

The top three Most Hackable vehicles are:

By Matt Schmitz | August 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

Navdy Rethinks the Head-Up Display

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Imagine: You're driving to meet a client, following turn-by-turn directions on a small display that's superimposed on the windshield. An incoming call alert appears on the display's right side; it's your spouse. You lift your hand, give a thumbs-up to a small projecting device that sits atop your dash, and the call commences via Bluetooth. Sure, you'll pick up the dry cleaning tonight. You make a swiping gesture across the air above the steering wheel and the call ends.

More Car Gadgets

And you're doing this in your 8-year-old Honda.

It's all thanks to Navdy, a San Francisco-based company whose $499 aftermarket head-up display combines the usual HUD assortment (vehicle speed, engine rpm, warning lights) with navigation directions, phone calls, texts and more. It streams off an iOS or Android smartphone via Bluetooth and Navdy's dedicated apps.

Navdy's HUD has the potential to become a sort of Google Glass for cars; it ships in early 2015, with discounted preorders starting today for $299. Google's techie eye-ware has invited some controversy behind the wheel, and Navdy's device could prompt similar complaints. But if it works as advertised, this HUD holds promise.

By Kelsey Mays | August 5, 2014 | Comments (2)

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