CarsDiva’s Blog

An Auto Industry Insider’s View…From A Woman’s Perspective

Archive for December, 2012

Cheers to a Safe, Responsible, and Happy New Year!!!

Posted by carsdiva on December 30, 2012

And another one bites the dust!  As you kiss 2012 goodbye and ring in 2013 with Auld Lang Syne, champagne, and celebrations, remember that this is one of the most dangerous nights to be on the road.  Statistics show that compared to all other days, this has the highest percentage of deaths due to alcohol-related car crashes.

Cheers to a Safe, Responsible, and Happy New Year!

Cheers to a Safe, Responsible, and Happy New Year!

Use extra caution when driving New Year’s Eve!  It comes down to personal responsibility.  Avoid distractions, stay focused, and wear your seatbelt– all things you should do regularly, but it’s especially important on this evening.

And remember— DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!  Make sure you plan ahead to secure lodging, or if you are headed home, have a designated driver or taxi service (as we all know how difficult this can be on NYE, regardless of where you live.)  If you live in Seattle or San Francisco, you can opt for SideCar!  It’s a ride-sharing service.  Just punch in your location on the app to find out who’s nearby and can give you a ride. Everything is tracked, and drivers undergo a background check so you don’t have to be concerned about safety, and at the end, you simply the “pay” driver with whatever donation you deem appropriate. I’d suggest that you visit their website, www.Side.cr, and download the app ahead of time.  Another option is Uber— the on-demand car service, accessible via their app, a text message or the Web.  It’s a bit pricier but again, another great option and it’s available in many major metropolitan cities.  Check out their website, www.Uber.com, to determine if it’s available in your area.

On another note, AAA  in collaboration with Budweiser, are offering their “Tow To Go” for the eighth consecutive year, where they’ll tow the car [of inebriated drivers] and drive them home, free of charge.  It’s not offered in every state/city, so be sure to check ahead if that’s a viable, (last resort,) option for you.

If you see a someone in your group intoxicated, be a good friend and take away their keys. Driving under the influence could result in exuberant fines, jail time, or even worse– it could cost you your life (or someone else’s for that matter.)  It’s not worth it, so be smart and be responsible!

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013!

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Siri, Can You Integrate With My Car?

Posted by carsdiva on December 6, 2012

I’m a bit behind on posting about the integration of Siri into vehicles, however, given the recent announcement by General Motors at the Los Angeles Auto Show, I found it a fitting time to elaborate on the topic.  Apple announced back in June at their World Wide Developer’s conference that they were working with several auto manufacturers to build-in Siri, the “Eyes Free,” voice-activated technology featured on the iPhone.  At [that] time, they were in discussions with General Motors, Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi, Honda and Toyota.

Siri

Siri

So What’s the Good Word?

BMW expects to have Siri integrated into their vehicles by mid-2013, to complement their “ConnectedDrive” system.  They’ve been known to be on the forefront of technology, specifically as it refers to voice-command and the integration of smartphones, (like the iPhone).  This integration would allow drivers to interact with their iPhone, via Siri, tune to their favorite music, send a text, create reminders, set alarms, and create events. (Like many other vehicles, you can already make voice-activated phone calls.)

Mercedes-Benz  had mentioned earlier this year that they expected to introduce the integration of Siri with their future [European] A-Class models.  Users would plug in their iPhone (4S or higher) and access an MB app.  This would provide access to everything on the phone, using Siri, while allowing them to keep their hands on the wheel.  I find it to be an intelligent move, as despite the laws and penalties meant to prevent texting while driving, I still see people doing it all the time!  (And I drive a lot…that’s an understatement.)  Mercedes did confirm that they would not implement a specific “Apple” button, but would continue to use their own.

And it’s been confirmed!  GM officially announced that they will integrate Siri early next year, beginning with the Chevy Spark and the Chevy Sonic.  So how will it work?  Well, users will have to connect their iPhone via Bluetooth, and then use the voice-activated button on the steering wheel to access Siri’s “Eyes Free” mode.  This will allow them to do things like make a call (which is already possible through the MyLink infotainment system,) switch audio sources and play

Chevrolet © 2012

Chevrolet © 2012

songs from the iTunes library, send a text message, and access the calendar and make appointments.  While Siri will answer questions, the line is drawn if the answers are “complex”, requiring a web page to display.

Cristi Landy, Chevrolet’s Marketing Director for small cars said, “…Siri’s Eyes Free capability will be available in the Spark and Sonic well before the luxury brands.  Safe, easy, reliable and portable connectivity is a top priority for our customers, and Siri complements MyLink’s existing capabilities to help deliver an incredible driving experience.”

Maybe, maybe not…

As to some of the others– Honda, Chrysler, Toyota, Land Rover, Jaguar, Audi and Toyota, say they’re working on the integration, or there may be future potential, or they have not commented on the subject matter.  Stay tuned for further information.

There’s been quite a bit of talk about banning the use of mobile devices all together while operating a motor vehicle, but hey, let’s be realistic— smartphones have become an integral part of people’s daily lives.  Not going to happen.  I think a work-around or alternative is a bit more likely to surface, and the facts speak for themselves.  Trends in the auto industry tend to have a domino effect. “Lead and they will follow…”

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