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Automotive Technology Round-Up: 2013 Consumer Electronics Show

  • The bells and whistles of cars in the future
  • On display at the 2013 CES
  • Radio is the next big thing

Here’s a prediction based on the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas: you’re going to come across some unusual names when it comes to in-car tech. Starlink, Dragon Drive, Glympse, Aha, TuneIn and Kaliki are just a few examples.

If you have a smartphone, and you probably do, this not-so-humble device will be at the silicon heart of your future car’s infotainment system. And depending on the make of car, that’s where those words will come in.

Ford’s Sync system will link up with the Kaliki Audio Newsstand app to bring current events and topical articles into the cabin, read aloud not by some less-than-human voice with odd inflections but by real voice-over artists with crisp enunciation.

Sticking with Ford and Sync, another bell (or is it a whistle?) is Glympse, a voice-activated location sharing app. Yes, users can tell other people where they are just by speaking. To be fair, it’s a bit more involved than that. A voice message can bring up a map reference on the recipient’s computer. Or that info can save making a call or text, while still giving your other half time to make a shopping list following that "I’m right near the supermarket" message.

Also on Sync, but coming to Porsche, Chrysler, Acura, Honda and Subaru is Aha, an Internet radio app. Or, as Aha puts it, "web-based entertainment and information in a radio-like format familiar to drivers." What that means is more than 30,000 customizable internet radio stations streaming music, news and podcasts through the smartphone and out of the car’s speakers. It will also read out text messages and social media updates.

As Sync is to Ford, Starlink is to Subaru — and that includes Aha. TuneIn is yet another Internet radio app found in the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic and 2014 Chevrolet Spark. This has 70,000 stations, so users really should be able to find something they like.

Bear in mind these systems can be activated by voice commands.

Dragon Drive is a Hyundai creation with an advanced voice recognition program. Not much to do with dragons, but it’s a way for drivers to speak instructions in a natural and conversational manner. They can dictate text messages, request weather forecasts, ask the audio system to play their favorite songs or get directions to a restaurant.

What this means to you: At the 2013 CES, That smartphone becomes even more indispensable — to you and your car.

 
Colin Ryan
Colin Ryan specializes in writing about new cars. But he has also covered trucks, vans, 3-wheelers, even the occasional motorbike. That’s the kind of thing that happens while contributing to the Los Angeles Times, Autotrader, Kelley Blue Book, Popular Mechanics, Variety, Mazda and Lexus customer magazines, as well as many enthusiast sites and publications. He was also a staff writer at BBC Top... Read More about Colin Ryan

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