Although smart cars are quickly becoming the latest trend in the auto entertainment industry, not everyone has the ability and resources to convert to this mode of transportation. Luckily, there are a variety of dongles, apps and gadgets available to make most car models feel brand new again.
This app is for sale in the Google Play store for just one dollar, and there is even an ad-supported version available for free. iOnRoad recognizes its current location by accessing a smartphone inside the car. By using that smartphone’s camera, GPS system and sensors, this app is able to determine and track the distance to the nearest vehicles ahead. iOnRoad is able to calculate car speed, detecting when those vehicles up ahead are too close and helping to brake in time to avoid a collision. In addition to these features, the app includes:
• a car locator
• a heads-up display
• a speed sign detector
• a video recorder.
Automatic is a combination program and app that is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Users pay a one-time price of $99.95, giving them access to the program that pairs with the app. The app tracks vehicle problems and travel habits, including:
• the car’s location
• engine problems
• fuel efficiency
• low fuel
• trip history
In the case of a traffic accident, Automatic is also equipped to call for assistance.
Zubie is a dongle that is available for free, but it requires a yearly subscription service that costs $99.95. This annual payment converts a vehicle into a Wi-Fi hotspot; however, an additional $10 per month is required for Verizon cellular service to keep Zubie running. Additional features include:
• engine diagnostics
• a gas station locator
• insights about the vehicle’s driving habits
• various maintenance alerts
• roadside assistance
4. The GoPro
The GoPro gadget allows users to capture unique moments in their vehicles. With the ability to photograph landscapes and scenic drives in panorama format, the GoPro revolutionizes action photography. Other features of this gadget include:
• time lapse capabilities
• built-in Wi-Fi
• Bluetooth tethering
• instant sharing and editing of photos
5. Aftermarket Head-Up Display (HUD)
There are a wide variety of different aftermarket head-up displays (HUDs) that can be added to vehicles. An HUD is simply a gadget with readings that are visible without the driver’s eyes lowering away from the road, thereby allowing the driver to keep his or her head up. The Garmin HUD+ is a common aftermarket option. The driver simply plugs a smartphone into the high-tech projector, and the HUD projects the turn-by-turn directions onto the windshield of the vehicle.
6. Aftermarket Rearview Camera
Rearview cameras, formerly a luxury feature, will be required on all new vehicles beginning in 2018. However, that leaves many unequipped cars on the road. An aftermarket rearview camera is a very easy gadget to install and use, and they are often just as good as the ones provided by car manufacturers. Common features of rearview cameras include:
• parking assistance
• night vision
• distance scale lines
7. Dashboard Cameras
A dashboard camera is another vehicle feature that is quickly becoming more desired and important. Because these gadgets use smart sensors to track traveling events and to pinpoint where the footage was captured, dashboard cameras are often crucial for providing evidence to insurance companies. In addition, recordings of unique or incredible events can be posted on blogs and social media.
8. Aftermarket Wireless Phone Charging
These days, nearly everyone has a smartphone with him or her, especially while traveling. Having the ability to charge a phone while in the car is extremely useful and potentially life-saving. Adding an aftermarket wireless phone charging system can help drivers avoid unexpected phone death, annoying cords littering the dashboard and console, and the hassle of dealing with USB car adapters. These gadgets are convenient and becoming more necessary as smartphones become part of everyday life.
9. Modern Radar Detectors
Another gadget that is rapidly becoming more common is a radar detector. Detectors are able to track the active red lights and speed cameras that police use in order to pull over speeding vehicles. The information discovered by modern radar detectors, such as Escort’s Passport Max2, is sent directly to the driver’s smartphone. The gadgets supply a lot of important information, including:
• weekly online updates of speed zones
• warnings of upcoming speed cameras
• current driving speeds via satellite radar
10. Aftermarket Infotainment System
Drivers can add aftermarket infotainment systems, such as the Parrot Asteroid Mini, to their vehicles to provide additional entertainment. These gadgets are hands-free and mounted to the dashboard. Top features of infotainment systems include:
• voice-activated calls
• access to music and audio sources
• web radio
• navigation tools
• points of interest
Cars with outdated technology can be updated with aftermarket and cutting-edge options. By adding these apps, gadgets and dongles, older vehicles can almost feel brand new again.