New vehicles today come with more new technology than ever before: systems that try to make our smartphones and MP3 players work seamlessly by voice command with car stereos, tech that keeps us from crashing and systems that even nudge us awake if we doze.
It's pretty amazing stuff. But while all the new tech arriving in vehicles is well-intentioned, it doesn't all work as advertised. And we are seeing quality reputations made, lost and injured as a result. And so AOL Autos this year set out to be a better guide to, and arbiter of, the new gadgets, systems and technology new car buyers are confronting as they shop.
"It used to be that our main concern when assessing new vehicles was quality of materials, fit and finish, horsepower, etc., and those things are still very important," says AOL Autos Editor-in-Chief David Kiley. "But auto companies rarely get that stuff wrong any more so the big field of battle on quality is over the new and emerging technology--how well your smartphone connects to the car and whether they are more distracting than using a phone in your hand."
AOL Autos and Autoblog have spent a year testing every new car hitting the market with special attention to evaluating new and significantly upgraded technology in the categories of telemtaics (infotainment systems), connectivity (with smartphones and Internet) and active safety (think collision avoidance and lane departure warning systems).
We identified two finalists for each of our three categories: Audi connect with Google Street View and Cadillac CUE for telematics; Chrysler Uconnect and MyFord Mobile for connectivity; Nissan's Tire Pressure Alert & Refill System system and Honda's LaneWatch™ for active safety.
[click the links on each one to take you to a detailed explanation and video about how each works]
AOL's Technology of the Year Award judging panel--comprised of editors from AOL Autos, Autoblog and Engadget--named these six finalists because of their exceptional design and execution. The panel will vote on these six technologies and name a Grand Prize winner at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las vegas in January. But we need you, our readers, to help us. We would like you to review the six write-ups and videos and cast your vote for which technology seems like the best idea to you. We know you won't have tested them like we have. But we will count your collective vote as one judge on our panel. We are counting oin you to help us.
And please consider "liking" Aol Autos on Facebook. Not only will you get up to date news about the best deals and the news you need to know, but you will be invited at different times of the year to enter to win free stuff we are giving away--including a new car. In 2012, we have given away a 2012 MINI Countryman, OnStar FMV, Escort radar detectors, cleaning and detailing supplies and Magellan GPS products.