The new Chevy Impala comes with a little bit of James Bond inside. Press a button and - voila! - a secret storage bin large enough to hold valuable items like an MP3 player, mobile phone or wallet is unveiled behind the 8-inch MyLink center infotainment & navigation display. Owners can enter a PIN code and lock Valet Mode's sliding door, securing high-value items like smartphones.
It's more than just a second, smaller glovebox. As an extension of GM's MyLink connectivity, it physically locks the bin, plus the information that's been shared between your phone (via Bluetooth or hard line) and the system. When Valet Mode is engaged, information is disabled so that no one can view it in the instrument panel until the PIN code is entered twice to open the door and unlock the information. Each use of the secure door and system information prompts a PIN, so you can repeatedly use the same one or select new ones on each occasion. As part of the Impala's MyLink infotainment system, Valet Mode is standard equipment on the LT and LTZ trim level Impalas.
"As we started our next-generation MyLink project, we saw a big privacy concern and opportunity," says Matt Highstrom, GM's MyLink Interaction Designer. "Smartphones are prevalent and privacy is a growing issue. We didn't have a good storage location at the time. If we did define a new space for locating a smartphone, it would also give us the opportunity to offer charging the device there. With our Valet Mode, all sensitive info is secure. It operates much like a hotel safe with a user-defined 4-digit PIN for security."
Chevy's new Impala was the first to get the Valet bin early this year. The new Corvette and new trucks include it now, as well. Providing security for your more valuable electronics and personal items, MyLink with valet mode is a worthy AOL Technology of the Year contender.