Edition: April 2013 - Vol 21 Number 04
Pay parking meters by phone
Parkmobile USA launched a service in Albuquerque, N.M., that allows motorists to use their mobile phone to pay for parking. Motorists must register with the company first. After setting up an account, customers can start using the system with their registered mobile phone. They can also select an option to receive text message alerts and reminders 15 minutes before their time expires.
Research repair info online
Federal-Mogul Corp. has introduced a website – www.FMSmartChoice.com – designed to help consumers make informed decisions about a wide range of common automotive repairs and maintenance tasks. The site is said to include detailed information to help consumers better understand the basic function of several major vehicle systems and components. It is also said to give consumers information about replacement parts manufactured by – you guessed it – Federal-Mogul.
Hacker- and virus-resistant features for in-car technology
Ford Motor Co. announced it is offering a suite of security features to protect Ford owners from the threat of computer hackers and viruses. The features are necessary as Ford moves deeper into in-car personal technology, according to the company. Ford’s SYNC system, for example, allows owners to connect digital media players and Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones to their vehicle’s entertainment system and operate them with voice commands. The mobile phone is also a gateway to a number of Internet “cloud services” through SNC’s Traffic, Directions and Information application, says the company. Customers with voice-activated navigation have the ability to protect their programmed destinations and addresses – such as “Home” – from unauthorized eyes.
Rear-seat entertainment system
The 2010 Volvo XC70 was shown at the recent Chicago Auto Show with what the company says is the industry’s first Internet-connected rear-seat entertainment system with Windows XP, WiFi and a 500G hard drive. The product, still in the conceptual phase, will allow customers to surf the Internet; download applications, video and music; and connect their vehicle to their home computer, thus allowing video, audio and other home data content to be transferred to the vehicle’s on-board computer.
3G connectivity in the Audi A8
Qualcomm Inc. and AUDI AG announced that Audi’s Mobile Media Interface (MMI) Plus in-car navigation system, featuring integrated UMTS third-generation connectivity from Qualcomm, will be available on select Audi A8 vehicles this year. The system will have high-speed data connectivity and simultaneous voice and data connections, according to Qualcomm. The company is said to have integrated Google Earth to provide high-resolution 3D satellite and aerial imagery to the navigation system. MMI’s embedded 3G connectivity is also said to allow the car to perform as a mobile “hot spot,” allowing passengers to connect their Wi-Fi devices to the Internet.
Used-car reports available online
Consumer Guide Automotive reports that visitors can get free Carfax Vehicle History Reports from reputable used-car dealers on its website (www.cgauto.com). Using the unique 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN) found on vehicle dashboards and title documents, Carfax is said to instantly generate a detailed Vehicle History Report on any used car or light truck.
Don’t you dare put one on your car!
Here’s another one that wouldn’t go over well with your physician customers, but it might be something to pass along to your kids…who have their own cars! LUV YOUR RIDE, a Southern California auto accessories company, has launched a line of 3-D emblems to personalize your car. Said to be inspired by trendy, gangster hip-hop designs, the 12 designs include a Five Pointed Star, Paw, Little Devil Heart, Skull and Cougar. They are all three-dimensional, and several are encrusted with rhinestones.