Best Tech Awards: New York International Auto Show 2012
This year's New York International Auto Show revealed some exciting developments in the world of auto-tech. We witnessed flying cars, the taxi of the future and the rise of driver-safety focused infotainment systems. While some innovations might take years to reach the average consumer, we were pleased with the number of products already on the market or set to debut in the coming months. Check out our top picks of the NY Auto Show.
From iPad apps that let you call for concierge service to a Facebook app developed specifically for use in your vehicle, The New York International Auto Show proved that automakers aren’t afraid to step into the app development space. But of all of the apps we saw on the show floor, the best one we saw was also the most practical, Chevy’s $50 GoGo Navigation app.
The app, which is available for the iPhone and Android smartphones, provides users with the same functionality found in built-in navigation systems at a fraction of the cost. Users access the app through their vehicle's Chevy MyLink smartphone integration system, which pulls information from the cloud to their phone and pushes it to their in-dash touchscreen display.
GoGo Navigation will hit the market later this year alongside the new Chevy Spark and Chevy Sonic RS.
Best Concept Car
While the New York Auto Show had quite a few intriguing concept vehicles, Infiniti’s LE Concept blew us away. The car is powered by an all-electric, zero emissions engine and features a dual-screen infotainment system powered by an Intel Atom processor. But the best part of the LE Concept is its wireless inductive charging system. According to Infiniti, the charger is designed to sit on the garage floor and begins juicing the LE when the power receiver is properly aligned with the base.
Infiniti says we could see technologies like this integrated into production vehicles within the next two years.
Best Infotainment System
Mercedes Benz mbrace 2 takes infotainment to the next level. The latest version includes Facebook integration, Yelp and even a web browser. Unlike some competitors that rely on a touchscreen, mbrace 2 uses a knob so the driver's eyes can stay on the road. Other features include a digital journal, which chronicles driving stats and sends them to your phone.
Speaking of phones, Mercedes Benz' iPhone app now features the ability to beam addresses from your handset to the car for quicker navigation. Another cool feature is Drive2Friend, which shoots off a text to a friend asking permission to share their location. If your buddy replies yes, their GPS coordinates are sent to the car, pulling up directions automatically.
Motorists will get their first taste of mbrace 2 in early May when it debuts in the 2013 Mercedes 2013 SL class. However, it will be a standard feature in all 2013 models.
Best Teched-Out Car
A perfect combination of stunning design, power and tech, the Audi A7 is our choice for best teched-out car at the New York Auto Show. One of the first web-connected vehicles, the A7 features the Audi Connect 3G network, which can connect up to 8 mobile devices. Audi Connect also delivers navigation from Google Earth and can zoom in as close as 50 yards.Drivers access information through the MMI terminal using the control knob or voice recognition. Another cool feature is the touchpad equipped with handwriting recognition software. MMI is also connected to other key features of the A7, including adaptive cruise control.
The 2012 A7 is now available for eager drivers.