This article is not about the legal aspects. Above all, it's not about the apps, that warn us against radar traps. Neither will we be posing the question, of whether the passengers should be allowed to use them or not. It would be absolutely sufficient, if telephoning without a hands-free device were forbidden, indeed the use of smartphones would be allowed. By the way, there are hands-free devices for cars with- and for those without radios, which anyone can easily install.
For those who can afford a luxury car, there are any number of human assistants who can be called on to give advice concerning any possible and also some impossible problems. Those who don't have access to these assistants, may fall back on the smartphone for help. We'll have to wait and see, what can be expected …
Providing the device has a NFC-Tag or a remote control sensor, in the future it could be used for the keyless operation of the car. The possibility of using special apps to reduce the insurance premium is shown in more detail here . Possibly also interesting, is that apart from the temperature, also the relative humidity can be measured.
Speech recognition is also possible, depending somewhat on the surrounding noises. In this case, Apple apparently, produces better results than the others. Motoring is unhealthy at the best of times, thus the health apps only make sense during driving breaks. Whereas the detachable navi, compared with a built-in device, does offer certain advantages, perhaps also it's compass-
function and that one has one's own music collection at hand, that saves one the extra MP-3 player.
Internet, games and television are a tabu for the driver anyhow. Indeed, the cars which offer this feature, switch off the display, at least if it can be seen from the driver's seat. Some still allow the sound to come through, isn't that cool! In the future there will probably be more additional functions which can be controlled by smartphone, e.g., the on-board computer would be a cheaper solution.
If one considers, how much time we spend in cars, one could read entire books! With a little preparation, this could also be done with a smartphone. One could have the smartphone read a story, all we would have to do is listen. This could slowly grow into quite a collection. After all, one can already switch on the auxilliary heating by remote control (indeed, this can also be done by using a cell-phone). Outside of Germany, the engine may even be started through your smartphone, for whatever reason.
Another interesting feature could be the on-board diagnostic. Those which already automatically notify the workshop are however, only to be had in the luxury range. Indeed, almost all the information which is not shown on the display, can be called up via the smartphone. A suitable app (e.g., from Bosch) delivers the error memory, the value-measurment-block and may even make it possible to diagnose the actuators. For those who find all this a bit much, the engine revs, the momentary consumption and other driving data can also be called up.
Some manufacturers (e.g. Fiat) have taken a system like this out, to be used for fuel-saving training. By the way, the system doesn't contact the workshop automatically, but you can easily find out where the nearest workshop is. Contained in this VW-app are also the transferring of the vehicle-data to the company and small assistants in the case of accidents. If the camera in the smartphone is set up properly it may even be able to give a timely warning before a rear-end collision takes place. In the opposite case, a BMW app can better inform the driver of an M-Class as to the momentary performance efficiency of one's own car.
Something useful for all drivers with an eye to the future. At the moment, it's all about that annoying parking problem. The scanning of the parking slot size and the particularly space saving parking through robots, is already reality. Another possibility seems to be, giving the car up at the gates of the car park and then calling it up again per smartphone when it's needed. 06/13