Nerd Reactor at the 2013 New York International Auto Show

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Driving used to be simple. Driving used to be about the link between man and machine, the roar of the engine and squeal of the tires on hot asphalt. Just you and your vehicle. Turns out driving is still simple, and now there’s a whole bunch of on-board tech to make your ride safer, more convenient and a hell of a lot cooler. Here’s some of the things that are on display during the show:

Lexus

LexusGS

The first thing that caught my eye was this weird looking convertible (actually, it’s just a GS sedan with the top chopped off, but you should have seen the number of people who marveled at Lexus’ new “concept” car). The car was part of a demonstration of Lexus’ new infotainment system: Lexus Enform. The system lets you download apps such as: Yelp, Pandora, Bing, Open Table and Movie Tickets. This is the point we’ve hit in technology; You can buy movie tickets and make a reservation for a restaurant from your car. Let that sink in a little. You can also make a folder of destinations (a “playlist” if you will) which is handy if you have multiple errands and Lexus claims you could program a child’s entire little league season into the computer. The car also uses your phone’s 3G or 4G network to make a wireless hotspot for up to 8 devices. The voice recognition software was also very efficient.

Lexus will also have technology specialists at each dealership, to provide you with in person tips and over the phone advice on how to get the most out of your Enform system.

Toyota

ToyotaEntune1

Toyota came to this show promoting their new on board info-tainment computer, Toyota Entune. Now being the parent company of Lexus, Entune and Enform are quite similar to one another although the Enform system is marketed as a more luxurious system (Lexus being the luxury brand of Toyota of course). Entune allows you to check stocks, sports scores and more thanks to a partnership with XM Sirius radio. Multiple applications can run simultaneously, but this is where the problems began. Now I doubt that in your car you will have thousands of people playing with your dashboard all day, but the Entune system ran incredibly slow. Numerous times I tried to access sports scores and stocks and either the applications were incredibly sluggish or wouldn’t move past the loading screen.

ToyotaEntune2

Entune also carries similar apps to Enform, but the system as a whole is stripped down.

Toyota’s booth also carried a Microsoft Kinect-powered game, ‘Drive Land’, which allowed users to paint then drive a Toyota Prius around a 3D track. This was a cute little game and was one of the more interactive displays at the show.

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Over at the Volvo booth I witnessed one of the more exciting displays at the show. Volvo debuted their new on-board display, Sensus. This was one of the sleeker and more intriguing designs I saw. The entire thing is designed to act like a tablet and using Parrot SmartLink you can even plug in your phone and use your phone through the car’s on board touch screen. There’s even an app store (which resembles Google’s Play store) and you can easily view your phone’s gallery and other media. Definitely one of the best designs and user interfaces on display.

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Nissan

This show was simply amazing, not only did I get to spend some time looking at some fantastic new technology and beautiful automobiles, but I had the chance to sit in and get driven around in a fully electric car!

NissanLeaf

The Nissan Leaf is a fully electric vehicle that has a 75-mile range on a 4 hour charge. You can even program climate control settings and charge times to save on energy cost. The car itself would be perfect for a ninja as it is incredibly quiet. Nissan even had to install a factory noise, as the car was too silent (This would make it dangerous for pedestrians and blind persons who cannot see nor hear the vehicle approaching). The car also does 0-60 in less than 10 seconds.

Overall this was one of the best car shows I have ever attended. The amount of things we can now do from our car and smartphones is simply staggering. We have entered a new era in the automotive industry, one of convenience, simplicity and full out geekiness.

Keep your eyes peeled this week as I post an in-depth review of the new Audi Connect info-tainment system!

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Eric Escaravage
Eric Escaravage 85 posts

Born and raised in the great white north, Eric grew up playing PC games and reading more Archie comics than is humanely possible. Clark Kent look-a-like on an epic quest to play all the retro games he wasn't allowed to as a child!

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