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Here are the top driving apps for 2020

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The UK was home to 38.9 million vehicles by the end of September 2019, with 32 million being cars. The number is rising 1.3 per cent year on year too, so it’s safe to say that we in the UK love a good road trip. But with the nation on lockdown, many of us are yearning for the open road. Get yourself prepared for that post-lockdown road trip by downloading the best driving apps of 2020, as picked by SEAT dealer Vindis…

Find the car again with Car Locator

When the lockdown eases, you know the roads are going to be packed. So much so, you can go to the shops, the seaside, or local attractions and struggle to find a parking space. After driving around aimlessly, you finally find one! Success — or so you think. Once you’ve left your vehicle and gone about your business, there’s a great chance you’ll have forgotten where you parked. It has happened to the best of us.

In fact, a study by Nissan found that two thirds of the British public have forgotten where they parked their vehicle. On average, this search for your missing vehicle takes 10 minutes before you spot it. However, for five per cent of people this can take over half an hour!

Enter Car Locator. This app can be your saviour. With Car Locator you can either manually enter your location or set your phone up so that it automatically marks it using the car’s Bluetooth. Therefore, simply activate your GPS as you return to your vehicle and eradicate your search time. This app is best used for those who are sprawling outdoor car parks or are in an unfamiliar location. Because of its use of GPS, it’s not effective in underground or multi-storey car parks.  

PlugShare is amazing for electric car owners  

Have you opted to go electric yet? While only 4,054 out of 149,279 cars purchased in the UK in January 2020 were battery electric vehicles, this figure is more than double the amount purchased in January 2019. While the UK continues to work on cutting its emissions and ceasing production of petrol and diesel vehicles in the not-so-distant future, the sales of electric vehicles will continue to rise.

It can be hard to find charging points though. While the amount of charging points is constantly increasing, it’s always important to know where you can ‘refuel’. PlugShare is a free app which can pinpoint charging points near you to ensure that you’re never caught short. 

Android Auto or Apple CarPlay to stay connected 

These two app do similar jobs. Choosing the right one will depend on which phone you have. Android Auto is for those with an Android operating system on their phone. Essentially, this app means that while you’re behind the wheel, you can say ‘OK Google’ and be able to undergo the following tasks: 

  • Set up real-time GPS navigation and be informed about traffic alerts.
  • Check your calendar for any occasions that you have scheduled.
  • Set reminders.
  • Get up-to-date news.
  • Set a do not disturb message on your phone.
  • Make or answer phone calls handsfree.
  • Access so many of your media apps, such as those containing your favourite music playlists, audiobooks and podcasts.

Apple CarPlay is the choice of iOS smartphone users. Featuring Siri voice control, you are able to: 

  • Search for attractions while driving by simply asking for directions through the following means: “Siri, where’s the closest petrol station?”.
  • Have the app predict where you need to be by analysing addresses on your recent emails, text messages, contacts, and calendars.
  • Make calls and listen to voicemail handsfree.
  • Have Siri read and reply to text messages, as well as send messages in new conversations too.
  • Gain access to content via your iTunes, Apple Music or other audio apps accounts, as well as even requesting for Siri to become your personal DJ for the duration of a road trip.

Let these apps keep you connected while your stay focussed on the roads 

Lockdown-safe digital driving thanks to Asphalt 9: Legends

Yearning for the road? Stay safe during this troublesome period and get your automotive fix by downloading this app. For your driving experience during lockdown, this game will allow you to immerse yourself in racing action thanks to developers, Gameloft. Take advantage of your time at home and dive into this arcade-style racing action from your phone. You can compete in a 60-season career mode with over 800 separate races, while also taking part in an online multiplayer competition which pits you against up to seven other active app users.

We’ll be back on the roads soon, but until then, we need to stay safe and stay indoors. Of course, these are just four apps to choose from, and with 20 billion apps in general anticipated to be downloaded this year, there are many more for you to choose from if you wish!

Additional sources

https://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/best-mobile-racing-games-ios-android/

https://kit.honestjohn.co.uk/top-tens/top-ten-smartphone-apps-for-drivers/

Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay 

Smart technology and its impact on the auto industry

960 640 Guest Post

Technology continues to impact on our everyday lives with all major industries striving not to be left behind when it comes to tech advancement. The automotive industry has witnessed huge advancements over the years, for example, in-car Bluetooth systems, dash-cams, and key finders. But what might be next on the agenda?

Smart technology predictions for the car industry over the next few years are set to totally revolutionise the way people drive. These new ideas will focus on safer driving, easier driving, and adding more fun enhancements to your driving experience. UK SEAT dealer Vindis explores what’s coming next…

Full integration with phones and smart watches

We have already seen a huge integration between our cars and our smart gadgets, and this trend is set to continue. Recent innovations have seen car manufacturers such as Hyundai, pair up with the Android Wear app which allows users to complete a number of commands from your smart watch. From your watch you can start your engine remotely, lock your car’s doors, sound your horn, and turn the headlights on and off. 

What’s more, built-in integration with apps is set to become more commonplace with new car models. Many models now integrate popular apps into the infotainment system, making it look just like the usual screen on your phone. 

AR dashboard displays

Augmented reality dashboards will soon provide all the information you could possibly need to enhance your driving experience. Giving your dashboard a video-game aesthetic, AR displays will show any information you need to know about the car itself. They will also give you other vital information about the road, such as how quickly you’re approaching another car, and how best to avoid collisions. 

3D gesture technology 

Imagine changing gears or winding down your car windows with a simple wave of your hand. Like magic, you will soon be able to control many elements of your vehicle with mere gestures. As well as being futuristic and fun, this tech is set to make driving easier and safer. Instead of jabbing at buttons on the radio, or being tempted to reach out for your phone, you will soon be able to point at the screen of your infotainment system to accept an incoming call — a simple solution that means you’ll never have to take your eyes off the road. 

Inter-car communication 

Cars that are hooked up to the internet are now fairly standard in the automotive world. Soon however, these internet-enabled cars will have the ability to communicate with one another, transforming our driving experience. Communication between cars will help prevent collisions, with precision that human error has never before allowed us to achieve. Before a collision can occur, the car-to-car communication system will foresee the accident and alert the driver to the potential consequences. They will then be able to react quickly and avoid catastrophe.

The world’s leading car manufacturers are currently using this technology to develop fully autonomous models. Which leads us on to our next smart technology…

Self-driving cars 

For a long time, we’ve been envisioning a world in which cars will be able to drive around by themselves. This idea once seemed futuristic and farfetched, but the tech is now being developed and tested by leading automotive companies such as Audi. Similar to the idea behind inter-car communication, self-driving cars are set to reduce the risk of human error on the road. The result? A safer and more reliable way to travel. The Google Self-Driving Car project was initiated in 2009 and has since been rebranded as Waymo. After ordering a Waymo on an app, a self-driving car will pick you up and take you where you need to be — a journey which promises to be both extremely safe and very comfortable. The idea behind Waymo is that you can ‘ride with confidence’ and these vehicles have been branded as ‘the most experienced drivers’. Embracing self-driving cars feels like taking a leap of faith, but in the next few years, this tech is likely to feel much more common place. 

Automated parking systems 

Finally, for those who are tired of searching for a parking space to riskily squeeze into, let us introduce automated parking systems. Parktronic systems that allow cars to find parking spaces and navigate to them already exist, but with new infrastructure around automated parking systems forecasted, the future looks bright for those who hate parking. This infrastructure will allow passengers to drop off the car at the entrance to a garage, allowing it to venture off and find its own parking space. And when you’re ready to be reunited with your wheels? A simple tap on an app will signal to your car that it’s time to journey back to the drop-off point. 

Some of these innovations may seem straight out of science fiction, but every day we are inching nearer to a world in which smart technology drives cars by itself. It may take some getting used to, but our future roads are set to be safer than ever!

Sources

https://thewiredshopper.com/7-mind-blowing-smart-car-technologies-that-will-hit-the-road-soon/

https://www.germanautolabs.com/blog/5-future-smart-car-technologies-youll-love

https://waymo.com/

SEAT’s e-Scooter plans look to slash running costs

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Spanish motoring firm SEAT has unveiled its first e-Scooter concept in response to the growing demand for zero emissions, with the vehicle producing running costs of just £1 per week for the average motorcyclist. 

The e-Scooter was unveiled in Barcelona in a partnership with Silence, and will enter full production next year.

Power is from a 11kW motor, which is equivalent to a 125cc petrol engine, and gives it a 0-31mph (50kph) time of 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 62mph (100kph).

The motorcycle has a range of 71 miles between charges and will typically cost just 60-70p to fully charge.

And with the average British motorcyclist riding approximately 5,000 miles per year, the e-Scooter would cost them around £1 per week in electricity if the production model is eventually sold in the UK.

SEAT’s new motorcycle is the Spanish firm’s latest response to urban motoring and follows this month’s launch of the Mii Electric, its first ever zero emission car.

The firm is yet to confirm if the electric bike will be sold in the UK, which is one of Europe’s largest market for motorcycles, with more than 1.1 million bikes registered.

Lucas Casasnovas, head of urban mobility at SEAT, said: “We aim to become an ally for cities and the SEAT e-Scooter concept is the answer to public demand for a more agile mobility.

“Our collaboration with Silence is an example of how cooperation between partners enables us to be more efficient.”

The e-Scooter concept has been developed for all motorcyclists but is geared more towards ‘motosharing’.

It is fitted with two USB input sockets and a place to hold a mobile phone.

A phone app can monitor where the bike is located and track its battery usage and the battery is easily removed from the bike and charged inside.

Joan Melenchon, a designer at SEAT, said: “We mostly wanted it to be a vehicle that is straightforward, iconic and practical.

“We steered away from making a visually minimalist package, concentrating instead on its pared down utility.”

SEAT is spearheading the Volkswagen Group’s ‘micromobility’ strategy and has also built a 100 per cent electric quadricycle called Minimo.