2012
08.01

I have seen my fair share of connected cars. My vehicle even has a few connectivity features of its own. But it is nothing compared to what is in the works from many of the major manufacturers.

This past weekend, I had an opportunity to attend Acura’s ILX Ride and Drive event in Chicago and test the navigation functionality, peruse Zagat Reviews on the dashboard, and even see the multi-view rear camera at work firsthand. And these capabilites were quite impressive.

But while flipping through the features guide in the lounge area, I came across something I wouldn’t necessarily notice unless I knew it was there.

GPS-linked temperature control. This comes equipped on models with the Technology Package, and, in my opinion, is a unique example of M2M (machine-to-machine) at work in the vehicle.

The automatic climate control system gathers data from GPS-linked solar sensors and—based on the sun’s intensity and location relative to the vehicle—keeps each side of the cabin at its designated temperature.

Imagine the possibilities! On road trips with the family, you no longer need to hear complaints from passengers on the sunny side of the car about how warm it is. The technology automatically keeps the vehicle at the proper temperature and requires no manual adjustments. And if something does need to be adjusted manually, it can be done by voice commands.

This feature is something I wouldn’t necessarily see on a test ride. The functionality is just there, working in the background to make my drive more comfortable.

That is just one example of M2M hard at work, using sensors to gather data and automatically make a decision about how a machine should operate. It is exciting to see these capabilities in vehicles today and ponder the possibilities for the future of M2M in cars.

In many cases, as consumers, it is easy to overlook a climate-control feature because it is not something you can play with in the vehicle. I would like to challenge tech-savvy consumers shopping for new cars to look at more than just the navigation, social media, and the other glamorous in-vehicle capabilities, and pop the hood, so to speak, to take a peek at some of the other connected functionality such as automatic temperature control. It might just make your next ride that much more enjoyable.

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