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Believe it or not, there was a time when air conditioning and even radios were considered optional additions when purchasing a car. Times have changed, and so have the variety of gadgets and accessories that transform transportation into an entertainment experience.

Every year, at car shows around the world, not only are the latest models and concept cars displayed, but buyers have an opportunity to be tempted by the newest accessories and gadgets available.


Making the rounds at auto shows this year requires being connected with high-tech tools.


CBS New York took a tour of the 2012 New York Auto Show and profiled examples that included the 2013 Nissan Altima and the 2014 Chevrolet Impala, each equipped with USB ports, voice-recognition and touch-screen controls. A Bluetooth connection for phones and MP3 players are available, as is streaming Pandora Internet radio.

Altima’s new NissanConnectSM system reads text messages aloud, and the Impala features the General Motors MyLink connection, according to the CBS report.


Touch screen controls are being offered in the 2013 Cadillac SRX crossover SUV and the reintroduced high-performance 2013 Chrysler SRT Viper. The Cadillac CUE system allows operators to customize functions that appear on a large screen. It also has a smooth dashboard with electronic touch-sensitive controls.


High-tech is not limited to high-performance. Ford’s feature a system called MyFordTouch that will be available in 2013 models.

At the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, automotive resource provider, Edmunds, listed the top new gadgets to keep drivers and passengers plugged-in.


Edmunds reported from Las Vegas how automakers are focused on how to leverage the Internet connectivity of smartphones and bring content and convenience features into cars.

One example of this trend was the Drive Style iPhone app that Mercedes unveiled for its 2013 models.

The app allows drivers to plug an iPhone into a vehicle and have a portion of the device’s content, such as entertainment apps and navigation, appear on an in-dash display.

Mercedes-Benz claims that combining the iPhone’s familiar interface with the car’s larger display will minimize driver distraction.

Edmunds reported that at this year’s electronics show, Kia unveiled its next-generation Uvo2. The updated system adds a Crash Notification Assist feature that automatically dials 911 on a connected phone when an airbag deploys. Uvo2 offers a suite of what Kia calls eServices, which are controlled through a free smartphone app. These include instructions to Send2Car for transferring a destination found on Google Maps to the car’s navigation system, park assist that notes the car’s location on a map to help guide the owner back to a parking spot, offers the My Car Zone to monitor a car’s location, its speed and the times driven, and offers vehicle diagnostics, Car Care Web for tracking maintenance, analyzing driving habits and scheduling service.

Ford is using CES to announce a series of new apps for Sync’s AppLink feature. One is an on demand National Public Radio app that lets fans tune in to their favorite programs by voice command. Drivers can call up an NPR newscast by simply saying, for example, Hourly News after a voice prompt, or they can listen to popular NPR programs such as Car Talk or Fresh Air.

The app also tunes in favorite NPR affiliate stations from anywhere in the country and assigns them to radio presets. The listener can pause, skip and replay programs and, before hitting the road, create custom playlists of favorite programs.

Ford also introduced a Sync app called Roximity that provides a driver with real-time discounts that are linked to their location and are based on personal preferences. Roximity also gives verbal alerts on daily consumer specials.

Being connected with so many driving apps makes practices like keeping a folding map above the sun visor antiquated. Electronic auto gadgets have advanced far beyond thinking power windows are a big deal.