Every year around this time the automotive media begins to deliberate over which cars are worthy of its annual awards. Tests like Motor Trend’s Best Driver’s Car and Car and Driver’s Lightning Lap give consumers a rough idea of what the past year’s automotive offerings are capable of. Autoblog does things a little differently, focusing solely on the current technology on offer in this year’s vehicles.
AB is out testing a fleet of cars, each with differing but impressive available technologies, to see which car has the “Best Technology.” Their nominees include two General Motors offerings, a 2015 GMC Canyon and a 2015 Corvette Stingray. The Canyon is nominated for its Siri Eyes Free infotainment system and 4G LTE Wi Fi hotspot, while the Stingray is nominated for its Performance Data Recorder with Valet Mode.
The Performance Data Recorder, developed by Cosworth, is new on 2015 model year Stingrays. The data recorder uses a 720p camera mounted in the rear-view mirror to record your laps at the racetrack, which can then be watched in the car or downloaded off of a memory stick. The system will also overlay the video footage with telemetry data, showing you real-time RPMs, speed, G-forces and more.
It’s not just for the track, though. The PDR also comes with ‘Valet Mode’, which limits the car’s speed and films the car being parked after you’ve handed your keys over. If you come out and see your car has been hit or you think the valet dinged it, you can watch the recorded footage and find out for sure. The PDR also serves as a rather useful dash cam.
The Siri Eyes Free system and accompanying 4G LTE Wi Fi hotspot is available across almost the entire 2015 GM range. The Eyes Free system allows users to send texts and perform other functions through voice commands, enabling you to stay connected while keeping your eyes on the road. OnStar’s 4G LTE Wi Fi hotspot turns your car into a mobile 4G internet source, capable of connecting up to eight devices at once. The tech comes with a free trial period of three months or three gigabytes when you buy a new GM vehicle.
Both the PDR and the 4G LTE Wi Fi hotspot are industry firsts for production cars, giving them a good shot at capturing AB’s Best Technology award. They are up against some seriously advanced pieces of machinery though, such as the BMW i3 and i8 and the Mercedes-Benz S-Class’ Magic Body Control. The winner will be announced during the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show next month.