AOL Autos announced the six finalists for its very first 2012 Technology of the Year Award, which will be awarded to one Grand Prize winner in January at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The award recognizes three categories: telematics, connectivity, and safety.
TELEMATICS – Cadillac CUE comprises a glass cockpit with touchscreen, voice control, three USB jacks plus an SD slot. Audi connect with Google Maps Street View wasn’t new this year, but the addition of Google Earth imaging into the system was is an upgrade that was met with nearly unanimous votes from the judging panel.
CONNECTIVITY – Chrysler Uconnect Access offers one-button emergency assistance, voice-controlled texting, the ability to monitor a vehicle’s performance, a smartphone app that allows locked doors to be opened when keys are locked inside, and headlights to be flashed if drivers lose track of where they’ve parked. MyFord Mobile was launched with the new Ford Focus Electric; the app also allows the driver/owner to view the EV’s remaining battery charge, control charging, remotely operate and set timers for the climate control, plan trips that get sent to the navigation system, and find charging stations.
SAFETY – Nissan Tire Pressure Alert & Refill System: Not only does the system tell drivers specifically which tire on the car is low and in need of air, but when the tires are being inflated, the car-horn gives off a quick burst when the tire has arrived at the proper air pressure. Honda LaneWatch: A tiny camera on the passenger-side mirror can be manually or automatically activated when the right indicator is engaged. Live video then displays on the i-MID screen, and it provides a view nearly four times greater than using the passenger-side mirror alone.