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Smart Motoring

By raccars Published

Since the advent of smart phones, the humble mobile telephone has become an essential tool in many people's lives. You can use them to run your diary, store your media and even pay for shopping. Smartphones are now also helping us to run our cars, performing a number of useful functions. How can you use your smartphone to relieve yourself of some of the more tedious tasks involved in running a car?

Parking via PayByPhone

Smartphone GPS functions are already useful for locating car parks in the city but the newest technology goes a lot further. The PayByPhone app offers the possibility of paying for your parking through a call or text, rather than feeding a meter. The app will also then remind you when your meter is due to expire and give you the option of remotely paying for more parking time, if you need it. There is also a tolls payment option. There is a minimum usage charge which has attracted some criticism but that doesn't detract from the usefulness of the technology.

Mobile start

Remember when push-button starters seemed like the latest impressive technology? You can now download apps for iOS, Blackberry or Android handsets that will start your ignition for you. In addition to unlocking your vehicle, the app will also monitor fuel levels, driving range and tyre pressure.

Battery level monitoring for electric cars Led by Tesla and swiftly followed by Ford, Honda and other major manufacturers, owners of electric cars are finding they can monitor their vehicles' charging levels remotely. Furthermore, they can schedule charging sessions, control the aircon and heating systems, open the sunroof and use central locking from their handsets. Owners of Fords can even be directed to charging stations.

Diagnostics

There are programmes available from the major manufacturers that offer basic engine diagnostics, but also through third-party developers using more sophisticated technology. Real car geeks can view displays of turbo boost, torque levels, air-to-fuel ratios and other important auto minutiae.

Accident and emergency

There's no way to make having an accident or breaking down a convenient experience, but there are apps available that relieve some of the burden at a stressful time by holding vehicle and insurance details in addition to contacting roadside assistance and notifying your emergency contacts. Those with GOS facility can locate an exact position and some contain emergency situation checklists, that you can follow to help you react in difficult situations.

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