We’ve got some quirky and snazzy gadgets to pimp your car and driving experience. From lo-fi to ultra-fi, 2014 has geeky gadgets for every car enthusiast’s budget.
Let’s start off with something practical (aka boring but useful) – the Coat and Toy Bungee Rack. It’s winter time and you don’t want to drive around in your wet jacket but you don’t want to hang it off one of the pathetic hooks in the back seat either, swinging in the face of your poor passenger. Or perhaps you’ve got kids and there are toys littering your passenger footwells. In-car storage space is always at a premium, so why not use the great expanse of internal roof space to stash those winter coats or errant toys? This is a cheap and cheerful retrofit you can do yourself, just pick up a bungee net and some hooks at your local auto parts shop.
Speaking of practical, storage type gizmos, keep your smartphone, tablet, wallet and any other small, loose items from sliding around your dash, glovebox or console with a Grippy Gadget Mat. It’s just what it sounds like, a grippy, non-stick mat that keeps all your small belongings in one place. Available in Australia for around $16.95+.
Moving to something a bit more hi-fi but still practical, get yourself a double USB power adaptor. Most people have more than one phone, tablet or other electronic device (like a GPS or travel fridge) that they want to charge on the road but one measly power adaptor in the cigarette lighter doesn’t cut it! Double, Triple and Quadruple cigarette lighter to USB adaptors are available from various retailers and auto parts stores and they’re pretty cheap (starting at around $14.95 from JayCar).
Did someone say travel fridge? We did! And, conveniently, it charges off – you guessed it – the cigarette lighter. Keep your bottled water and sandwiches cold during road trips with the in-car Travel Fridge, available at Dick Smith for $69.95.
Go ultra hi-fi and buy a smart car – no, not one of those tiny, tool around town cars with no boot and only enough room for you to sit with your ankles around your ears – we mean a smart car. One that drives itself. Yes, we’re talking about a robot car! BMW and Audi were both showing off slick autonomous vehicle systems at the 2014 Consumer Electronics show. The cars can drive, navigate and hazard avoid on their own; however, they’re not slated to hit the market any time soon – lawmakers and politicians need to hurry up and develop the right legislation and infrastructure to support them first. However, if you’re looking for some ultra in-car tech right now, Volvo and Hyundai have both announced in car cloud systems that will connect your car to the rest of your life. Or check out the Audi TT’s Virtual Cockpit dashboard system. GPS, infotainment and dashboard in one, it looks like something out of a video game and is due out in late 2014/early 2015 models.
Turning down the uber cool factor a few notches (and the price tag), you can turn your existing car into a robot-like entity with Drivemocion. It won’t hazard assess and drive itself but it will allow you to program emoticons for your car blazed through the back windscreen in hot red LED lights. Drivemocion allows you to program a rear window mounted LED display to flash different faces and words to the car behind you – so, if you accidentally cut someone off, you can flash ‘Sorry’ or if someone is riding your bumper ‘Back Off’. There’s a range of smiley, frowny, grumpy and angry faces too. The Generation 4 model has added ‘escalation’ capability, so your car can move rapidly through irritation to full blown road rage in a series of flashing faces. Cute, quirky or dangerous? You be the judge. The Drivemocion is available internationally for around $40.00AUD and does ship to Australia.
With plenty of ways to pimp your ride, remember to pimp out your car insurance. If you make any amendments or modifications, it’s important let your insurer know as car modifications may need to be specified in order to be covered (although some policies will not cover modifications). Happy driving!