x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Yes, there's even an app for your car

The Life: Road warriors are getting new technologies to help fight traffic and boredom during their drives.

Volvo's mobile app will help drivers monitor their vehicles' whereabouts.
Volvo's mobile app will help drivers monitor their vehicles' whereabouts.

More speciality tech kits are being rolled out for road warriors in the Emirates.

Some of this technology could help commuters stay connected with loved ones and ease the pain of an otherwise dull drive. In the UAE, drivers spend an average of 27 minutes in traffic each day - according a survey released earlier this year by Regus, a workplace solutions provider - and that's just their one-way commute. Thirteen per cent of drivers actually spend more than three quarters of an hour on each leg of the commute to and from work.

Gone are the days when speakers and amplifiers were the only gadgets available. Last week, the car maker Volvo announced a mobile app for all new models that will help drivers monitor their vehicles' whereabouts. The app, which works on iPhones and Android smartphones, will be rolling out to the UAE this year and includes car locator, remote door lock and fuel-reading features. It also has theft-notification technology, which alerts a car owner if an alarm is triggered.

Other car makers, including BMW and Ford, also have apps either built into specific models or available through online stores.

Motorola's T215 in-car speakerphone, which syncs to a mobile phone using Bluetooth technology, is available from the regional tech retailer Sharaf DG for Dh228 (US$62). It provides up to 36 hours of hands-free talk time.

One catch: there is no headset, so it is most convenient for those who tend to drive solo or don't mind having conversations where everyone in the car can hear both ends. Some electronics manufacturers also sell solar-powered Bluetooth speakerphones, which could be helpful for desert drivers who tend to forget to recharge their devices or don't want to deal with messy cables.

Scosche's solVUE ($109.99) announces the names of up to 1,000 phone contacts. A solar-powered model from LG is on sale for Dh325 through Souq.com.

The Quote: "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 [miles per gallon]." Bill Gates, founder and chairman of Microsoft