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TODAY'S CARS OFFER VOICE-ENABLED NAVIGATION.

Visitors to NADAguides.com (http://www.nadaguides.com/) might be surprised to see the myriad of high-tech gadgetry available on today's new cars, as more and more vehicles are offered with everything from refrigerated glove compartments to Apple(R) iPod(R) integration kits. The company recently reviewed some of their favorite cars-on-the-cutting-edge and the gizmos that help put them there.

Collision Warning & Preparation

The 2008 Lexus LS comes equipped with what the automaker calls a "Pre-Collision System" (or PCS). When a radar sensor -- mounted to the front of the car -- detects that a frontal collision is unavoidable, the PCS springs into action by tightening the front seat belts. It also preps the car's Brake Assist System, a system designed to ensure the vehicle's anti-lock brakes engage.

Blind Spot Assistance & Lane Change Warning

The 2008 Audi A8 comes equipped with lane change and blind spot warning systems. Using sensors and video technology, Audi Lane Assist detects when a driver is outside of traffic lanes and sends a warning via a vibrating steering wheel. Audi Side Assist monitors the sides and the rear of the vehicle to detect if another car is in its blind spot or rapidly approaching from behind. It sends a warning via flashing lights on the exterior mirror.

Parking Assistance

Various automakers offer parking assistance technology today, including Volvo. The 2008 Volvo C70, for example, offers Park Assist Rear and Park Assist Front -- technologies that use sensors mounted to the front and back bumpers that alert a driver with a special audio signal when an object is within approximately twelve inches of the front or the rear of the vehicle.

Voice-Enabled Navigation

The 2008 Acura TL is a great example of voice-enabled technology at work with its Voice Recognition(TM) Acura Navigation System. Drivers can verbally communicate with the navigation system while their hands and eyes stay focused on the road. They simply press the "Talk" button and state any number of pre-set phrases, such as 'Find Nearest Hospital' or 'Find Nearest Italian Restaurant'. Occupants can also enter a specific address and chances are, the Acura Navigation System will find it, with more than 1.7 million city and street names in its database.

Multimedia Entertainment

When it comes to multimedia entertainment, the 2008 Chrysler Sebring pulls out all the stops. It comes equipped with MyGIG(TM) Multimedia Infotainment and Entertainment systems complete with a free, 12-month subscription to SIRIUS satellite radio, a 6.5-inch full-color touch screen display, DVD playback and an integrated USB 2.0 port that lets you download and store digital media such as photos and music files on a 20-gigabyte hard drive.

Bluetooth(R) Technology

Bluetooth Technology, offered in many new cars today, turns your cell phone into a hands-free device by routing incoming calls through your car's stereo speakers and by utilizing voice recognition technology for dialing phone numbers, minimizing driver distraction in the process. The 2008 Mercedes C300 Sport Sedan, for example, comes equipped with Bluetooth for convenient hands-free calling.

All-in-One Communication Devices

Taking the 'hands-free' concept a giant step forward, a new all-in-one communications and entertainment system called SYNC(TM) is being offered in the 2008 Ford Focus. SYNC combines hands-free calling (similar to Bluetooth) with voice-to-text capabilities (the ability to 'hear' text messages instead of reading them) and voice-activated music control (the ability to play music from a phone, USB drive or virtually any portable music player with simple verbal commands).

Apple(R) iPod(R) Integration

Various new cars currently offer Apple iPod integration technology and coming next month, General Motors launches its own version in 2006 and 2007 Chevy HHRs called Personal Audio Link (or PAL). This adaptor -- about the size of a deck of cards and concealed within the vehicle's glove compartment -- allows drivers to plug-in their iPods and listen to their own library of music right through the HHR's factory-installed stereo system. PAL also charges the iPod while the vehicle is operating. By year's end, GM expects to make PAL available in a majority of its vehicle models.

According to NADAguides.com, some honorable mentions in this list include keychain ignition systems (which start your car remotely from a particular distance), center console heated and refrigerated cup holders (to keep beverages at the perfect temperature), refrigerated glove compartments, night vision systems (with radar that detects objects beyond a driver's field of vision), and rear-mounted video cameras for added safety and parking convenience.

"These are just a few examples of the technologies currently being offered in today's cars -- in both luxury models and in some entry-level models too," said Don Christy, Jr., president and CEO, NADAguides.com. "As digital applications become more affordable, we anticipate manufacturers will offer these types of products in increasing numbers, not only as optional equipment but as standard equipment in the not-so-distant future."

So how much can you expect to pay for vehicle bells-and-whistles such as the ones mentioned above?

Christy said, on average, products such as these can run you from as little as $150 to as much as $6,000 or more, depending on the types of technologies -- and the combinations thereof -- installed.

But no matter what digital application you buy, Christy urges drivers to be cautious -- and safe -- on the road.

"These products are great if they don't get in the way of safe driving. It's important for people to remember to drive cautiously and to avoid distraction whenever possible. You need to use common sense behind the wheel."

Visitors to NADAguides.com can find optional equipment information and corresponding costs by selecting a particular make and model in the new car section of the company's website, http://www.nadaguides.com/, and by clicking on the "Price this Vehicle with Options" link on the New Car Pricing Report.

About NADAguides.com

N.A.D.A. Appraisal Guides (NADAguides.com) is the world's largest publisher of vehicle pricing and specification information for new and used cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs, as well as van conversions, limousines, classic and collectible cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, snowmobiles, personal watercraft and manufactured housing. The company's consumer website, NADAguides.com (http://www.nadaguides.com/), offers a variety of new and used vehicle services in addition to valuation information. Throughout its 74-year history, N.A.D.A. Appraisal Guides has earned the reputation as the recognized authority for vehicle valuations. Its website, NADAguides.com, is the most comprehensive vehicle information resource on the Internet today.

For more information, visit http://www.nadaguides.com or call 949/916-4820.
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Publication:Audiotex Update
Date:Nov 1, 2007
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