Cars with Built-In Technology – Dangerous or Useful?

Technology is spilling out into the automotive industry. It’s not enough to just have a smartphone and tablet. We want that cars with built-in technology as well so that we can take it with us.

Vehicles started out with mounts so that we could mount our phones to take that technology with us, but now they’re going further than that. They’re putting this technology directly into the car, whether it’s navigation or apps.

It made for quite a discussion at the SXSW event. Automobile executives gathered there to discuss their belief that vehicles can be just another platform. Ford even has a “futurist” in their employ to predict how we will be using our vehicles in the future.


Some of the ideas discussed for our vehicles include voice recognition and swappable apps that you can take with you from vehicle to vehicle. The voice recognition is probably the most needed, as it allows you to keep your eyes on the road where they belong. That’s why Apple is putting Siri in cars. Nine automakers have agreed so far to adding what Apple calls “Eyes Free.” It works alongside other voice commands in cars, pairing up the car and a phone over Bluetooth. It works just the same as Siri on iPhones, but everyone agreed that it shouldn’t open web pages, as that was just too much of a distraction.

Ford doesn’t offer Siri. Instead it offers Sync in its cars with built-in technology. I have this in my Ford Fiesta. For the most part it does the same things – turn-by-turn directions, news, weather, sports scores, etc. It pairs up your smartphone through bluetooth, too. I can’t ask it as direct of a question as you can with Siri, however.

What it does do, though, is keep my eyes on the road, and that’s where they belong. Let’s not forget the stat we learned the other day in the discussion on texting while driving. In 2010 distracted drivers were at fault each day for killing fifteen people and injuring twelve-hundred. Each. day.


While the previously mentioned article cited two gentlemen at the American Medical Association who are in favor of rendering phones inoperable to eliminate the dangers of distracted driving, why not just make phones connect so well with cars that there is no need to do dangerous texting and/or fiddling with apps?

How important is it to have cars with built-in technology? Would that influence your purchase? Would you buy a certain brand just to have Siri or Sync?

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Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. Even with your eyes on the road, you are distracted if you are listening to a voice. Bad idea.

    1. So I guess passengers should not be allowed in cars? Or at least they cannot be allowed to talk as that will distract the driver? :-)

  2. “why not just make phones connect so well with cars that there is no need to do dangerous texting and/or fiddling with apps?”
    While many accidents are caused by fiddling with a phone, equally many accidents are caused by actually talking on the phone. People tend to get involved in (phone) conversations. That behavior does not change just because they get behind the wheel. Also, in our society it is considered good manners to look at the person you are talking to. Again that behavior does not change just because people get behind the wheel. How many times have you seen a drivers and the passenger engaged in a lively conversation, with the driver looking at the passenger, rather than at the road? How many time s have you seen a driver talking on a hands-free phone but animatedly gesticulating with both arms?

    Cars nowadays have all the electronic technology we have in the comfort of our home. When we start fiddling with all those controls at home, we are sitting safely on the couch. When we fiddle in the car, we are moving at 60, 70 or 80 mph with other fiddlers on all sides of us. Until fool-proof self-driving cars are in wide-spread use, the installation of more and more gadgets in our cars should be put on hold. The cars already contain way too many distractions to driving. Car dashboards already resemble airplane cockpits. Unfortunately, very few us have the skills of a plane pilot. For most of us coordinating the use of the steering wheel, gas and brake pedals is just about as much as we can handle.

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