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Cameron Officer walks through some of Driven's favourite motoring apps
Yes, there really is an app for that. Well, almost. While we wait for autonomous cars to take over completely, thousands of great mobile applications out there can give the average driver all the technology they need in the palm of their hand -- or mobile phone cradle.
Here are a few indispensible apps Driven has installed on its smartphone.
Sygic is a navigation app that allows the driver to find their way anywhere, even when they're offline, meaning vital directions from A to B, C and beyond remain reassuringly at arm's reach even when the wireless coverage runs out.
Once the maps have downloaded, you don't need a data stream to support the app.
Sygic features spoken voice turn-by-turn guidance, as well as 3D landscape orientation for city and country driving.
Increasingly car manufacturers such as Honda are relying on third-party app software like Sygic to provide owners with easily accessible in-car GPS information. Which is about as sound a vote of confidence as you can get for this app.
Available: Apple/Android/ Windows
Price: Free or Lifetime Premium
You probably know the scenario quite well. You're out in your car when, all of a sudden, an absolute scorcher of a track arrives on the radio. It grows on you as the melody unfolds and, a minute later you're tapping the wheel.
Who is this, you wonder? You've never heard the song before and the artist sounds unfamiliar, but worth exploring. Never mind, the DJ will announce the details at the end of the track and you'll... oh, but wait. They've gone straight to a commercial break! Gah!
For any music fan out on the road, Shazam is quite possibly the single best app available. Simply pull over and hold your smartphone up to the speaker. The app will tell you the track name, artist, give you the option of purchasing the track immediately as well as a host of other options. It'll even show you the lyrics so you can sing along.
Okay, so this app is only applicable if you're an Automobile Association, but if you are one, it's a pretty handy icon to have on your smartphone screen.
The app makes it easy to request a service technician call-out, with the GPS capability of your phone automatically sending your precise location to the call centre.
You can get a status update on your call-out while it's in progress and send updates back to the AA if your situation changes.
The app will give you the number to call in order to progress your case if you lose coverage.
And in the worst case scenario, the app has an "accidents" section.
It allows you to record details about an incident; what happened, the people involved and take and store damage photos.
Wait, what? How does a taxi app help the average motorist? Well, think about it: if there's one constant at this time of year it's the work Christmas party. When you need to leave the car in town, the BlueBubble app could be the most efficient way of securing a ride home to your gently spinning bedroom.
You can book and pay for your taxi ride with the app and, thanks to GPS functionality in your smartphone, the app automatically identifies your location for pickup. With 16 companies utilising over 2000 vehicles using the app, you shouldn't have to wait long for pickup if you're in a main centre.
And if you're celebrating in another town, you don't have to remember cab company; just which hotel you're staying in.
Available: Apple Android
Research shows that a driver distracted by a smartphone screen while on the move is as unresponsive and slow to react to their environment as a drunk driver. So an app which allows the driver to focus on the road ahead while accessing music and calls from your phone is ideal.
Drivemode has what it likes to call a "no look" interface that relies on one-touch swipe or tap actions to access key features.
When in driving mode, it syncs with navigation apps, like Google Maps and music apps such as Spotify and Google Music Player.
It's easy to do things like change songs, update your destination and make or accept calls using a simple finger gesture or even voice control, which means you can spend more time with your eyes on the road. And that's safer both for you and others on the road.
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