With in-car technology on the rise and now widely embraced, we are literally not far off from having a car like the fictional one that was imagined back in 1982 on the hit TV show Knight Rider. Autonomous cars now exist in real life, have collision avoidance technology, and they can talk to you (except the name is probably Siri, not K.I.T.T.)!
While in-car technology is still in the early stages, and early adopters are not too common, not everyone can benefit from these features from manufacturers. So in the meantime, those who don’t yet have “smart cars” can still use the technology built for drivers in the form of mobile apps.
We looked into the newest and greatest mobile apps for drivers and here are a few that we think can provide value to your everyday driving experience.
Directions, routing and traffic
A free mobile app that is arguably the most reliable and accurate routing and directions app available for driving, walking, biking, and public transit. It rivals Apple Maps usage on iPhones, but it still stands out as having more up-to-date data with its high-resolution satellite imaging that improves the accuracy of its maps – along with actual humans who manually check the maps and respond to error reports from users. It’s more robust than other navigational tools in that it’s evolved into a travel or city recommendation engine, giving users suggestions for restaurants and businesses complete with Google reviews. It’s not just for drivers.
This is another free mobile app that will let you know the best route to your destination. But unlike Google Maps, it’s aimed specifically at drivers. Waze has real-time data alerts for construction and accidents and gives drivers more intelligent re-routing options to make their way around the traffic. Google actually acquired Waze, so the two apps can work together with Waze updates popping up in Google Maps navigation.
Parking and Gas Stations
With over 500 cities in its database, this free app helps drivers find the closest or cheapest parking spot available, pay for it through the app, and find where their car is parked. For participating parking lots, you can reserve your parking spot ahead of time to ensure that it’s still available when you arrive. Another feature is a parking timer so that you can avoid either overpaying or overstaying and getting a ticket.
Fuel costs make up a significant portion of fleet expenses, and staying on top of the cheapest gas prices in your area is made easy with this free mobile app. It relies on crowdsourced information to deliver up-to-the-minute gas prices, from regular to premium to diesel, at more than 140,000 gas stations across North America and Australia.
Driver Safety and Distracted Driving
It may seem counterintuitive to use a smartphone to help you drive safer. Isn’t using your smartphone the #1 cause of distracted driving? There are some mobile apps available at a modest price to help prevent, monitor, and alert you or even a third party to bad driver behavior.
This subscription mobile app is designed specifically for commercial fleets and automatically locks your phone while driving to prevent distractions like calls, texts, and email notifications. You can also set up a customizable auto-reply message to respond to incoming texts and emails. This app can be integrated with your fleet’s existing telematics or GPS systems in order to enforce your corporate distracted driving policies. It also can provide analytics and policy compliance reporting on driver behavior.
In researching these apps, it’s overwhelming how many driving apps are available out there. We hope we’ve helped to narrow down the ones that might be the most useful for the drivers in your fleet for navigating the best route, finding the best deals on gas and parking, and just to stay safe. Now keep your eyes on the road!