VW and BMW put vehicle functionality on your wrist with Apple Watch apps
Wearable technology uptake may still be in its early stages, but car manufacturers are already leveraging the technology in an effort to improve the ownership experience for car buyers. Following the Google Glass app from Tesla and hot on the heels of BMW, Volkswagen is offering an Apple Watch app that allows owners to control a raft of car functions, all without ever having to take their phone from their pockets.
The VW Car-Net app allows forgetful owners to check whether they've left their doors, windows or sunroof open, as well as allowing them to remotely lock or unlock the doors. For those that are prone to losing your car in a crowded carpark, the Car-Net app lets owners honk the horn and flash the lights, or even display the location of the vehicle on a map and give walking directions to the door.
Parents who are afraid of lending the family car to their children might also want to get on board with the Car-Net app, as it can provide notifications about speed, or when the car crosses a certain boundary. And in an attempt to combat range anxiety, early-adopting owners are able to check on their fuel levels or battery charge through the app. Volkswagen's app is compatible with some 2014 model-year Beetle, CC, Eos, Jetta, Passat and Tiguan models, as well as working with the 2015 Golf range.
Although it works in a different way, being able to keep track of what your kids are doing in the car is something that Ford has also tackled with its MyKey system, which can be programmed to limit the stereo's volume or sound an alarm when the car goes over a certain speed.
BMW's Apple Watch offering, which was unveiled last month, is very similar to the Volkswagen app. The i Remote app also lets i3 and i8 owners track down their vehicles in car parks by remotely triggering the horn and provides navigation instructions to their final destination after they've parked the car. It also lets them remotely heat or cool the car while it's charging and alerts owners when the battery is fully charged.