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Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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Every new car linked to web by 2014

Five years ago mobile phones were at the forefront of technology, by 2010 the focus was on tablet computers and now billions of yen, dollars and pounds are being invested in what is seen as the next digital playground - the car.

Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving a car has been illegal in the UK since 2003.

But 10 years later, car manufacturers are hoping that the technology regularly found on smartphones could change the way we use our cars.

What this means is app-culture infiltrating the dashboard - from a parking space finder to a way to get coupons for local restaurants, or directions that can pop up on the windscreen.

It all relies on the car being connected to the internet, allowing all this information to arrive without too much searching or button pushing and a lot more focus on voice commands.

The connected car is already the third fastest growing technological device after phones and tablets, Intel believes.

There is an app to find a car parking space in some major cities, using electronic sensors, or analysing an aerial view of local street spaces.

When stopped at a traffic light, trials have shown a system where a time can pop up on the dashboard letting drivers know how long until it changes.

It is thought billions of pounds have been spent so far on the development of these services.

With driving currently taking every bit of the driver's attention - until at least more progress is made on self-driving cars - critics have warned of safety concerns.

Safety concerns are being addressed with a mandatory sensor, which calls emergency services in the event of an accident.

In Ford's new systems, for example, apps are physically separated from vehicle critical devices - making it, it says, impossible to hack between the two.

Android-based systems have already been demonstrated by a company working in partnership with BMW and most systems in cars can communicate with these devices.

But there are predictions that one or two developers like Apple and Facebook are researching ways to turn car technology on its head.

A lot of companies are betting a lot of money on this industry continuing to grow rapidly.

If these companies are right, it is only a matter of time before the car could directly compete with the phone and the tablet to be the biggest smart industry.

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