AOL Autos announces 2012 Technology of the Year finalists – here’s my pick

Awards can be pretty important in the automotive world. Give an automaker an award and they’ll bang on about it for a pretty long while, before hopefully moving on to another one. And in this day and age, what more appropriate award than Technology of the Year? AOL Autos has just such an award, and is asking for people to vote on it from their list of finalists. Here’s what I voted for.

The list of finalists is made up of Cadillac CUE, Audi connect and Chrysler Uconnect, all infotainment systems, as well as Ford MyFord Mobile, a smartphone app included with the Ford Focus EV to keep track of and adjust various car parameters. There’s also two safety technologies, Nissan Tire Pressure Alert & Refill and Honda LaneWatch.

In-car infotainment is the most prominent here of course, but following my rant on infotainment just last week, I’m certainly not voting for any of those. And Ford MyFord Mobile? There was a very similar Chevrolet Volt app about two or three years back, so it’s not exactly a fresh idea, nor do I care much for it – if I want to adjust something in my car, I don’t see any problem with doing it inside the actual car.

So it’s down to the safety technology then. And I’m going to have to give this one to Nissan. Honda LaneWatch is simply a glorified blind spot monitor, with the addition of the camera. But my gripe with it is exactly the same as it has been with any other blind spot monitor: why are you not checking your blind spot in the first place? This is just another crutch for rubbish drivers to lean on, instead of encouraging proper driver education.

But I digress. Nissan’s Tire Pressure Alert & Refill is the winner in my book, quite simply because it seems the most useful. The name is quite self-explanatory – it’s pretty much a tire pressure monitoring system. But this one is able to tell you specifically which of the car’s tires is low on pressure, unlike all the useless tire pressure monitors preceding it, and also gives out a honk to indicate when you’ve inflated it back to the correct pressure, eliminating the need for a tire pressure gauge. Is it ground-breaking? Not exactly. But sometimes, it’s the simple things.

To cast your own vote, head over to the Technology of the Year page at AOL Autos here.

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