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Car Audio

Learn how car audio systems are meeting consumer demands.

Consumers can route cell phone conversations through car audio systems without holding the phone. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Consumers can route cell phone conversations through car audio systems without holding the phone.

Auto manufacturers are meeting today's consumer demands for luxury features with a new technology that allows them to route cell phone calls through car audio systems. While the OnStar feature created by General Motors has gained popularity for its navigation and emergency systems, the new technology also provides customers with hands-free communication through their car audio systems.

With its new SYNC system, Ford seems to be marketing to Generation Y -- individuals born between 1981 and 1995 who grew up using technology. With Ford SYNC, a technology created by Microsoft, consumers can route cell phone conversations through their car audio systems without having to hold the phone. Honda, through its affiliation with Bluetooth, also offers hands-free communication systems as a standard option in the Honda Accord.

Routing Cell Phone Calls Through Car Audio Systems

There are a range of systems that allow individuals to communicate hands-free in their vehicles. Ford's SYNC system allows individuals to push a media button to call someone in their personal phone books. The system will ask the individual to state a command and the system will carry out the request. If the telephone number is not stored in the personal contact list, then the system will request the number and repeat it back for confirmation. According to Valley Business Journal, SYNC technology is exclusively offered in Ford, Mercury and Lincoln models.

Honda's Bluetooth technology provides individuals with the ability to route up to six cell phones through the car audio system. As long as the cell phone is in the vehicle, individuals can say a command and the system will automatically dial the contact. According to AutomoBlog, individuals can also use their car's hands-free communication system by adding their car's cellular device to their Verizon Wireless cell phone plan.

How to Sync Car Audio Systems with Cell Phones

Individuals need to have cell phones with Bluetooth capability to route cell phone calls through a car audio system. To establish a connection, individuals will need to activate the Bluetooth capabilities of their cell phones and confirm that their hands-free communication systems recognize their cell phone devices. For individuals who do not purchase vehicles with standard hands-free communication systems, there are hands-free car kits available.

A basic hands-free car kit will include a base unit that should be mounted inside the car, a microphone, a control panel, a speaker and an antenna. Some hands-free car kits also come with a device that charges cell phones while individuals are driving and talking on the phones. Many hands-free car kits can be mounted to a car visor or another convenient location within the vehicle. Similar to vehicles equipped with standard hands-free communication systems, car kits also offer voice-recognition systems that allow individuals to speak a command. Car kits even have the ability to route calls through a cars audio system.

Hands-Free Communication Concerns

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there have been a range of studies suggesting that using handheld cell phones can cause hazardous distractions. While many suggest that using hands-free communication systems is safe, there have been various studies indicating that talking on cell phones while driving, even with a hands-free device, is dangerous. Findings suggest that the hands-on factor associated with cell phone usage is not the primary cause of distraction for drivers. According to Ergoweb, the human brain's tendency to only focus on a limited number of activities is what creates the risk, indicating that drivers are unable to focus solely on driving while using cell phones.

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