Chevy’s new tech lets your phone chill out

Chevrolet Active Phone Cooler
Many carmakers are trying to think of clever ways to integrate smartphone functionality with their products, but Chevrolet has a new device to help accommodate the phones themselves.

Summertime means car interiors that resemble ovens, and that intense heat isn’t good for phones. To solve that problem, Chevy plans to offer an “Active Phone Cooling” feature on upcoming models.

Engineers got the idea for a phone cooler while testing wireless charging pads for cars in hot weather. They noticed that some phones would stop charging or shut down completely if left in a hot car for too long.

To keep phones running consistently regardless of temperature, the Chevy boffins connected an air vent from the car’s HVAC system to the wireless charging box. As long as the ventilation or air conditioning is on, the phone gets cool air.

Chevy says it will offer Active Phone Cooling in “several vehicles” equipped with wireless charging, including the 2016 Impala and Malibu. Further down the line, it will be available on the 2016 Volt and Cruze. The Volt should hit showrooms later this year, while the Cruze will arrive early next year.

Equipping cars with wireless charging and cooling for phones may help carmakers achieve an important goal: getting people to keep their hands on the wheel.

The average human’s pathological desire to use their phone at all times is an obvious safety risk while driving, and it’s been one of the factors behind recent efforts to increase smartphone connectivity with infotainment systems, allowing drivers to use a car’s built in controls for certain phone functions.

But physically separating user and phone could be effective as well. People might be less likely to pick up their phones if it means interrupting charging, or if they’re tucked away in a closed cubby hole, like the one in the center console of the Cadillac ATS, from Chevy’s sister General Motors brand.

Product Review

Screen snags aside, the Galaxy Fold is an exciting step toward a foldable future

Samsung's Galaxy Fold is the company's first foldable phone, with two screens, six cameras, and a dual-cell battery. The phone may be delayed due to display issues, but that doesn't stop us from asking -- what's it like to use?
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Cars

Electric car buying guide: What you need to know before you buy

EVs are better than they've ever been, but buying your first battery-powered car can be an intimidating experience. Digital Trends has compiled a comprehensive guide that walks you through the process of buying an EV.
Cars

From rugged wagons to hot sports cars, the 2019 NY Auto Show brought it all

From city cars to supercars, anything goes at the New York Auto Show. Automakers from all over the globe traveled to the 2019 show to unveil their newest concept cars and production models.
Cars

Tesla Model S and Model X charge faster and go farther with the same battery

An all-new drivetrain for the Tesla Model S and X enables the EVs to travel farther per charge than the previous design. Tesla Model S Long Range sedans have a 370-mile range and Model X Long Range SUVs can travel 325 miles per EPA cycle.
Cars

2019 Ford F-150 RTR gets a light dose of off-road, style upgrades

Vaughn Gittin Jr.'s RTR Vehicles is turning its attention to the 2019 Ford F-150 pickup truck. RTR gave Ford's bestseller new suspension components and tires, as well as more extroverted exterior styling.
Cars

Electric truck maker Rivian scores $500 million investment from Ford

Alongside Amazon, Rivian can now count Ford as one of its backers. The Blue Oval will invest $500 million in Rivian, and will use the company's "skateboard" chassis as the basis for a future electric vehicle.
Cars

The best diagnostic adapters monitor your car so you don't have to

Sometimes called dongles, the best car adapters will tell you what's wrong under the hood while help you keep tabs on your family and routine maintenance.
Emerging Tech

Japanese taxis will use facial recognition to target you with ads as you ride

A Japanese startup is trying to reinvent in-taxi advertising by using facial recognition technology to identify the key characteristics of riders and then presenting them with appropriate ads.
Cars

Nvidia agrees with Tesla’s take on self-driving cars, but corrects specifics

Nvidia vice president Rob Csongor agreed with broad statements by Elon Musk at Tesla's April 22 Autonomy Investor Day. Csongor then took exception to what he termed were inaccuracies about Nvidia's self-driving car chip.
Cars

Stop backing into your neighbor's car with the best backup cameras

The right backup camera will allow you to better avoid vehicles and other obstacles without taking your eyes off the road, rendering "sorry, I hit your car!" notes a thing of the past. Here are our current favorites.
Mobile

Waze vs. Google Maps: Which map app should you be using?

Waze and Google Maps are two of the most popular apps for those looking for turn-by-turn navigation, yet there are some notable differences to point out. Here, we examine both to decide which offers the best feature set.
Business

Tesla posts $702M Q1 loss as deliveries fall sharply; Musk promises turnaround

Tesla lost $702 million during the first quarter of 2019 as deliveries fell sharply, and demand for the Model X and the Model S flattened. The company predicts it will again lose money in the second quarter.
Cars

Ambitious but not rubbish: The best Top Gear episodes

Since its relaunch in 2002, Top Gear has become required viewing for any serious gearhead. The great moments from this show may seem too numerous to count, but we've managed to pick some of the highlights from the first 26 seasons.