John BrandonFreelance Writer, TechHive

John Brandon is a respected technologist, product tester, car enthusiast and professional writer. Before becoming a writer, he worked in the corporate sector for 10 years. He has published over 8500 articles, many of them for Computerworld.com, TechHive.com, Macworld and other IDG entities.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of John Brandon and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

Watch out Waze: Inrix XD traffic app serves data from more sources than just users

You can't have too much traffic data. Inrix XD's app adds accident reports, construction data, and road sensors. Whether it can beat Waze's huge head start is a tougher challenge, though.

Webcam, hotspot, iPad Minis fill 2014 Kia Soul tricked out for YouTube Music Awards

There's scant room for hamsters, but plenty of hints at the streaming future of connected cars.

I reversed, it saw, it braked: Hands-on with Infiniti QX80's backup intervention

Adjustable sensors can detect kids, pets, and other small obstacles behind the car.

Tested: 'Lane Keeping Assist' system steers Acura ever closer to self-driving cars

A car that watches the road and nudges the steering wheel hints at the future of self-driving cars, though not all drivers may be ready to let go.

The 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class features a touchpad and a GPS that looks for tunnels

Using the GPS, the car detects when you're entering a tunnel and automatically shuts vents that bring in external air and begins recirculating interior air.

2014 Cadillac ELR noise cancelling spares your delicate nerves from engine roar

Hush hush, sweet engine: The hybrid Cadillac ELR uses noise cancelling to dampen the sound of the car's transition from electric to gas engine. Call us when it can drown out "are we there yet?"

Ooh that smell: Mercedes-Benz S550 debuts with custom scents and hot-stone massage

Is this a car or a fast-moving spa? The S550’s new technologies include a scent-control system, passenger massage, and oh yeah, some things that improve the safety and driving experience as well.

Live-human concierge is the best tech in Mercedes-Benz mbrace2 connected-car service

We test the mbrace2 connected-car service on the 2014 Mercedes-Benz E550. Its yearly subscription almost seems like a small price to pay for the convenience of talking to a real, live person who will conduct Google searches for you and even make doctor appointments. But no homework help, kid. Sorry.

If you can’t do it, the car will: Ford showcases advances in parking assistance and obstacle avoidance

At an event in Belgium, Ford showed off future driving aids that inch us ever closer to the autonomous car.

More apps and customization highlight upgraded Toyota Entune infotainment system on select 2014 models

The 2014 Corolla sedan, Tundra truck, and 4Runner mid-sized SUV will all feature the latest generation of Toyota Entune. It faces some tough competition in Cadillac's CUE and other customizable systems, though.

Five lasers and five cameras help Nissan LEAF drive itself into demo at CEATEC in Japan

This very special Nissan LEAF is a poster car for the company’s pledge to bring autonomous vehicles to market by 2020.

Volkswagen EOS Komfort launches with tell-all Car-Net remote monitoring app

VW’s new Car-Net service debuts on select 2014 models including the EOS Komfort. Car-Net provides vehicle status, remote control and monitoring, and safety features, with an iPhone app now and an Android app on the way.

Please let me give you my money: mobile app eases fragmented payment system for public EV charging

A new partnership between SemaConnect and Recargo aims to fix one big hassle of using public charging stations: figuring out how to pay. A new mobile app lets your phone be the authenticator, rather than a payment card or a bothersome phone call.

National Plug-In-Day gathers electric-car faithful, but infrastructure remains sparse

The third annual celebration of all cars electric included events in about 100 cities, a few international.

The same augmented reality that makes games more immersive will make in-car navigation more vivid

Mercedes-Benz is showing an augmented-reality concept for in-car navigation where street names, house numbers, and points of interest will pop up on a live feed.