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Parrot's new dashboard wants to turn your old clunker into a smartcar

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If automobiles are the biggest gadget at CES this year, Parrot wants to be the screen you use to interact with it

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Parrot is a 20 year old company based in Paris, France with a wide range of products under its belt. It began in the 1990s making PDAs, then transitioned to voice recognition devices for inside your car. Since then its made everything from drones to headphones. Today at CES it showed off its newest concept for enhancing your car's smarts, the very industrial sounding RNB6, which will no doubt be replaced when its ready to go on sale.

This is unit meant to upgrade a dumb car into a smart one, a fresh take on the Asteroid Parrot has been selling for years. The company says the new system is compatible with 90 percent of the cars on the road today, anything that can fit a double DIN sized CD player. but the big selling point they pushed was that it makes it effortless to switch back and forth between the competing operating systems coming to market: Google's Android Auto and Apple's Carplay. Just connect your phone, push a button, and all your apps are pushed to the dashboard, where you can interact with them using voice controls and generally stay a little safer on the road.

Parrot also has its own services available on the device, and some of what we saw was pretty cool. The interface is definitely faster, smoother, and more intuitive than many modern smartcar dashboards we played with. The RNB6 comes with a dashcam that can provide time lapse video, lane assist, and braking alerts based on the video feed from your dash cam. If your car has a rear facing camera the Parrot system offers parking assist based on that video feed.

Another nice feature of the unit is that is interacts with the OBD port in your car. It works like systems from Dash or Automatic. You can then see a detailed readout on your recent gas mileage and driving habits. If you get a check engine light, the system will be able to tell you what's wrong, so you can scope out how much the repair should cost before you get to the mechanic.

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