What began as perks for luxury cars are now becoming standard features of lower-end vehicles, said Carroll Lachnit, an editor at auto information site Edmunds.com.
Motorists can press steering-wheel buttons to buy movie tickets and give voice updates for their Facebook pages.
, the German manufacturer of Mercedes-Benz and other vehicles, is working on technology that will enable drivers to read information on the windshield by waving their hand.
is offering consumers a car system that converts smartphones into routers, giving passengers Internet access while barreling down the road.
"It's a little bit of an arms race," Lachnit
"There is a sense among carmakers that if they don't start presenting these kinds of vehicle systems, they will be left in the dust," Lachnit