The plethora of adjustable driving modes in new cars demonstrates software's ability to change a vehicle's behavior, but the technology can go even further. Features like the valet key used on Dodge's SRT Hellcat models and Ford's programmable MyKey allow owners to restrict how other people drive their cars.
The latest take on this tech for control freaks comes General Motors Company [NYSE:GM]. The 2015 Chevrolet Corvette will get a new Valet Mode for itsPerformance Data Recorder, which will allow owners to lock interior storage, disable the infotainment system, and record video, audio, and vehicle data while the system is active.
The new feature builds on the Valet Mode offered on the 2014 Corvette, adding the ability to keep tabs on potentially-irresponsible valets with the PDR and expanding owners' ability to monitor their cars. It's activated by opening the settings menu on the car's central display, and entering a four-digit code.
Once the car is returned, owners can watch video of its time away on the same eight-inch screen, and review vehicle data including speed, engine rpm, gear position, and g-forces. The video can also be downloaded to a computer, for insurance claims, perhaps.
Developed with British motorsport-engineering firm Cosworth, the PDR was originally designed for track days, but Chevy later decided that it could be just as useful on the road and, apparently, in the parking lot.
Valet Mode and the PDR are available on all 2015 Corvette models. Other notable updates for the car's sophomore year include new Atlantic and Pacific design packagesfor the convertible and coupe, respectively, as well as a new eight-speed automatic transmission option.