If you have ever owned a high performance automobile, there's always a wee bit of pain when you hand over the keys.
Especially, if you have a manual.
Let's face it, folks. Valets typically aren't Emmy-award winners and in a day and age where standard transmissions are becoming extinct, some don't even know how to drive them. In addition, if you have a performance vehicle, the last thing you want is a reenactment of the scene from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
The good news is that General Motors is all over this if you want to buy a 2015 model year Chevrolet Corvette. That's because the company has developed a valet mode that is accessed via a four-digit pin. By accessing this mode, the interior storage boxes are locked, the video cameras are activated as is the rest of the performance sensors — it record telemetry data as if you were at the track — and the interior microphone captures conversation.
This all sounds great and all but there's just two things that sort of make this not applicable. Typically when you valet a car there's signage all over saying that the parking company is not held responsible for losses or damage. Secondly, what the hell are you going to do if you do catch the valet doing a burnout as you review the footage? Talk to a manager who won't care?
An example. I valeted a then all-new Cadillac CTS-V Coupe in a New York City parking garage. Personally, I tip on the way in to get a good spot. They put it in a corner away from the rest of the cars. When I came back the car was in great shape with exception of a bird that had diarrhea all over the damn car. When I asked if they were going to do anything about it, the manager shrugged and said "Sh!t happens."
That said, is this all-new innovation AWESOME or AWFUL?
When the Valet Mode is active, the industry-exclusive system allows drivers to lock the interior storage, disable the infotainment system and record video, audio and vehicle data.
Chevrolet's press release below:
Corvette Valet Mode: A Baby Monitor For Your Baby
Handing over the keys just got easier
DETRIOT, Monday, Aug. 18, 2014 – Owners of 2015 Chevrolet Corvettes will feel better about handing over the keys to their car, thanks to the new Valet Mode with Performance Data Recorder.
The industry-exclusive system allows drivers to lock the interior storage, disable the infotainment system and record video, audio and vehicle data when the Valet Mode is active.
"Think of it as a baby monitor for your car," said Harlan Charles, Corvette product manager. "Anyone who has felt apprehension about handing over their keys will appreciate the peace of mind of knowing exactly what happened while their baby was out of sight."
Introduced in 2014, the Corvette Valet Mode is turned on through the settings menu and activated by entering a unique four-digit code. A confirmation entry of the code simultaneously locks the storage bin behind the center stack display, the glove box and disables the radio and infotainment system.
With the introduction of the industry-first Performance Data Recorder for 2015, Corvette drivers can also record HD video, in-car audio, and vehicle data – including speed, engine RPM, gear position and g-force – when Valet Mode is active.
The video can be viewed instantly on the Corvette's eight-inch color touchscreen when the car is parked, or downloaded to a computer.
"Performance Data Recorder was initially designed as a tool for track days, allowing drivers to record their laps and improve their driving skills," said Charles. "We soon realized the system could have many more applications, such as recording a scenic drive up Highway 101, or recording when the Valet Mode is activated."
The Performance Data Recorder – or PDR – system was developed with Cosworth, the British motorsports-engineering company that supplies the Corvette Racing team's data acquisition and telemetry electronics systems.
The system includes three major components. First is a 720p, high-definition camera mounted within the windshield header trim, which records the driver's point-of-view through the window. Audio is recorded via a dedicated microphone in the cabin.
Second is a self-contained telemetry recorder. The system utilizes a dedicated GPS receiver and is hardwired into the Stingray's Controller Area Network to access vehicle information.
Finally, the system features a dedicated SD-card slot in the glove box for recording and transferring video and vehicle data. An 8-gigabyte card can record approximately 200 minutes of driving time.
The PDR system can record video with three data overlay options including Track Mode, Sport Mode, Touring Mode and Performance Mode. Also included with the system is the "Cosworth Toolbox" software, which combines Cosworth's professional-level motorsport data analysis with an easy-to-use graphic interface for users who want a more in-depth understanding of their performance.
Valet Mode with the Performance Data Recorder will be available on all 2015 Corvette models.