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Custom Toyota 4Runner uses two iPads as control panels

Smartphone integration in cars is becoming common, but a fabricator from California has taken things to the extreme as part of a Toyota-sponsored contest. John Tondro of Herbst Smith Fabrication has created an interface that allows every internal feature of an SUV to be controlled from one of five iPads. Making its debut at the 2013 SEMA aftermarket parts trade show in Las Vegas, the system can control volume, opening and closing windows and even temperature settings.

Built with the input of X Games star freestyle skier Simon Durmont the SUV has lovingly been named the Ultimate Dream Ski 4Runner. Beyond the technical wonder of controlling your car's included features via an iPad, the SUV has a special surprise. The roof features a retractable rail system that allows a set of skis to slide off the roof and be lowered down for removal, a process that is also controlled by the iPad. You can view a video of the vehicle below.

With the advent of options like Siri Eyes Free, the future of tablet/smartphone integration with automobiles is just beginning. What's possible today with a lot of hard work and five iPads is merely the next logical step in consumer controls. While the safety of such options is still up for debate, the future is upon us. At the bare minimum, I hope it brings us all something as cool as universal car controls at the palm of our hand. But for the love of God, let's all agree to stick with the steering wheel for now as a means of control.

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