$69 iPhone Gadget Turns Any Car Into iCar
Automatic is a $69 iPhone gadget that connects to almost any car to save gas, warns you about mechanical problems, documents trips, provides emergency assistance and much more.
Users plug the Automatic Link into the diagnostic port found on cars made in 1996 and later and connects to the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 with Bluetooth 4.0 to turn almost any car into a smart iCar.
Once connected to a car, the Automatic App connects and monitors trip information anytime the user gets in the car, bringing new car features without the new car price. Automatic believes the app will help users pay for the $69 App Link in a month or two by thanks to cutting one or two gas stations visits.
The Automatic App and Link pair up anytime the car is on, and supports multiple users so it is easy for a family to share a car. The Automatic Link is available for pre-order today for $69 and ships in May. The app and accessory are iPhone only to start, but an Android version is slated for the fall.
Helps You Save Gas
Automatic provides trip tracking and real-time feedback for drivers. Audible feedback lets users know when you use driving behavior that negatively impacts fuel efficiency like hard stops and fast accelerations. The app also tracks this on a per trip basis and provides an overall score to help users change their driving behavior.
Part of teaching better driving behavior is with data. The app provides a beautiful looking interface that offers MPG ratings for each trip and identifies behavior on each trip. By combining this information with the cost of gas put into the car, users can quickly see how much they can save by driving better.
Users don’t need to open the app to enter fuel prices and quantities. The Automatic Link can measure fuel added and the app uses location data to input the likely price paid. This makes tracking fuel efficiency and the amount of money saved seamless.
Spots Engine Problems
The Automatic Link also pushes a notification when there is a problem with the engine or other part of the car. The Link sends a detailed message about any Check Engine lights so drivers can immediately know if it is safe to keep driving. If there is a possible fix, users can attempt the fix and then turn the check engine light off with their iPhone. This saves a trip to an auto parts store or an expensive trip to a mechanic to find out that the gas tank lid isn’t tight.
The app can also help users find a nearby mechanic and show Yelp ratings, which should prove handy for engine problems while away from home.
Share Location Data
The app allows for multiple approved users and makes sharing a car easier. The app will let a family member know where the car is parked so picking it up for a trip is a simple affair. Parents can also look at trips their kids take and identify bad driving behavior.
The Automatic Link and app also provide emergency alerts in the event of an accident. The app can alert 911 with your location and can push alerts to select contacts.
Unlike some other gadgets and services like On Star, the emergency assistance is provided without any monthly fees.
Automatic is expected to arrive in big box retailers later this year, but is only available online now.
Automatic can push app updates through the iTunes App Store and can update the Automatic Link with over the air updates that download to the Link from an iPhone. Because the Link is not built into the car, Automatic claims they can push updates faster than car companies.