Hey, drivers! This is the killer iPhone 5 accessory you’ve been waiting for – an easy way to get at the computer that lies at the heart of all modern cars. It’s called Automatic, and it makes your dumb car smarter. It’s a two part system, comprised of an iPhone app and a small piece of hardware that connects to your post 1996 car’s ODB-II Data Link Connector.
Automatic makes your car smarter by giving your phone easy access to the data that’s usually only available by mechanics and their specialist gear. You’re able to see fuel, mileage and engine information on your iPhone with the app, which is plugged into other data sources like Google Maps, GPS and Yelp in order to provide comprehensive auto information.
For example, each trip you take will be automatically recorded – you’ll see when and where you went, how much fuel you used, your fuel mileage, where you got more fuel, and how much it all cost. The app also watches for certain behaviours that the Department of Energy has deemed as likely to worsen your fuel mileage – hard stops, quick starts and speeding. Whenever Automatic detects one of those behaviours, it’ll make a soft ding to alert you and dock your fuel efficiency score accordingly. By comparing you to last week’s stats, you’re gently encouraged to change your habits and reap the rewards in fuel efficiency.
The app also gives you access to engine alert codes that usually require a mechanic and their specialist equipment – you’ll be able to see at a glance what code has come up, what it means and what you should do about it. If it’s nothing you can turn off the light yourself, but if it’s serious you can find mechanics in the area with ratings from Yelp.
The app also includes crash detection. If it reckons you’ve been hit, it’ll automatically call 911 with details of your crash and then a designated family member. Of course, you can cancel these before they happen if it’s a false alarm.
All of this is set to just cost $70, with no monthly fees – not bad at all! Automatic will be launching in May, so keep an eye out for it.