by Brent Dirks
March 12, 2013
An interesting startup, Automatic, is looking to turn your car into an iOS-connected device. The Automatic Link hardware reads data from a vehicle’s on-board diagnostics port and connects to a companion app via low-energy Bluetooth 4.0. The OBD-II port needed by the device is standard in every car manufactured since 1996 in the United States. And when the hardware is connected to the port, it allows users to capture a large amount of data about their vehicles and driving habits. Here's a short video about Automatic. Click here if you can't see it. Probably one of the best features is the driving feedback. The app learns your driving style, and then gives audio cues when you do things that waste gas like rough braking, speeding, and rapid acceleration. In some newer vehicles, the system detects fill-ups and tracks local gas prices to see the exact cost of how much gas you’re using in one trip. Thanks to a built-in accelerometer, the Automatic Link also uses a phone’s data connection to report a crash to 911 with your name, location, and vehicle description. The app can also alert and decipher a specific engine code to tell you exactly what’s wrong with a vehicle. And since Automatic logs GPS data, you’ll also never forget where a car is parked. The Automatic can be preordered now for $69.95 directly through the company’s site. It is only compatible with the iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S and will be available in May.