by Brent Dirks
January 29, 2014
A recent over-the-air firmware update has added a very interesting feature to the Automatic connected car device – Apple’s iBeacon technology. As you remember, it uses Bluetooth 4.0 to allow compatible iOS devices to communicate and exchange information with a nearby beacon. The technology is in place at all 254 Apple Stores in the United States. Other retailers, like American Eagle Outfitters, are also rolling out iBeacons. According to Automatic, iBeacon technology will help improve the connection between the device and app to better capture trip information. But the long-term prospects are very notable:
Beyond that, we’re building a system for our users to securely identify themselves and their cars to the various automotive service providers they encounter. Say you’re leaving a parking garage and instead of stopping to pay an attendant with your credit card, Automatic wirelessly signals the gate that you’re there using iBeacon, deducts the necessary funds from a credit card linked to your Automatic account, and opens the gate. The same system could work for toll booths, repair shops, parking meters, car washes, gas stations, and so on.Retailing for $99.95, you can snag the Automatic at Apple’s online store now. The device plugs into a vehicle’s OBD-II port and will work with most cars manufactured since 1996. Once setup, the Automatic will relay information about your driving habits and any possible engine trouble. Designed for the iPhone/iPod touch, the companion app can be downloaded now in the App Store for free.