A new app called Automatic gives drivers an array of features that enhance road safety, fuel economy, and so many other things. For example, it helps a person improve his or her driving, calls for assistance when there are problems, and lets a driver know when the vehicle needs service. The app does the work of a whole host of specific apps, as Richard Read reports for The Car Connection, via a small box-like gadget called Automatic Link that plugs into the onboard diagnostic port just below the dashboard.
Automatic Link acts as a bridge between your vehicle and your smartphone. When your ‘check engine’ light comes on, for example, you don’t have to guess where the problem lies. Automatic Link sends diagnostics data to the Automatic app, giving you a complete report.
The app can tell a driver where their car is parked. That feature, Read notes, could come in handy for families, because more than one phone can interface with the device, which can also help pinpoint a car’s location if it is stolen.
Thejo Kote and Jerry Jariyassunant, who met as graduates at the University of California, Berkeley, developed Automatic Link after observing that drivers did not bother much to see how they could save time and money on driving, Charles Arthur writes for The Guardian. “We knew we had to build our own hardware to give them feedback while they drive, and from there many other possibilities for helping people drive smarter opened up,” said Kote.
Arthur writes that the emergence of products like Automatic and a similar one in Europe by the RAC, called Advance, is a sign of the times:
That two companies based in different continents have announced the products at the same time is another sign of the rise of the ‘quantified self’ movement, whereby people measure as much as they can about themselves and everything around them. Whether they want to know the number of steps they take, hours they sleep or calories they eat, apps are springing up to cater to them.
Automatic, founded in 2012, has already gotten venture capital backing from Andreessen Horowitz, which previously invested in Twitter and Skype, Arthur writes. The iPhone version of the app will start shipping in July, according to Automatic’s website, as the ones that were available for pre-order beginning in May have already sold out.
An Android version will be out in the fall. Automatic can be pre-ordered for $69.95 — a one-time cost, as there are no subscription fees. Automatic supports gasoline cars sold in the U.S. since 1996.
You can see more about how Automatic works in the following video: