Verizon Vehicle (VV) is a new service that can make any car built since 1996 into a connected vehicle, writes Alex Davies for Wired. Sales are planned to begin in April, and the hardware is expected to be available near the end of the year, Davies writes. VV will cost about $15 a month, Davies adds, and will work via a module that plugs into a car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) port plus a Bluetooth-enabled speaker designed to clip onto the sun visor.
The dongle that is plugged into the port will read data from the vehicle should there be any engine or other problems, writes Richard Read for The Car Connection. The visor component transmits that data via Verizon’s cellular network to be analyzed at the VV headquarters. VV will connect drivers with an ASE-certified mechanic should the check-engine light go on, to diagnose what may be wrong and offer a repair estimate, Davies writes.
The system will also send the driver text message reminders for regular maintenance, Read writes. And “in certain situations” it can text the driver if it detects any serious problems with the car, Read writes. In addition, VV can locate the car if it is stolen, or if the driver forgets where it is parked.
Although the system will probably sell for $120, Verizon will waive the cost for anyone who pre-orders it, Read writes. In order to get the $14.99 plus tax monthly deal, a car owner needs to sign up for a two-year contract, writes Fox News.
Aftermarket devices used to be the province of guys who spent weekends working on their cars — “serious gear heads,” Read writes. But with systems like VV, “even our most mechanically challenged cousin can [probably] pull that off,” Read writes.
Read explains the appeal of such a system:
But tools like this aren’t just hot property because they’re easy to install and use, they’re also popular because cars themselves are much more complicated than they once were. Thanks to onboard computers, proprietary technology systems, and the like, the days of shade-tree mechanics are numbered. Tools like this cut through all the high-tech mumbo-jumbo and tell you what’s really wrong with your ride.
VV is similar to OnStar, Davies writes, noting that that service is an exclusive with General Motors, although OnStar offers OnStar FMV as an aftermarket product. There is also Automatic, an app that links a driver’s phone and car, and that costs a one-time fee of $99 with no ongoing monthly costs, Davies writes. He notes that Verizon has an advantage because it has a national network and is working with a towing company that has around 24,000 truck operators.