Get vehicle stats sent directly to your iPhone with Automatic Link

By on March 12, 2013, 12:30 PM

A San Francisco startup called Automatic Labs is now accepting orders for a device designed to monitor your vehicle’s vital stats and send them directly to your smartphone. The program is able to keep track of a variety of parameters and even issues a weekly driving score designed to make you a better driver.

Automatic Link is a small dongle that plugs into your vehicle’s ODB-II port, the same connection a mechanic uses to diagnose your car during maintenance. Every car sold in the US since 1996 is required to have the port so unless you’re driving something older than that, you’re in business. No professional installation is needed as the dongle simply plugs right into the port located under the steering wheel.

Before using the hardware, you’ll need to download the iPhone app, plug in the dongle then pair the two using Bluetooth 4.0. As of writing, Automatic Link only works with the iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 but we are told an Android version will be available later this fall.

When in use, Automatic Link works with your phone’s GPS and data plan as a smart assistant. The unit is able to learn your driving style and even gives subtle audio cues to help you drive more efficiently. Examples include avoiding heavy breaking, heavy acceleration and not speeding. All of these can lead to better gas mileage and a safer overall trip. In the event you are in a crash, Automatic Link can call for help on your behalf and even send a text message to loved ones letting them now what happened and where you are.

Automatic Link is now available for pre-order for $69.95 with no subscription fees. The first batch of units will be shipping this May.




User Comments: 29

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9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

That's cool - and for the other 80% of us with anything other then an Apple OS on our smartphones - can we expect a version too?

dotVezz said:

That's cool - and for the other 80% of us with anything other then an Apple OS on our smartphones - can we expect a version too?

The article says there should be an Android version coming.

Guest said:

It supports android

Punkid said:

I thought there already was a device that read the ODB-II and sent the stats wirelessly to android devices..for example, theres this app called Torque Pro that can receive stats from the many different ODB-II readers that transmit over bluetooth, I dont see why this made the news :S

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Sounds cool, but it's OBD-II and heavy braking, not breaking.

1 person liked this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Awesome! I needed another reason to look at my smartphone while driving!

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I thought there already was a device that read the ODB-II and sent the stats wirelessly to android devices..for example, theres this app called Torque Pro that can receive stats from the many different ODB-II readers that transmit over bluetooth, I dont see why this made the news :S

This seems to be a little more advanced than torque pro. I'm kinda looking forward to it for android.

Guest said:

1. Buy OBD2 Bluetooth Diagnostic (pluggy thingie) from Ebay for $10.

2. Buy Torque Pro (appy thingie) from Google Play for $5.

3. Do the macarena.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It supports android

Not yet it doesn't. There isn't an app available for android yet.

davislane1 davislane1 said:

So it's basically mbrace (lite) at a fraction of the cost. Good stuff!

Blkfx1 Blkfx1 said:

I like the idea. Will be looking forward to the android release.

Guest said:

If this thing just sends information to my smartphone, then why does it work with my data plan.

Also why the mention of no subscription fee?

Me thinks your data will be sent to more than just your smartphone and that GPS will be used for more than just seeing if your braking too hard

Collected information is valuable. I don't think I'll be giving them mine.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If this thing just sends information to my smartphone, then why does it work with my data plan.

Also why the mention of no subscription fee?

Me thinks your data will be sent to more than just your smartphone and that GPS will be used for more than just seeing if your braking too hard

Collected information is valuable. I don't think I'll be giving them mine.

If you're in an accident, the app will notify 911 of your position, and send help. That's why it needs your data plan. Don't break out your tin foil just yet, because that doesn't sound too sinister to me.

JC713 JC713 said:

Looks awesome.

Guest said:

No foil hat here. You can dial 911 on any mobile phone without service contract of any kind (as in old phone no plan) as long as the sim card is still in it.

So I ask again it uses my data plan why?

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

No foil hat here. You can dial 911 on any mobile phone without service contract of any kind (as in old phone no plan) as long as the sim card is still in it.

So I ask again it uses my data plan why?

But can you text friends or family members without one, like this app does? It's all there in the story if you just take the time to read it.

ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

Not yet another privacy breaker!

I am concerned about the stats usage.

What they fall into the hands of a police investigator?

An insurance company?

Guest said:

Wow that's nice. Too bad that was available for Android devices almost 2 years ago.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Awesome! I needed another reason to look at my smartphone while driving!

Me too. Simply talking on my phone & SMS'ing while outrunning the cops simply wasn't exciting enough. If they use this gadget as well I can monitor their cruisers & send the data to them during the chase.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Not yet another privacy breaker!

I am concerned about the stats usage.

What they fall into the hands of a police investigator?

An insurance company?

You think they're going to send those out on your behalf? Not everything is about big brother. It's your responsibility to make sure your phone is password protected, as there have already been rulings that unlocked phones aren't protected under the 4th amendment.

Guest said:

Not yet another privacy breaker!

I am concerned about the stats usage.

What they fall into the hands of a police investigator?

An insurance company?

Well said ArthurZ and exactly why I raised the question of whether or not that data was being sent to just my phone.

Question raised I'm done here.

Guest said:

Droid had it years ago...Apple users claim it's another stolen idea.

Mark Christie said:

I already have a wireless equivalent that tells me when I'm driving to fast, breaking to hard, etc. My wife!

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Pretty cool and useful. I can see parents of driving teens using this, I certainly would/will (I don't have to worry about that for at least another 5 years, just enough time to re-mortgage the house in order to afford the car insurance). Now, where's the guy who usually chimes in about the government tracking our every move. He'll love this one.

ArthurZ ArthurZ said:

You think they're going to send those out on your behalf? Not everything is about big brother. It's your responsibility to make sure your phone is password protected, as there have already been rulings that unlocked phones aren't protected under the 4th amendment.

Malware and court orders work around passwords. My thinking if these stats are now obtainable (think phone calls monitoring) the authorities may want to use the data. The vehicle manufactures today are already obliged to store details speed, breaks use, direction, etc. on airbag deployement after all.

Kevin82485 Kevin82485 said:

I feel like this is a feature that car manufacturers should make standard (or optional, I guess) in all vehicles. There's no reason nowadays, that when you buy a newer vehicle, you can't link your phone or other device (tablet, laptop) to your car for diagnostic information. I think car owners have the right to easily and more affordably (goodbye $150 diagnostic fees from the repair shop!) know what is going on with the innards of their vehicle.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Malware and court orders work around passwords. My thinking if these stats are now obtainable (think phone calls monitoring) the authorities may want to use the data. The vehicle manufactures today are already obliged to store details speed, breaks use, direction, etc. on airbag deployement after all.

"Malware and court orders work around passwords" - So we should just throw our hands up in the air, and not use passwords? Give me a break. Get an antivirus on your phone if you're worried about malware (which is pretty rare on Android/iOS anyway). As for the court order to get around your password, that probably won't happen unless you're suspected of the rape and murder of your grandmother. Driving is a privilege, not a right (hence the license), so if you don't want an insurance company to know everything there is to know about your bad driving habits, start taking the bus. If you don't like it that vehicle manufacturers are obliged to store details about your horrible driving, then call your congressman/senator. Don't automatically assume that a new startup company is just looking to rat you out to the man, when you kill a pedestrian while breaking your neck to Justin Bieber (It's ok, I know you do ).

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Droid had it years ago...Apple users claim it's another stolen idea.

September 27, 2008

iPhone OBD-II app

[link]

Only one claiming it things are stolen are you and another guy above you. Must there be at least 1 person in any Apple related story to come in bash Apple in some way? Get over it man, you have become exactly what you claim to hate about Apple fanboys.

Jay Pfoutz Jay Pfoutz, Malware Helper, said:

"Malware and court orders work around passwords" - So we should just throw our hands up in the air, and not use passwords? Give me a break. Get an antivirus on your phone if you're worried about malware (which is pretty rare on Android/iOS anyway).

No, the point being made, and what is true, is that passwords are out of style due to how weak they are. Until the new hashing algorithm gets released, password hacking and other such trouble will continue happening.

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