Get vehicle stats sent directly to your iPhone with Automatic LinkBy Shawn Knight 29 comments
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.