Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stores now carry a new car tracking device called Automatic. This new device connects the iPhone to your car and connects to the car’s OBD-II port. It works by beaming details such as mileage, fuel usage, engine status, and more back to the phone via Bluetooth technology.
Apple’s Automatic device
There are similar devices on the market, however Automatic’s strong point is simplified data that can be easier to understand. The useful gadget, which retails for about $100, is still relatively unknown thanks to limited exposure. That could all change now that it’s available inside Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail stores.
GigaOm offered a good description of the new device: “For those of you unfamiliar with Automatic Link, it’s a $100 cartridge that connects directly to your car’s internal computer through the ODB-II port standard in all vehicles made after 1996. It then connects to an iPhone through Bluetooth, pulling all sorts of driving data into its app. Automatic tells you how you’re driving – whether you’re braking too hard, accelerating too quickly or exceeding 70 mph too often. It records every mile you drive, generates a map of every route you take, and it drops a pin every time you park. It also does a rough calculation of your fuel economy and expenses based on nationwide gas prices and your vehicle make and model. If your check engine light comes on, Automatic alerts you via text message and gives you much more detailed diagnostic information than any dashboard idiot light ever could.”
Thejo Kote (co-founder of Automatic) explained during an interview earlier this week that he hopes his company is just at the beginning of quantifying car data. Although this new gadget is rather simple, the company hopes to create more sophisticated services that go beyond core data. To this end, they launched was CrashAlert, a beta program that will determine if you get into a car accident and alert emergency services as well as your family.