January 2, 2014 – My wife and I own a 7-year old mini-van. So it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles with which new model cars are equipped. No GPS, no built-in WiFi, no engine diagnostics, and no personal alerts. But this morning in my morning read of the newspaper I saw a small article about a device and smart app that can take our mini-van from the Dark Ages to the Light. It is called Zubie, a matchbox-sized smart device that you plug into the standard diagnostic port in your car if it no older than a 1996 model, and then communicate with it through an accompanying smartphone app. What Zubie gives you is:
- location alerts – know when the person driving your car has reached their destination.
- trip history – view a map of your latest trip including mileage.
- network sharing – send your trip details and experiences through email and Facebook.
- group location sharing – coordinate carpools, work travel and other group activities.
- engine health – know what is triggering your Check Engine Light and other panel alerts and codes and get an estimate of likely repair costs before you go to your mechanic.
- battery level – know your battery’s health before it goes dead.
- driving behavior – check your metrics on speed, braking, idling and other driving habits.
- compete with other drivers – compete to see who is the best driver in your family.
The Zubie works wirelessly connecting through its Internet presence with your Android or iPhone smartphone. It doesn’t need Bluetooth. Just download the free app and purchase your one-year service plan for $99.95 U.S. The company, headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, formed in 2012 and in the past month received $10 million in funding from venture capital firms in the U.S. headed up by Castrol innoVentures, Comporium Inc., and OpenAir Equity Partners.