Gizmos & Gadgets: New Device That Monitors Your Car Using a Smartphone

Today’s automobiles are computers on wheels. When you take it in for service diagnostics get measured through a data port. What if you could connect to your car this way? Well that’s what Automatic Link does, a plug in device that links your car wirelessly to a smartphone letting you access your automobile’s on-board brain. Automatic is both software and hardware. The plug in works with almost any internal combustion engine sold since 1996. And the software can be downloaded into Apple and Android smartphones. Currently only available in the United States, Automatic and Automatic Link will be commercially available in July of this year.

Automatic Link is easy to plug into your automobile. The data port access is usually close to your steering column. If you don’t know where it is look in the manual that came with the vehicle or ask your technician to point it out the next time you bring the vehicle in for service.

The technology uses Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology to minimize the drain on your smartphone’s battery.

So what can Automatic do for you? It learns your driving style and provides reports and signals to help you improve gas mileage, car performance and assist in emergencies. Here are a few of its capabilities:

      • flags rough braking to help you reduce brake wear
      • advises you when you are heavy-footed on the accelerator to improve fuel efficiency;
      • notifies you when you are speeding;
      • scores your driving weekly to provide an incentive to improve your driving behaviour;
      • provides you with a detailed report on how much you drive every week and where you go;
      • gives you actual gas consumption figures for every trip;
      • tracks local gas prices and detects when you need to fill the tank;
      • keeps track of how much you are spending on gas;
      • detects crashes using its on board accelerometer;
      • automatically uses the smartphone link and its GPS app to report on crashes to 911 and location, giving your name and a vehicle description;
      • in a crash can send a text message to family advising them that help is on the way and the location of the crash site;
      • flags engine trouble codes when the “check engine” light comes on and explains the problem in laypersons’ terms providing suggested actions;
      • indicates where you can find a reputable mechanic nearby and provides directions to get to him or her;
      • always remembers where you park;
      • allows more than one smartphone to access the Automatic Link for multiple driver vehicles.

Does all this for $69.95.

What a deal!

Too bad only U.S. customers can buy it right now.





Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...