Automatic: Your Smart Driving Assistant

Screen Shot 2013-12-11 at 11.46.20 AMThe world is exploding with technology. It’s amazing to see technology entering into so many different areas. One of those areas that has long been ripe for this expansion is Automotive.   Automotive technology has been around for quite a while but unfortunately the technology you get your car is a result of what you get when you purchase the vehicle. In some cases manufactures don’t have very good technology available for their cars. But more often, good technology today Tuesday age poorly in a vehicle.  What may be the most advanced system in the world the day you buy your vehicle tends to be old and dated even before your vehicle is paid for. I have long believed that being able to add tech to a vehicle you all is a natural process.   But unfortunately adding text after-the-fact is to be expensive and also poorly integrated. That’s one reason why I was excited to read about Automatic.

Automatic is a small attachment device that plugs into your vehicles OBD port and provides information that your vehicle computer already has through Bluetooth to an application running on your phone. Automatic supports both iPhone and android devices. Nearly all vehicles 1996 and newer have this port.

IMG_0750The attachment dongle easily plugs in to the same port your mechanic uses when you take your car in for service. It’s easily accessible near the steering wheel. It then uses Bluetooth Low Energy Wireless using Bluetooth 4.0 and sophisticated energy-saving algorithms to allow the link to minimizes your phone’s battery consumption. The application is freely downloadable from respective app stores and can be installed on multiple devices if you choose.

So what kind of information does Automatic supply?

For the most part, you can get Driving Feedback.  Automatic is your auto assistant. It learns about your driving style and gives you subtle audio cues when you do things that waste gas, like:

Rough Braking – Braking abruptly decreases fuel efficiency and dramatically increases wear-and-tear on your car’s brake pads.

Speeding – Highway speeding may not save you much time, but driving 10 MPH over the speed limit reduces fuel efficiency by 12-15%.


Rapid Acceleration – Stepping hard on the gas pedal decreases fuel efficiency and wastes money.  Automatic shows how you’re doing on every trip.

Drive Score – Automatic scores your driving every week to help you improve. A high score could save you hundreds on gas every year.

Trip Timeline – The Automatic app displays detailed info about your week, like how much you drive and where. See the actual MPGs for all your trips, even for older cars that don’t display fuel efficiency on the dashboard. Automatic also detects* fill-ups and even tracks local gas prices to show you how much you’re spending.

Crash Alert – Automatic can detect many types of serious crashes using the Link’s built-in accelerometer. Agents from Automatic report the situation to local authorities to get you help in an emergency. An agent will also call your loved ones to let them know the details of the crash and that emergency responders are on the way.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that automatic needs to improve. Right now the system provides no ability to do anything outside of looking at your phone with the data it collects. There needs to be A companion website that allows me to download my information or print reports of what I’ve done. I really want to be able to use automatic too log mileage for my trip and provide me a detailed report of starting and ending locations along with mileage and cost. I hope the company realizes that they only just begun.

There is a short YouTube video about Automatic.

Automotive technology supplied by automatic is a great start. The ability to add a relatively inexpensive device to your vehicle and connect to your phone to act as the brain has been a long time coming. Automatic provide you a great start at this. Let’s hope they continue to improve the system and application.