Automatic is something like Google Analytics for your car. It’s a half gadget/half app solution that solves a few problems every car driver faces: wasting gas, keeping your engine running in top shape and calling for help in an emergency. It also keeps track of where you’ve been and provides some interesting driving statistics.
I have to say, Automatic is a hot commodity among the Silicon Valley and early adopter crowds that’s been popping up all over my news radar. Just last week here on DailyTekk a startup founder mentioned it in his Obsessions interview (and let me just take this opportunity to say: haha, I got my hands on one first).
To get started with Automatic, you simply plug the Automatic Link (the gadget part of the equation) into your car’s data port. Most car’s manufactured after 1996 are compatible. Next, download the iPhone app and get the two talking to each other via Bluetooth. After that, put the petal to the metal (just not too fast… otherwise Automatic will give you a friendly scolding).
The Automatic Link is tiny—maybe a little larger than a matchbook. It stays out of the way and if it weren’t for the occasional beep you wouldn’t even know it was there.
The app is where is magic happens. When you open it you get a dashboard that shows you the totals for your weekly driving. The first thing you’ll notice is your score: a quick metric that lets you know how well you’re doing in terms of saving money on gas. Surrounding your score you’ll get a quick glimpse of miles driven, hours spent driving, estimated MPG and fuel spent in dollars.
Directly underneath this information you’ll see your trips. Each trip shows a starting and ending destination (and time of departure and arrival), miles driven, gas spent, number of hard breaks, minutes spent over 70 MPH and number of hard accelerations. Instead of a traditional scroll bar, there’s an awesome little car that “drives” up and down as you scroll, signaling going from Point A to Point B for each trip.
There are a few features I’m happy to say I haven’t had a chance to test yet: crash alerts and engine health push notifications. My cars still relatively new and in good shape, but it’s nice to know that I can find out a.) that my engine light is on ...