Automatic is a smart driving assistant combining a small hardware device that plugs into your car with a mobile app that provides drivers with data about both their vehicle and their driving habits. While this was previously only available as an iOS application, it is now available on Android with two new features including a "do not disturb" mode and Crash Alert functionality.
The Crash Alert feature is currently in beta and will go through a testing period on both iOS and Android. The concept is to provide drivers with an integrated system such as OnStar provides in emergency assistance situations, while having the functionality bundled into a mobile application. Crash Alert will allow Automatic to identify when you've been in a serious car accident and will automatically alert the local authorities with your location, even when you are unable to do this yourself. Automatic will also contact your family and other loved ones to let them know that an accident has occurred and that emergency responders have been dispatched to the location.
The Android release has been developed with a definite focus on safety. The "do not disturb" feature will silence the phone during driving, so that no distractions are caused by incoming texts or calls. Auto-replies to rings and texts that indicate that you are currently driving are part of the enriched functionality of this new release. The ability for Automatic to send a text on the user's behalf will hopefully help to stop drivers from engaging in the dangerous practice of checking their phone while driving. Drivers will no longer have to worry about not responding right away as the app will do that for them.
Distracted driving is known to be extremely dangerous, with 1.6 million accidents being caused by texting per year. An astonishing 78 percent of teen drivers say that they read texts while they're on the road, and the hope is that this new functionality will allow them to focus on their driving with the knowledge that automatic replies are being sent immediately when incoming texts arrive.
Many companies have tried to address the problem of texting while driving in the past, with limited success. Products such as Sonalight, Drive Safe.ly, txtBlocker, Textecution, AT&T's DriveMode and DriveOFF have been seen as cumbersome and "uncool" to teenagers, as the focus is only on safety. With Automatic, the safety components are part of a larger suite of features, making the platform more attractive to a larger user base.
While the Automatic app itself is free, it must work in conjunction with a hardware accessory that is plugged into the car's data port. This costs $99.95, and it is only a one-time fee with no ongoing subscription charges. Automatic reports that it has grown five times since its initial launch last March, but the company has not yet released details about its user numbers or revenue generation.