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So... I was scrolling past my News Feed in Facebook and noticed a Suggested Post that looked interesting. The post was from a company called “Automatic” and the text of the ad was:
I had to click.
The ad took me to http://www.automatic.com. After watching the video, I was excited. Not excited enough to shell out $100 but excited nonetheless.
“Someone finally found a useful application for the car’s data port!” I said.
Automatic touts, “Your Car and Smartphone, Connected”. By connecting the Automatic Link to your cars data port and downloading the iPhone app (Android coming soon), your phone becomes an “auto assistant” which provides a slew of useful features such as:
Learning your driving style to optimize fuel economy.
Provides audible feedback when you accelerate too quickly.
Tracks fill-ups & local gas prices
Displays actual MPG for all trips.
Each of these contribute to your “Drive Score” which helps you improve your driving habits and optimize for fuel efficiency. It even remembers where you parked automatically (in case you forget).
What’s even more interesting, is that Automatic is starting to encroach on the OEM space with features such as Crash Alert being an alternative to the lack-luster OnStar-like services. Automatic also helps decode the service miner codes by providing possible solutions and a link to find nearby mechanics. Even better, you can reset the codes right from your smartphone. Additionally, Automatic being it's own platform that plugs into existing OEM frameworks, they could level features that otherwise might be brand-dependent.
Now the question is, why the hell are OEM’s ignoring these advancements? To be perfectly honest, I’m glad it was a 3rd party. Small companies are the ones that innovate. The auto industry needs fresh, young companies to keep moving forward.
The features Automatic brings to the table are nice but I think this is just the start of something great. I hope to see more exciting things from them in the future (maybe even an API to give 3rd party add-ons).