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Volkswagen SmileDrive App Gamifies Your Driving, Plays Virtual Punch Buggy

Volkswagen is teaming with Google to make hitting the road fun again with the announcement of Volkswagen's new SmileDrive app. Available for Android smartphones, the app connects to your vehicle via your smartphone's Bluetooth connection and tracks information from your daily road trips including your location, miles driven, weather conditions and more. When you stop your car, the app compiles all of the collected data into a personal report for you.

But the report doesn't just spit basic information back at you, it also provides you with a Smile Score and awards you with stickers for completing specific goals. The app's Smilecast function serves as a kind of travelogue that lets you take photos, maps of your trips and social media updates in one URL that you can share with friends.

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Naturally, since the app was developed with Google in mind, it connects to your Google+ account, allowing users to share their experiences with friends or invite them to participate in a SmileDrive. The achievements feature comes into play when you perform certain tasks, such as drive late at night, early in the morning or over a long distance.

The app also puts a new spin on the Punch Buggy game. Rather than punching your friend anytime you see a Volkswagen Beatle driving on the road, the app automatically registers a virtual punch. And just in case you're wondering, the more punches you have, the higher your Smile Score goes.

Volkswagen is currently offering a beta version of the SmileDrive app via the Google Play store. Expect a final version to be available in the coming months.