As the connected car wars heat up, more and more automakers are giving users the ability to communicate with their vehicles from their iPhones. Certain automotive manufacturers ranging from Chevy and Ford to Audi and Mercedes allow users to check their vehicle's vital stats about their driving habits using their smartphone. Unfortunately, drivers of older vehicles can't get access to such valuable features. Unless they install Automatic Labs' new Automatic Link, that is.
The $69.95 device, which plugs into your car or truck's Onboard diagnostic Port (OBD), collects real-time information about your driving habits and sends it to your iPhone via Bluetooth. With Automatic connected, you can get reports about your overall driving efficiency and tips on how you can improve your driving style to help save gas. If you perform a maneuver that results in wasted fuel, such as overzealous acceleration or hard braking, the Automatic app will provide you with an audible prompt to let you know you're wasting gas.
In addition to fuel efficiency, Automatic Link can also help you find your car based on its GPS location. A built-in accelerometer can detect if you've been in an accident and, using your phone's data connection, report the crash to the authorities. When help arrives, Automatic Link will then send a message to your friends and family to let them know what happened and that you're OK.
Our personal favorite feature of the Automatic Link is its ability to read your check engine light and tell you what's wrong with your car, something dealerships and mechanics will charge for. Better still, when you fix the problem, the app has an option that lets you turn off the engine light. And if you can't fix the problem, a Find Nearby Mechanic button will locate a grease monkey in your area who can.
Currently, the Automatic Link is only available for the iPhone, but Automatic Labs says it's working on an Android version that will be released in the fall.