Automatic: An Auto Accessory to Make Smarter Cars & Better Drivers

By | 2014-01-13

Auto_Accessory_to_Make_You_a_Smarter_Driver-2Automatic helps you drive better by letting your car interact with your smartphone. It’s an accessory that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port that pairs with a smartphone app.

As I like to say to my audience during briefings on tablet applications, “Apps help you do what you do, only better. The trick is figuring out which work best for your particular use case scenario. That’s what I do.”

In this case, the app literally makes your car smarter and tells you how to be a better driver.

Automatic can also help you remember where you parked the car. It tells you when your car’s diagnostics say something is wrong and it needs servicing. It helps you be a better driver by beeping at you if you do things like hit the brakes or gas too hard. At the end of a trip it gives you a nice summary of your driving performance, along with the cost.  It’s smart. If you listen to what it tells you to do when you’re driving, what you save in fuel costs will cover the cost of the device fairly quickly.

Automatic can tell you exactly how much a trip costs because it can read the fuel level sensor in many cars and knows when you fill up. That could be handy when corporate mobile workers are asked to ‘manage their business as if it were their own’, and without adding a lot of annoying manual processes, pointless forms and tracking spreadsheets. It’s also handy for those teens who want to split the gas cost of a trip, instead of all throwing in a $20 to fill the tank without having a clue that they only used 2 gallons.

Some might say Automatic is a way to be a little ‘greener’. For example, did you know that your car’s fuel efficiency most likely drops fast after you pass the typical speed limit? In Florida, where the interstate speed limit tends to be 70, and road speed tends to be 79’ish’, a Civic’s drops by around 10 MPG. I measured my Buick’s at around 5 MPG less. Same distance, less fuel burned, less emissions, better for the environment.

Others might say ‘but driving faster gets me there faster’. That might be true, but do the math. If you drive 60 miles, you get there 9 minutes faster if you drive 70 instead of 60 MPH. If your commute is 30 miles, you save 4 1/2 minutes. I lose more time than that if I hit all 7 red lights on my 2 mile drive in. Why does it seem like the lights are almost perfectly timed to catch me? Jack rabbit starts at all of those lights may cause my car to burn more fuel than on the entire trip in. Automatic will remind me to not do that.

Obviously, saved time adds up for long trips and people who drive for a living, but that’s where the cost savings really adds up over a month. Is my time worth money? Absolutely, but my company isn’t going to pay me any more because I traveled to an appointment 5 minutes faster. Click the chart below for a more information on fuel efficiency vs speed.


This video is on their site too. It’s worth a few minutes of your time to watch.

Click the device at the top to get to their site. You can find Automatic at the Apple Store, among other places. I know I’ll absolutely be getting one for my 18 year old new driver, if only to prompt her when she makes a bad driving choice.

To benefit from Automatic, you’ll need a smartphone. Automatic works with iPhone today. Automatic for Android is in beta testing and is scheduled for early 2014 release.

My work life includes recommending location based services to businesses so they can save money and run more efficiently, so this is old news to me. What’s new is the particular solution and its ties to an app.

I hope someone in my circles, or their circles, can benefit from my sharing of this information. Let me know if you do or if you would like a free consult. #SprintEmployee

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