This Pocket-Sized Gadget Turns Any Vehicle Into A Smart Car

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Whether you like it or not, technology is finding its way into more corners of the average consumer’s life than ever before.

From smartphones to wearable fitness monitors, it seems we have a next-gen solution for everything, including your car.

Although GPS systems and rearview cameras have been around for some time, they lack the versatility and customizability that today’s mobile apps and smart-devices feature — until now.

Introducing Automatic, A Smart Car Tool

Automatic is an easy-to-use device that monitors the health of your car when you plug it in. It includes a complementary app in both the App Store and Google Play.

Other apps are available from the same developer, which add features like mileage invoicing, vehicle cost management and miscellaneous expense reporting, but Automatic includes plenty of useful tools by itself.

While the device isn’t free, there are no monthly fees for using it. Customers enjoy unlimited car monitoring and access to all of the options included in Automatic at no extra charge. There are even two different versions available, letting you control costs and choose the one that’s right for you.

  • Automatic Lite: The entry-level version of Automatic is sold out at the time of this writing, and it offers all of the basic features in the Automatic service. This includes trip logging, fuel tracking, business tagging, engine diagnostics and Bluetooth connectivity. Automatic Lite carries a price tag of $79.95.
  • Automatic Pro: This version is great for professional drivers or those who spend a lot of time behind the wheel. It includes all of the basic functionality seen in the Lite version as well as automated crash alerts, parking monitoring, real-time vehicle tracking and access to all of the developer’s additional apps. Automatic Pro, which is still available at the time of this writing, costs $129.95.

Remember, you’re not just buying an app. Each purchase of Automatic Lite or Automatic Pro includes the required adapter, which plugs into the standard diagnostics (OBD-II) port of nearly any modern vehicle.

Not only does this provide accessibility to all of the hidden data contained within your vehicle’s on-board computer — including details on mileage, fuel efficiency and engine performance — but it also connects your system directly to the cloud.

These details can be used to lessen your carbon footprint and strengthen your vehicle’s overall health. While it’s estimated that an aluminum body can increase fuel efficiency by 8-10%, such metrics are difficult to measure without a device like Automatic.

Regular Updates On Your Vehicle’s Status

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The team with Automatic regularly updates the firmware and software of their service, too. Currently on the third iteration, the current platform provides 3G cellular connectivity, phone-free tracking and continuous data streaming.

It’s been a steady progression ever since the launch of the original Automatic, which was quite bare bones compared to the newest versions.

Not only did the first device need a Bluetooth connection, but it also required your smartphone to be in the vehicle during use. Automatic’s second update introduced GPS and removed the restrictions of needing a smartphone and Bluetooth connection, but their third and most recent model is the most comprehensive version yet.

Given the device’s track record, we’ll likely see even more updates from the development team at Automatic in the future. Since much of the technology it’s using is still in its infancy, there is plenty of room for more upgrades and enhancements.

Paving The Way For The Smart Car Of The Future

Despite consumers’ excitement over the concept of the next-gen smart car, there’s still a lot of time — perhaps years — until smart cars replace traditional and current-gen models across the country.

In the meantime, devices like Automatic help you prepare for the impending change while bolstering your vehicle’s performance, efficiency and longevity all at the same time.

Images via Automatic

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Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a Pittsburgh-based tech writer contributing to MakeUseOf, The Gadget Flow and Smart Hustle. Follow her on Twitter to read her latest posts!

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