Automatic Releases Android Version of Its Smart Driving Assistant
Automatic, the smart driving assistant that gives you information about fuel economy, driving safety and more, is releasing the Android 1.0 version of its app. The new version for Android devices, which has been available in beta up until now, will be available in the Google Play store and includes popular features such as Crash Alert (beta), as well as a new, Android exclusive “Do Not Disturb” feature, aimed at making drivers less distracted on the road.
The app, which has been available on iOS since last summer, works in tandem with the Automatic Link, a $99 dongle that plugs into your car’s data port. The two products together make your car a smart car, helping drivers decipher whether their “check engine” light is due to a serious issue that needs attention or just another useless mechanic visit. The Crash Alert feature can detect if you are in a serious crash and notify local authorities with your location, even if you can’t. While some consumers may balk at the $99 price tag of the dongle, others say it’s worth it.
“A lot of people say it’s already paid for itself either through gas mileage improvements over the course of several months of using Automatic,” said Duncan Carroll, one of Automatic’s engineers. “Or it could be when their check engine light went on and instead of taking it into the mechanic immediately, they were able to decipher code using the automatic app and turned out it wasn’t something that needed a mechanic, so they were able to save a couple hundred dollars there.”
The Android 1.0 version also has an exclusive feature called “Do Not Disturb.” According to the blog announcement, Android’s hooks into the low-level OS, allowing Automatic to create a feature that silences the phone while driving, decreasing the chance that a driver will be distracted by the buzzing or ringing of their phone. The feature, which still allows users to pick up their phone by not locking them out completely, will also autoreply to phone calls with a text message indicating that the user is driving.
“We can actually make a dent in the number of distracted driving cases by simply silencing the phone when we detect that you’re driving, and that’s something that Automatic does out of the box. I think we’re going to continue to see that as more and more devices become connected.” Carroll said.
Automatic has been building partnerships with other companies including Jawbone and IFTTT(if this than that) to create connections between triggers and actions on the Internet. The company continues to see a large number of possibilities in the Internet of Things space and may continue to broaden its partnerships.
“We see new possibilities opening up almost every day– on a regular basis we’ll see either new tools coming out to link these connected devices together,” Carroll said. “It’s really an open field right now, so it’s cool to be a part of that.”
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