Automatic is a Bluetooth Low Energy device that plugs into the ODB diagnostics port of most cars manufactured from 1996 onwards. When you turn on your car, Automatic connects to your smartphone and transmits data about driving behaviour.
Currently only available in the US, Automatic makes you a better driver by alerting you to sudden acceleration or braking events. It also anlyises every drive and by accessing fuel usage from the car computer can tell you exactly how much a drive cost.
Other key features include some simple engine management tools (find out exactly what an engine light means and reset it), and the ability to automatically contact authorities following an accident.
The most impressive feature for me is understanding the suggested fuel usage for every trip based on EPA guidelines, compared to my actual usage. This allows me to fine tune my driving behaviour accordingly.
For instance when I drive to my family home, the cost is $1.88 return trip. Occasionally I take some of the side streets to avoid the congestion on some of the main roads. However this reduces my fuel and cost efficiency by 20% and I only save around 3 minutes.
This is when technology as a companion is powerful. Humans make decisions based on past experiences, assumptions and emotion. Data is binary and fact driven.
Automatic is a really neat technology, in the absence of self driving cars its a great step forward.
Note: The Automatic is not available in Australia. However if you manage to get one on our shores, leave a comment and ill explain how to register an Australian Vehicle to the App.