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Monitor Your Car with Your iPhone

A new device for your car takes advantage of the smartphone revolution by linking the car’s onboard computer to your phone, potentially saving you gas money through tracking your driving habits, as well as alerting you to any problems that arise with the vehicle.

The Automatic Link, which is said to be compatible with almost any gas-fueled car sold in the U.S. since 1996, connects to your car’s data port and communicates with your smartphone wirelessly, via a Bluetooth 4.0 connection.

The device gathers data from your car, as well as the GPS in your phone, and learns your driving style. Automatic then gives you objective feedback on your driving habits, whether it’s rapid acceleration and driving over the speed limit or abrupt braking, so you can adjust your driving for more fuel efficiency and less wear and tear on the car itself.

Users are also assigned a “Drive Score” each week, with detailed info about the week’s trips, which allows them to pay attention to driving habits that can increase the score, and quite possibly save a chunk of money on gas. Automatic can also display the actual miles per gallon (MPG) the driver is getting, as well as track the local fuel prices and detect when the vehicle is being filled up, calculating how much is being spent on gas.

Automatic can read and interpret the vehicle’s Engine Trouble Codes, so when that mysterious “Check Engine” light comes on, instead of wondering what it could be, users can get suggestions for possible solutions to solve relatively simple problems. In case of a more serious malfunction of the vehicle, the device will display information about nearby garages and mechanics so users can call them for service.

As a safety feature, Automatic Link has an accelerometer built into it, capable of detecting a crash or accident. The device then sends a 911 call, to emergency services, which includes your name, location, and vehicle info. And for forgetful drivers, the device also keeps track of your parking location and can lead you back to your car.

Automatic Link is available for preorder in the U.S. for $69.95 (iPhone version ships in May, Android ships this fall).

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