Automatic Link 'smart driving assistant' adds iBeacon functionality in software update

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Automatic has added iBeacon support to its Automatic Link "smart driving assistant," opening up the possibility for remote payments, granular car location tracking and, of course, enhanced targeted ads.


With the new update, Automatic Link can now use its built-in Bluetooth 4.0 capability to transmit and receive information within Apple's iBeacon ecosystem, reports TechCrunch.

According to Automatic cofounder Thejo Kote, the new functionality could lay the groundwork for a completely new set of car-specific iBeacon applications. The company is already looking at possible partnerships, though no official tie-ups have been announced.

For those unfamiliar with Automatic Link, the automotive accessory plugs into a car's on-board diagnostics (OBD) port to monitor various metrics like vehicle speed, fuel level and error reports. Some cars are equipped with more advanced sensors that track fuel consumption and other useful data, which can be transferred to Automatic's app for processing.

Automatic Link pairs with a user's iPhone to access the GPS module and wireless data network to offer a detailed breakdown of each car ride. From rough braking to jackrabbit starts, Automatic learns a user's habits to form recommendations on how to become a more efficient driver.

With iBeacon support and its cellular connection via the iPhone, Automatic Link's update could mark the first steps toward a truly "connected car." Potential advantages are numerous. In tandem with the iPhone, the platform would be able to offer automatic toll or gas payments, for example. Geo-fencing functions like automatic check-ins or smart home applications are also possible.

While a number of automotive accessory firms and car manufacturers offer a few hardware options to handle some of the above-described features, Automatic's plug-and-play setup and inexpensive hardware is likely more appealing to the general consumer.

As with any connected device, the data gathered may also be used for targeted advertisements based on usage data. It is unclear if Automatic's iBeacon implementation would allow for transmission of push advertising, though the base technology is two-way and can technically support such communication. For example, Apple's own iBeacon rollout furnishes users with real-time product information as they walk through an Apple Store.

For now, however, any speculation as to Automatic's plans remains just that. Until deals are inked and the device sees wider adoption, the addition of iBeacon is only a novelty.

The Automatic Link can be purchased for $100, while the recently-updated Automatic iOS app is a free 12.4MB download from the App Store.


  • Reply 1 of 5
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member
    Let's hope Google never buy this startup as well.
  • Reply 2 of 5
    Let's hope that the company gets their device to work properly with iOS7. (Maybe iOS7.1?) Since the OS update, the Automatic does not work automatically on an iPhone 5s. Maybe they should just call it Manual.

    When it was working, it was great. I learned to change my driving habits a little bit and got 15% better gas mileage. Not just according to the app, also according to my odometer.
  • Reply 3 of 5

    I'll buy this app when they can prove they don't send the vehicle data to their servers for "analysis".  If all the data stays in my iPhone, ALWAYS, I'd consider buying this dohickey.

  • Reply 4 of 5
    patsupatsu Posts: 430member
    I will buy it tomorrow to check out the implementation. Haven't really thought of using iBeacon this way.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    One tip for users: if you close the app it won't resume functioning automatically. You need to open it again manually and then it's good to go.
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