“It’s not your car getting connected, it’s you becoming a better driver.”
As smart devices continue to infiltrate our daily lives from the house to the workplace, it won’t be long before they enter our vehicles as well with approximately 250 million connected cars on the road by 2020. And, while a number of manufacturers have already begun embedding next-gen technology into our automobiles, new solutions are emerging that can make older ones smart, too. Good news for anyone with a ride that dates back to 2001.
Among the latest startups to take aim on this market is Drust. The Paris-based startup has developed Akolyt, a smart sensor that plugs directly a car’s OBD connector and gathers data on all things under the hood, such as brake patterns, gear changes, and speed. That data is then transmitted via Bluetooth to the user’s smartphone and is displayed in easy-to-digest bits of real-time data. Almost as if it were your personal driving assistant, the sensor can enhance driver efficiency, increase the reliability of the car, and reduce up to 30% fuel consumption.
In the event that something is wrong — and after all, with older vehicles it’s bound to happen — a light will immediately appear on the dashboard, indicating the problem. This means no more sifting through the glove box clutter to locate the the owner’s manual, just to learn that the you still have no idea what the vague light means. Instead, Akolyt explains clearly the origin of any problem so you can handle the situation properly — and better yet, not be ripped off by mechanics! Additionally, the sensor will examine your car before each trip to ensure that everything is indeed okay as you head off to work, class or the grocery store.
The accompanying app also keeps tabs on a driver’s daily route, maintenance schedules, appointments, and a number of other key reminders. More importantly, the device is equipped with an emergency assistance feature as well. If in a fender bender, Akolyt will immediately verify that you’re okay, and when help is necessary, will automatically notify authorities of the incident.
At the end of each journey, the mobile app collects on-the-road data and generates statistics based on performance, updating your “driving score.” This is certainly something that can come in handy for parents with teenage drivers or bantering with friends over who’s the better driver.
Based on an ARM Cortex-M3 MCU, the plug-in device is packed with Bluetooth 4.0 to communicate with its companion app, a long-range module to connect to the Internet, Flash memory so trip data can be stored, and a built-in accelerometer to track information precisely.
Those wishing to become more intelligent, well-informed drivers can head over to the project’s official Indiegogo page where the team is currently seeking €30,000. What’s more, Drust has a few stretch goals as well — one of which includes adding support for American-made cars. If all goes to plan, initial tests will begin in April 2015 with production slated for August 2015.