Automatic launches a next-gen smart car adapter and third-party app support


The Automatic dongle brings your car into the future.


In today’s age of smart cars with their infotainment systems, backup assistance and self-parallel parking capabilities, it’s hard to envision a time when electronic windows were considered high-tech. As an increasing number of vehicles become connected, what about those dating back to the late ‘90s? Fortunately, Automatic has found a way to bring that ’99 Civic of yours into the Internet of Things.

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Two years ago, the Bay Area-based company released a Bluetooth-enabled adapter along with an accompanying mobile app that provided drivers with all sorts of real-time insight about their vehicle, such as tracking trips, gauging fuel consumption, locating a parking spot, or calling for assistance in the event of an emergency.

Now, Automatic has launched an app store — called the Automatic App Gallery — with over 20 programs including the likes of IFTTT, Yo and License+. Then, there’s YourMechanic, which monitors your car’s performance and diagnoses any issues remotely. Should a problem be discovered, you’ll receive a quote from the mechanic informing you of what’s wrong and an estimated cost for the repair.

With support for both Android and iOS devices, Automatic can even sync with a range of gadgetry, such as your Jawbone fitness band to track steps and ride mileage, your Nest thermostat to properly heat or cool your home upon arrival, and Pebble watch to help recall where you last parked.

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What’s more, Automatic is enabling programmers to build apps of their own as part of their developer platform, which features rich APIs with access to all kinds of driving data. And since the adapter works with any OBD-II port-equipped car, that means the apps will be compatible with a vast majority of vehicles out there — or at least those after 1996.

To make all of this possible, the company has created the next-generation of its in-vehicle dongle that supports dual Bluetooth streams: one to the mobile app, the other to the third-party app. Making matters even better, the original Automatic hardware is compatible with the new App Gallery software; however, the streaming SDK will require the latest iteration of hardware. The adapter protects all wireless data using 128-bit AES encryption — meaning, each one gets a unique key to prevent unauthorized access to a vehicle’s system.

Automatic can also detect an accident and know when to send help. This is done through a built-in accelerometer that measures a car’s 3D orientation 100 times per second and uses signal processing algorithms to sense a serious collision. Ready to make your dumb ride smart? Head over to Automatic’s official page to learn more.

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