As a hardware and app combination, Automatic helps you keep tabs on fuel economy, speed, and other information needed to make more fuel-efficient decisions behind the wheel. It adds the “quantifiable self” movement to the automotive industry that has been popularized by wearables like the FitBit, Jawbone UP, and Nike FuelBand.
With the cost of gas averaging $3,000 a year, one would think that people would want to change their gas-guzzling driving behavior, and Automatic intends to make it happen. Drivers “are getting zero information about how they’re spending their money. They’re not getting any feedback,” said Automatic’s CEO and founder Thejo Kote to Wired in a recent interview.
Automatic works by plugging a dongle into the diagnostics port of a vehicle, which has been standard on every U.S. vehicle since 1996. This new hardware will send information from fuel economy data to check-engine-light information over Bluetooth to an app for the iPhone 4S and 5. With this previously unavailable information, drivers can find out how much a trip across town will cost, what their average speed is, and what lights on the dashboard mean.
Right now, the app is only available for iPhone, but this fall it will be available for Android phones. The hardware component of Automatic also notes when you park and turn off the ignition, dropping a pin on your GPS location into the app so you can find your car in a crowded parking lot with ease.
The Automatic is available for pre-order at $69.95 through the company’s website. All hardware is expected to ship by May, with the hopes that the device will make it to larger retailers later in the year.