With the amount of time I spend in my car driving kids to their various activities, a driving assistant sounds awfully nice. While technology hasn’t yet come up with a virtual driver to take over carpooling responsibilities, a system like the Automatic Driving Assistant can be a great way to keep track of your car’s health and your own driving habits for all the time you’re in your car, and even help you out should there be an accident.
Automatic Link is small accessory that you plug into your car’s data port (every car has one, don’t worry) to instantly transmit information about car health and your driving habits to your phones via the Automatic Link mobile app (iOS and Android). You subscribe to the service (awesome Father’s Day gift perhaps?) and instantly feel better every time you get in the car.
The device literally plug and play, and will start feeding information from inside your car to your smartphone as soon as you hit the road. For example, you’ll see whether you’re driving in a fuel-efficient way (it will emit audio cues if you’re not) or whether you may be having engine or maintenance issues. If so, it can even work with your GPS to help you find a nearby mechanic or service station.
This is so handy for someone like me who forgets to get the oil changed even with that ugly reminder sticker on my windshield. Plus I like the idea of potentially saving hundreds of dollars a year on gas by keeping my car in better shape and driving a little better.
Another neat feature is Automatic’s ability to locate where you’ve parked, for all those times you’re aimlessly wandering around the mall garage.We’ve all been there, it’s okay. Of course, there are free ways of doing that (hint: camera phone) so this isn’t the main selling point, but but it is a nice little bonus.
Probably the most important features though–the ones that make Automatic Link worth the $99 price tag–is the system’s built-in crash detection that alerts you and local authorities when it senses an accident. (Which hopefully will never happen, of course.) It also has a really handy phone silencing feature that activates when it detects motion– perfect for those of you with teens or itchy texting fingers.
My own kids are many years away from driving, thank the holy heavens, but if I did have teen drivers, I’d definitely want those safety features in place. Maybe by then, there will be such a thing as a virtual carpool driver too.
Automatic is available for $99 from their site, or at Best Buy and Apple stores. It works with nearly all gasoline-powered cars made since 1996. In other words, no electric cars or diesel; and some BMW owners are out of luck.