Automatic Connected Car System Update Adds iBeacon Functionality

by

The Automatic connected car system today received an over-the-air update that allows users to turn their Automatic Link hardware devices into iBeacons, reports TechCrunch. As iBeacons, Automatic devices let users transmit to or receive information from other sensors or devices in the vicinity.

automatic-reader
First introduced in March of 2013, the Automatic hardware plugs into a car's onboard diagnostics (OBD) port and provides detailed data on driving habits and mileage within the Automatic app.

With the addition of iBeacon technology, Automatic could be a far more functional device in the future. While the iBeacon addition has no use at the present time, Automatic co-founder Thejo Kote says that it could be used to enable car-specific applications with a host of potential partners.

Applying iBeacon technology to a vehicle could make it easier for people to pay for things like parking, or gas fill ups, for instance — making the experience much better than it is today.

For right now, those types of applications are still theoretical, but Automatic is interested in seeing where it could go.

iBeacons, which have been growing in popularity over the last several months, use Bluetooth 4.0 to transmit data to nearby devices. This technology has been used within Apple Retail Stores to provide additional information on products, among other things.

In addition to iBeacon support for the Automatic hardware, the Automatic app was also updated today, adding event recording for external APIs and a number of bug fixes and improvements to the software.

Automatic can be purchased from the Automatic website for $99.95. The accompanying Automatic app is a free download from the App Store. [Direct Link]

Top Rated Comments

blackboxxx Avatar
91 months ago
This device would be much more appealing if it didn't upload all your vehicle details and location to the cloud (see their privacy policy, https://www.automatic.com/legal/#privacy) where NSA captures it and ingests into its massive databases (see recent Snowden revelations, https://www.macrumors.com/2014/01/27/nsa-servers-collect-personal-data-sent-by-iphone-apps/).

Now with iBeacon they get even more opportunities to track your car.

Thanks, but no thanks.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ThunderSkunk Avatar
91 months ago
The more and more prevalent and all-encompassing electronics get, the more and more I'm appreciating aspects of my life that they're completely absent from.

Riding my racing bicycles w/o computers
Driving this old 55 Jaguar, a simple analog/mechanical machine, tunable by ear
Paddling my '37 Old Town canoe, no place for electronics whatsoever
Snowshoeing, Skiing, Swimming
etc etc etc

Feels good and free to leave the phone/camera/leash behind and just immerse yourself in the pleasure of the senses doing the thing.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BellsWhistles Avatar
91 months ago

then why did you buy it? I'm a pre-order owner as well, and it does *exactly* what it said it would do -- alert me to poor fuel-effeciency driving habits. and offer check-engine light decoding, and parking features. but if i didn't want the efficiency alerts, i could just, you know...turn them off. doh!

sounds like the problem is between steering wheel and chair...[COLOR="#808080"]


Actually, when the unit was first projected the tracking habits was NOT part of the description (original presentation I refer to was 03/12/13 when I ordered) That was added later, just prior to it being released. After they had delayed it for the 2nd time and further tweaked the outcome. When it was finally connected and I determined that it was indeed dialing home to send that data, is when I changed my opinion of the product. I did not misinterpret what it was originally presented as. Even if the efficiency was presented as a feature at some point, the data collection was not disclosed until the product was in had.

I am not sure why "sounds like the problem is between steering wheel and chair..." comment. Other than taking a juvenile stab at my comprehension level. I understand what the device is capable of. Do I trust my wishes will be honored, No. Naivety is a poor excuse in hindsight. It's an invasive product. Just one man's opinion.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BellsWhistles Avatar
91 months ago
Misjudged the product when I bought it...

This device would be much more appealing if it didn't upload all your vehicle details and location to the cloud (see their privacy policy, https://www.automatic.com/legal/#privacy) where NSA captures it and ingests into its massive databases (see recent Snowden revelations, https://www.macrumors.com/2014/01/27/nsa-servers-collect-personal-data-sent-by-iphone-apps/).

Now with iBeacon they get even more opportunities to track your car.

Thanks, but no thanks.



I purchased this when it was a concept piece. I waited for it to arrive for almost a year. Once I had it, and had access to the iPhone app, the software had evolved in a direction I did not want it to go. It has the potential for spying on you AND your driving habits. This is not something I was looking for when I purchased the "simple" product. I do not need a driving Nanny!! Nor do I need my driving habits to be pooled by any company for future scrutiny, all outside of my control. F* that concept.
Needless to say, I spent about $75 for this gizmo and will NEVER put it in my vehicle ever again.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ipmasta Avatar
91 months ago
Price of Automatic

$100??

$100 does seem like a bit - however I have one (I paid $70 because I funded it on kickstarted). It will read your check engine light and tell you what it means (The handheld computers that do this can easily cost $100 alone) and when you look at the other features like it uses the gps in your phone to tell you where your parked your car (If your like me and forgetful about those things) as well as alert you when you are heavy on the gas/break/and speeding. Which ultimately can save you money on gas. I like that it keeps a log of my trips and estimates my fuel economy and rates my driving. However I had to disable the sound for speeding since I often go 60 in a 55 which gets to be annoying after a while. Also since I am self employed its comes in handy if I forget to run my normal mileage log app and then can reference back to the automatic app to figure up mileage for tax purposes. To me its well worth it and I plan on buy one for my other vehicle as well.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nuckinfutz Avatar
91 months ago

Applying iBeacon technology to a vehicle could make it easier for people to pay for things like parking, or gas fill ups, for instance -- making the experience much better than it is today.


Because sliding my card into the pump station is so incredibly difficult? I've got to get out of my car regardless (unless i'm in Oregon :p)

1. I'm not paying $100 for a car trinket that provides "me" little utility

2. I'm not confident that this startup has any real vision. They do have good design style.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16inchmacbookpromain

Kuo: New MacBook Pro Models to Feature Flat-Edged Design, MagSafe, No Touch Bar and More Ports

Thursday January 14, 2021 9:32 pm PST by
Apple is working on two new MacBook Pro models that will feature significant design changes, well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a note to investors that was obtained by MacRumors. According to Kuo, Apple is developing two models in 14 and 16-inch size options. The new MacBook Pro machines will feature a flat-edged design, which Kuo describes as "similar to the iPhone 12" ...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
foldable iPhone concept feature

Apple Testing In-Display Fingerprint Sensor for iPhone 13, Foldable iPhone Also in the Works

Friday January 15, 2021 1:46 pm PST by
Apple has started "early work" on an iPhone that has a foldable display, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Though testing of a foldable iPhone has begun, Apple has not committed to releasing a device that has a foldable display. Development has not yet expanded beyond a display and Apple does not have full foldable iPhone prototypes in its labs. Like foldable...
Apple TV Ray Light 2 Triad

Apple Extends Free Apple TV+ Trials Until July

Friday January 15, 2021 10:50 am PST by
Apple is once again planning to extend its free Apple TV+ trial subscriptions, this time until July. When Apple TV+ launched in November 2019, Apple offered free Apple TV+ subscriptions to those who purchased a new Apple device in or after September 2019. Those free subscriptions were set to expire in November 2020, but in October 2020, Apple announced that it was extending free trials...
macbook pro 16 inch thunderbolt

Bloomberg: Next-Generation MacBook Pro to Offer Improved Displays, Faster Charging Over MagSafe

Thursday January 14, 2021 11:36 pm PST by
Following today's report from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlining major changes for the next-generation MacBook Pro models coming in the third quarter of this year, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman has weighed in with his own report corroborating some of the details but seemingly differing a bit on others. First, Gurman shares more details on the return of MagSafe charging to the MacBook Pro, indicating...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
pat gelsinger intel

Incoming Intel CEO Derides Company's Inability to 'Deliver Better Products' Than Apple's M1 Chip

Friday January 15, 2021 6:17 am PST by
Incoming Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger has said that the company must "deliver better products" than Apple, which he described as a "lifestyle company," and says that Intel's best days are "in front of it" (via The Oregonian). Speaking at an Intel all-hands meeting yesterday, Gelsinger derisively implied that Apple is merely a "lifestyle company," so Intel must be able to surpass its technology: ...
mac pro mini feature

Apple Working on Two New Mac Pro Desktops, One of Which Will Be Reminiscent of Power Mac G4 Cube

Friday January 15, 2021 10:23 am PST by
Apple is developing two versions of the Mac Pro to succeed the Mac Pro that was first released in December 2019, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The first updated Mac Pro is a direct successor to the current Mac Pro and it will use the same design. It may also be equipped with Intel processors rather than Apple silicon chips, and it could be one of the sole machines in the Mac...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...