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
94 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
94 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
94 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
94 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
94 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
94 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)

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