|Automatic uses vehicle data from the OBD port to report on driving performance. Click to enlarge.|
Automatic Labs and Ford Motor Company announced a joint experimental collaboration to improve the driving experience for Ford & Lincoln vehicle owners. Together, the companies will test and develop new features that provide enhanced capabilities enabling drivers to opt-in to provide data from their vehicle and then use that information to be smarter, safer drivers.
Automatic provides a widget that plugs into the OBD port and uses a car’s onboard computer and the driver’s smartphone’s GPS and data plan (via Bluetooth) to upgrade the car’s capabilities. For example, Automatic learns about a driver’s driving style and provides subtle audio cues when a driver does things that waste gas, such as:
Rough Braking. Braking abruptly decreases fuel efficiency and dramatically increases wear-and-tear on your car’s brake pads.
Speeding. Highway speeding may not save you much time, but driving 10 mph over the speed limit reduces fuel efficiency by 12-15%.
Rapid Acceleration. Stepping hard on the gas pedal decreases fuel efficiency and wastes money.
Automatic shows how a driver is doing on every trip. It also scores driving every week to help the driver improve.
The Automatic app can display detailed info about a week, such as drive distance and destinations. The app will display actual mpg for all trips; detect fill-ups; and track local gas prices.
Using its built-in accelerometer, Automatic can also detect many types of serious crashes. Agents from Automatic report the situation to local authorities to get you help in an emergency.
Automatic also shows what Engine Trouble Codes mean and in many cases offers possible solutions.
Finally, Automatic can help you locate your parked car.
In August, Automatic introduced the Web Dashboard, enabling drivers to explore the data behind their drives with Automatic. The Dashboard lets a driver dig deeper and spot trends to learn more about driving habits.
Ford SYNC already allows drivers to make calls, listen to music and get directions with an optional navigation feature through the touch of a button on the steering wheel while keeping hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
While Automatic’s device has been available in Apple and Best Buy stores since last year, this is the first time the company has teamed up with an auto manufacturer to experiment with its in-vehicle entertainment and communications system.
Customers will be given the option to opt-in to Automatic.
Ford’s powerful in-car technology makes working with Ford highly valuable for us. Ford’s interface—coupled with Automatic’s connected services platform—enables us to bring customized one-touch applications to Ford drivers that go beyond the capabilities of either technology on its own.—Automatic CEO Thejo Kote
The first of several features available to drivers who use Automatic in supported Ford SYNC-equipped vehicles will make Apple’s Siri personal assistant application accessible on Apple iPhone through the push-to-talk button on the steering wheel. This means drivers will not have to reach for their iPhone while operating their vehicle, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
|The Automatic device. Click to enlarge.|
In addition, Automatic will provide greater convenience to drivers by connecting the push-to-talk button to the “Internet of Things,” enabling access to the popular If This Then That, or IFTTT, web service, which automates actions using the Internet.
This allows drivers to use the push-to-talk button to trigger an IFTTT recipe from among hundreds in the web service library. IFTTT recipes range from sending messages to remotely operating home appliances. Users will be able to create their own recipes as well. Automatic will launch additional connected-car enhancements in the coming months.
Ford is always looking for new ways, including working with other innovative companies, to improve our customers’ experience. Teaming up with Automatic was the natural choice given their connected car technology and focus on enhancing the driving experience.—Don Butler, executive director, Connected Vehicle and Services at Ford
Ford vehicles supported by Automatic’s technology include the 2011-2015 Ford Explorer, 2013-2015 Ford Flex, 2011-2014 Ford F-150, 2011-2015 Ford F-Series Super Duty and 2013-2015 Ford Taurus. Supported Lincoln vehicles include the 2013-2015 Lincoln MKS, 2013-2015 Lincoln MKT, 2011-2014 Lincoln MKX and the 2015 Lincoln Navigator. Ford and Automatic encourage drivers not to drive while distracted.
The new Ford Automatic integration will be available by downloading the latest version of the Automatic iOS app in coming weeks.