On-road test for fuelish drivers

2013-03-13 11:03

DETROIT, Michigan - A new San Francisco company, Automatic, wants to capitalise on vehicle-smartphone connectivity by creating a device to grade and assist drivers. A good idea, considering the rising cost of in-car satnav.

It will, apparently, be capable more than just guiding you in the (sometimes) right direction

The Detroit News says the company is taking orders for its Automatic Link which costs the equivalent of about R642. The device, used with an iPhone, will score drivers' fuel-saving driving, track road trips and key data such as fuel efficiency, and remember parking locations. It can also alert drivers to vehicle problems while not in the car.


Thejo Kote, chief executive and co-founder of Automatic, said: "Smartphones and the Internet have transformed our day-to-day lives but our cars and how we drive them have been left behind. We're focused on changing that.”

The device connects to vehicle's diagnostics port, available on cars sold in the US since 1996. A free iPhone app is needed and an Android app will debut later in 2013, according to the DetNews.

A US Department of Energy study said small adjustments to driving habits could reduce fuel consumption by as much as 35%.

Kote added: "We believe that smartphones can upgrade millions of cars and give drivers features only available now in high-end cars with expensive service plans.”