Comments Off on Tech: Automatic Car Dongle version 2 Released
Today, alongside all the other 3rd party apps, Automatic now supports three of the top real-time data apps for iPhone and iPad: DashCommand, Harry’s LapTimer, and OBD Fusion. (Android support coming soon.)
To do this we had to build a 2nd generation Automatic car adapter that supports dual Bluetooth data streams: one to the Automatic mobile app and one to a third-party app. This allows both apps to receive data from the adapter simultaneously over an encrypted Bluetooth connection.
The 2nd generation adapter also features built-in GPS, Made for iPhone (MFi) certification, and an improved connector to fit better in more cars.
Without question, what we’re most excited about from this new adapter is the streaming apps available today and all the new ones coming soon. You can find the new adapter online or in these retailers.
I wrote a highly critical blog post in March most notably around a few areas, Reliability of the Adapter, Lack of new features since I bought in 2 years ago and overall bugginess of the application or dongle.
A few things have transpired almost immediately after that post was written.
First, Automatic claims their version 2 dongle is far more reliable than the previous version. It has Bluetooth 4.0 and works not only with the Automatic iOS app but with other OBDII applications that measure car stats. The Automatic also now has built in GPS as a hardware feature so when it doesn’t connect to my iPhone at start, I won’t lose a logged trip which is a great feature when a friend borrows my car of the techs at my mechanic take it out for a joy-ride (which might happen today as I’m getting some work done).
The Automatic iOS app now also has Apple Watch support which is a minuscule feature request but a very welcome one with features such as car location and most recent trips.
This covers most of the things I wanted. There is still the issue of my driving rating being much lower. I drove 5 miles in the last 7 days and my score is already 50/100 because I spent 1 minute going over 70MPH. I hope that gets customization in the future.
The final thing mentioned above is support for all kinds of mobile phone applications. I’ve already spent $10 on Dash Command and OBD Fusion which delivers a ton of great real-time stats on my car without needing a separate dongle.
There are other features like low-fuel warning at a certain limit which is nice as up here in the woods, when the E sign comes on, I’m usually way further than 30 miles from a gas-station. There’s also an automatic mechanic find application that helps me get someone quickly and it notifies them of the error codes in my car before I call them. That’s not a huge draw as I have VAG-Com / VCDS for my Volkswagen that reports errors on my PC.
Finally, the redesigned web-dashboard is incredible. It has my full Automatic driving history, it’s interactive and allows exporting of my data. Very awesome!
I’ve ordered the new v2 Automatic Dongle and fully expect the promised functionalities and reliability improvements to work themselves out. When my Apple Watch arrives any-day now, I look forward to utilizing the functionality there as well.
Great job Automatic on a 1 quarter huge turnaround. It’s going to be a great year.