We founded Automatic on the belief that our cars weren’t living up to their potential. The way we see it, cars are very expensive computers on wheels. They’ve been like this for decades, and in that time the world of technology has transformed our lives, but not so much our cars. We hold the entire internet in our pockets now, so why is car ownership still stuck in the past?
Two years ago we introduced the Automatic adapter, a small device that plugs into just about any car built since 1996, and a mobile app that pairs with it to tackle some of the top needs of most drivers: decoding engine problems, helping you save money on gas, remembering where you parked, and even calling for help in a crash. The idea was to augment your car with your smartphone, and the response was amazing.
Drivers took to Automatic right away: people wanted their car to be a part of making life easier. What excited us even more was the sheer number of other ways they wanted Automatic to help them in their driving lives. We heard from many people who hated the tedious process of manually logging business trips and then submitting them into expensing software to get reimbursements. We heard from parents who were anxious about their teens just starting to drive. And we also heard from gear-heads who wanted access to real-time streams of raw data about their cars’ performance.
The opportunities to improve the car ownership experience were so broad and deep that we knew not to try to tackle them all on our own. There’s one way to do it right, a way everyone’s already familiar with: an app store, but for your car. And that’s exactly what we’re introducing today.
The Automatic App Gallery
The Automatic App Gallery features over twenty 3rd party apps for every kind of driver. Whether you expense your mileage for work, geek out over your car’s performance and driving stats, or just want your car to connect to the rest of your digital life, there’s an app for you – all powered by Automatic.
The first time you use any of these apps, they’ll ask your permission to access data from your Automatic account. If you want to allow that, just log in with your username and password. You are in complete control of which apps get access to your driving data.
Great apps are the key to unlocking your car’s potential. With so many apps in the Automatic App Gallery, we believe every driver will find something interesting, useful, or just plain fun.
2nd Generation Car Adapter & Real-time Streaming Apps
Our most requested feature has been a way to see a car’s raw performance data in real-time. We heard this loud and clear and have been working on it for over a year. The solution was to allow drivers to grant 3rd party apps access to the stream of data coming from the Automatic car adapter.
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.
The Automatic Developer Platform
Of course, an app store also needs great developer tools. And we’ve got those too. Starting today, anyone can build apps on the Automatic Developer Platform. It features rich APIs that give you access to all kinds of driving data:
- REST API for trip logs: mileage, routes, start/end location and times, and more
- Webhooks and Websockets for driving events: ignition on/off, check engine light status, and real-time location updates
- Data streaming SDK for iOS: get a real-time stream of speed, RPM, air intake, and data from many more sensors
We’ve even got libraries and SDKs for iOS, Android, Ruby, node.js, PHP and others; rich documentation and sample apps; and a Developer Apps Manager, which lets you register new applications, get API keys, manage your developer account, and submit apps to production. We asked ourselves what a great API for a car would look like and built one that works for every car on the road today. Developers, start your engines!
The Future of the Connected Car is Apps
The Automatic mobile app is the foundation of a great connected car experience, with features that are useful to almost everyone. But the key to personalizing that experience is for developers to build a range of apps for every need and lifestyle. Today, we’re making that possible. Join us for the ride.