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Automatic 1.1 for Android launches with IFTTT integration and adjustable speed feedback

We’re working hard on the Automatic Android app and are excited to announce version 1.1, which includes two highly-requested features:

  • IFTTT integration
  • Adjustable speed feedback

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT, which stands for “if this then that,” is a simple service that lets you create powerful connections between triggers and actions on the internet, like automatically turning your house lights on when you park by your house, or emailing your mechanic if your check engine light comes on. Read more about IFTTT.

A great example of the power of IFTTT and Automatic is the simple case of grocery shopping.  We’ve all had the experience of getting home from a trip to the store, only to find out that our spouse or roommate needed something, but we didn’t know.  With IFTTT and Automatic, you can prevent this by setting up a trigger which will send out a text whenever you park your car near, for example, your favorite grocery store.  This gives them all the time they need to send you a request for that last-minute item.  Try it out yourself:

IFTTT Recipe: I'm at the grocery store, need anything? connects automatic to android-sms

Another good example is carpooling.  Let’s say you typically pick up your spouse, kids, or friends every day on your way home from work, but despite your best efforts, you occasionally end up running late, leaving your carpool passengers scratching their heads, not knowing when you’ll arrive. It’s cumbersome to have to pull out your phone to email everyone in your carpool letting them know you’ll be late, but with IFTTT and Automatic, you can simply set up a trigger which will automatically email them whenever you leave work.  This way they’ll always know exactly when you’re on your way!  Give it a try:

IFTTT Recipe: Let my carpool know when I leave work connects automatic to gmail

These IFTTT recipes and many more, are listed on our IFTTT Channel. Check them out!

Adjustable Speed Feedback

One of the most popular requests from our customer community was to let users adjust the speed at which Automatic warns you that you’re driving too fast. Some folks wanted to avoid speeding tickets in states with much higher speed limits, while others felt the optimum speed for their car is different than the pre-determined 70 MPH threshold.

Keep in mind that for now your drive score is still impacted by how much time you spend over 70 MPH, regardless of your custom speed alert threshold. We’re already working on an update to address this issue, so stay tuned. To get to the feature, click the Profile screen, then Audio Settings -> Speed Feedback -> Speed Threshold.  Note that this feature requires updated firmware.

We’re looking forward to delivering more features for Android users in the coming months. Stay tuned!

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Automatic for iPhone 2.1 with Connection Tone

We’ve been busy this summer building some really cool features. Until those are done, here’s a little update that helps you know when Automatic’s working, when it isn’t, and how to fix it.

Version 2.1 for iPhone introduces a new audio tone that plays at the start of each trip to let you know Automatic is connected and working properly.

If Automatic can’t connect within the first minute of your drive, it’ll play a different “disconnection” tone to let you know something’s wrong.

If this happens, in most cases simply launching the Automatic app will fix the problem. Otherwise, the new Connection Troubleshooting Guide in the app Settings → Connection screen will tell you what to do.

If you’d rather not hear these tones, you can disable them in Settings. You might want to do this to prevent the disconnected tone from playing when someone who doesn’t use Automatic drives your car.

We’ve been testing this feature with users for a few weeks and they really appreciate the quick reminder that everything is working properly at the start of a trip. We hope you do too.

NOTE: This feature requires the latest firmware (version 0.9.13), which will be updated while you drive. You will not see this feature in the app until firmware automatically updates. Learn more about firmware updates.

 

Join us and leave comments on this post in the Automatic Community.

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Car, Meet Home.

Automatic helps you drive smarter and safer. The Nest Learning Thermostat does the same for your home. Thanks to If This Then That (IFTTT), your car and home can now talk to each other and help you live smarter.

What can you do when your car can talk to your home?

There are dozens of ways you can connect your car and home — here a few to get you started. IFTTT Recipe: When I leave home, turn down my thermostat connects automatic to nest-thermostat

Automatic can automatically let your Nest thermostat know when you’ve left the house and turned on your car. Nest can then turn down your thermostat so not one cycle is wasted on an empty home. IFTTT Recipe: When I arrive home and turn off my car, turn my Nest thermostat up connects automatic to nest-thermostat


IFTTT Recipe: When I get home, run my HVAC fan for 15 minutes. connects automatic to nest-thermostat
IFTTT Recipe: When I leave work, turn my thermostat up connects automatic to nest-thermostat

When you’re on your way home from work after a long tiring day, how nice would it be to come back to a house at the perfect temperature? These recipes allow you to do just that when Automatic detects you’ve left work or when you park near your home. We would love to hear from you on how you want to connect your car and home – chat us on Twitter or Facebook and create your own IFTTT recipes! You can also read our IFTTT blog post for more ways you can connect your car to family, friends and home with dozens of other apps and services, like Evernote, Google Spreadsheets, or SMS text message. Drive on!

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Automatic 2.0 redesigned with low-fuel warnings, adjustable speed feedback

This is the biggest update to Automatic for iPhone since our launch last year, featuring an all new design, low-fuel warnings, and adjustable speed feedback.

Redesigned from the ground up

At Automatic, we focus on creating products that help people drive safer and smarter. The user experience always comes first, and a big part of that is the design of the user interface. The new UI in Automatic 2.0 is lighter, more modern, and gives us the flexibility to design new features we couldn’t otherwise. You’ll see small touches throughout the app that we hope will elevate the experience every time you use it.

Fuel level and low-fuel warnings

One of the many benefits of building our own hardware is that we can extend it with new capabilities over time. Starting today, users with supported cars will see their fuel level right in the iPhone app, along with an estimate of the miles left in the tank based on your driving habits.

Automatic will warn you with a push notification when you’re low on fuel. You can customize when you’re warned, say, at 1/4 of a tank, or at 50 miles to empty.

iOS 7 - Fuel Level
About half of the cars connected with Automatic don’t report their fuel level through the diagnostic port. Unfortunately, these cars don’t support this feature. There isn’t a clear pattern for which cars report their fuel level and which don’t, so please check to see if yours is supported.

In general, we focus on building features that all cars support, but felt this one was too important to ignore. We’re sorry if you’re one of the unlucky ones, but don’t worry, we’re working on lots of other cool stuff that everyone will be able to use.

Adjustable speed feedback

Our community is a great place for our customers to share their experiences with us and each other, and to tell us which features they’d like to see in Automatic. One of the most popular requests was to let users adjust the speed at which Automatic warns you that you’re driving too fast. Some folks wanted to avoid speeding tickets in states with much higher speed limits, while others felt the optimum speed for their car is different than the pre-determined 70 MPH threshold.

Not only is the threshold adjustable, we improved how you’re warned that you’re driving too fast. Now, you’ll only hear the chirp once when you cross the threshold. The chirp won’t repeat for the rest of the trip unless you dip below the threshold and cross it again.

Keep in mind that for now your drive score is still impacted by how much time you spend over 70 MPH, regardless of your custom speed threshold. We’re already working on an update to address this issue, so stay tuned.

We get a lot of inspiration for new features in our customer community, so drop us a line anytime to chat with members of our team and user community.

Drive on!

Download the latest from the App Store.

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Automatic for Android 1.0 launches to help you stay focused on the road and safe in a crash

We’re really excited to announce the 1.0 release of our Android app, which includes Crash Alert (beta), as well as an Android-exclusive “Do Not Disturb” feature that helps you stay focused on the road by silencing your phone when you drive.

Helping people drive safer is a big part of our mission. Crash Alert, now available for both iOS and Android, can detect serious crashes and notify local authorities with your location, even if you can’t. An Automatic agent will even stay on the line with you until help arrives and contact your loved ones to let them know what’s happened.

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Eyes On The Road

We all know we shouldn’t use our phones when we drive. It’s dangerous, and distracted driving causes over a million accidents every year. But when a message comes in, let’s be honest, it’s hard to resist.

Automatic on Android can take the temptation away by silencing incoming texts, notifications, and phone calls when you drive. It can even auto-reply to phone calls with a text message to let them know you’re driving.

Most importantly, you’re in control: Automatic doesn’t lock you out of the phone so you can always pick it up and see what you missed when it’s safe. And of course, you can disable the feature if you really want to.

Android Exclusive

Do Not Disturb is only available on Automatic for Android because of that platform’s special capabilities. We look forward to pushing what’s possible on Android to make driving safer.

You can download the Automatic Android app on Google Play now.

Drive On!

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Automatic and Jawbone team up to help you drive less and walk more

Most of us don’t get enough exercise, and driving as much as we do doesn’t help. In fact, nearly 80% of all drives are under two miles, short enough that every now and then you could walk instead. But how much closer to your fitness goals would this get you? To help you find out, Automatic and Jawbone have teamed up to give drivers insight into how their physical activity and driving patterns are connected.

The App

If you’ve got Automatic and a Jawbone UP band, your drives can now appear in the UP app along with your physical activity. Miss your target step count for the day? Maybe it was because you spent more time than usual in the car. Tap on a drive and see how many steps you could have logged if you’d walked instead.

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The Hardware

The Jawbone UP wristband helps you collect data about your physical activity, sleep, and wellness to learn about yourself. Automatic is a smart driving assistant that connects your car and phone wirelessly whenever you drive to provide feedback on your driving habits and car health.

The Integration

  • Automatic is automatic – Once UP & Automatic are connected, drive data is synced automatically with the Jawbone UP app.
  • Integrated travel – See your walking and driving in one place.
  • Share with friends – Automatic trip summaries can be shared with other Jawbone UP users.
  • Prevent road rage – Jawbone UP tracks your mood and diet. Compare this to the time spent in the car each day and routes traveled to see what makes you happiest.
  • iPhone and Android – The Automatic+Jawbone integration works on both iOS and Android

The Background

A prototype version of this app was built at the Clinton Foundation’s Code4Health Codeathon in Palm Springs, CA. A team of four built Walkoff, a connection between Automatic and Jawbone UP that displays how health and driving are connected. The judges, including Chelsea Clinton, awarded first place to this team.

The Automatic Jawbone UP app grew out of this codeathon project. View the winning team’s presentation.

“This is an exciting integration for us because it was developed at one of our Codeathon events in partnership with the Clinton Foundation, Tumblr, and Ace Hotel,” said Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone. “It demonstrates the ability of our app to easily connect and exchange information with a wide range of other apps and services that complement your UP experience. By integrating with Automatic, the UP community can better understand how the moments spent in the car might impact their health.”

Get the App

Jawbone UP users can add Automatic from the Jawbone App gallery. Don’t have an Automatic yet? Order online or at any U.S. Best Buy or Apple Store. Need a Jawbone UP? Compare Jawbone UP models.

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Automatic for Android 0.9 is Here!

We’re so happy to announce the official launch of Automatic for Android, version 0.9, live in the Google Play Store! A big thank you to the Alpha and Beta testers who helped us do it.

Automatic for Android behaves exactly as you’d expect, automatically, in the background, whenever you drive. Ensuring that the app behaves this way was a big challenge, especially because of the peculiarities of using Bluetooth across the wide range of Android devices. We can even support many more Android devices than we originally expected. Basically, if you have an Android phone running OS 4.0 or above, with Bluetooth and GPS support, Automatic should work great.

This release supports almost all of the features described on the home page:

  • Trip timeline with distance, MPG, route map, and trip fuel costs.

  • Weekly drive score, distance, MPG, and daily insight graphs.

  • Automatic parking spot tracking.

  • Notifications and explanations of what that “Check Engine” light means.

  • Clearing the check engine light from your phone.

  • Support for multi-car and multi-user.

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Crash Alert
Because Crash Alert is highly sensitive, we decided to take a little more time to put it together as carefully as possible. We expect to be ready with it by late spring, or early summer at the latest. In the meantime, feel free to download the app and give it a spin!

For questions or feedback, join us in the Customer Community.

Drive On!

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Automatic lets your car tweet, post to Facebook, and more: announcing the Automatic Channel on IFTTT

When we set out to create Automatic, it was because of the incredible potential we saw in connecting your car to the internet. Automatic uses that connection to track your trips, remember where you parked, tell you what’s wrong with your engine, and even call for help in a crash.

Today, we’re taking that connection to a whole new level: giving drivers the power to connect their cars to dozens of popular web services like Twitter, Facebook, and Dropbox. We’ve launched the Automatic Channel on IFTTT.

What is IFTTT?

IFTTT, which stands for “if this then that”, is a simple service that lets you create powerful connections between triggers and actions on the internet, like automatically turning your house lights on when you park by your house, or automatically letting your friends on Facebook know when you drive back home. Read more about IFTTT.

What can you do with Automatic and IFTTT?

The Automatic Channel on IFTTT exposes several very powerful triggers.  These include:

  • Ignition turned on
  • Ignition turned on in a specific area
  • Ignition turned off
  • Ignition turned off in a specific area
  • Check engine light turned on
  • Check engine light turned off
  • Trip completed

These triggers occur when you drive with Automatic. Telling IFTTT what you’d like to happen in response to these triggers is called a Recipe.

Here are a few Recipes we like:

IFTTT Recipe: Log all of my trips to a Google spreadsheet connects automatic to google-drive
IFTTT Recipe: Turn off my house lights when I leave home connects automatic to philips-hue
IFTTT Recipe: Text my significant other when I'm on my way home from work connects automatic to sms
IFTTT Recipe: Email my mechanic when the check engine light comes on connects automatic to gmail

Getting started with the Automatic Channel on IFTTT is easy – just click on any of the above Recipes and sign in with your Automatic account. You can also make your own Recipes for situations we haven’t thought of. We’d love to see what you come up with – don’t forget to share them with us.

As more channels are added to IFTTT, the things you can do with Automatic will grow too. Keep an eye on our IFTTT profile page where we’ll be featuring new and exciting Recipes as they become possible. Is it just us, or is the future here already!?

IFTTT  lets you connect your car to other internet-connected hardware devices:

IFTTT Recipe: When I get home, turn my house lights to party mode connects automatic to philips-hue

There are lots of creative things that you can do with the Automatic Channel on IFTTT with social media:

IFTTT Recipe: Call my spouse immediately if I park in front of a Nevada brothel connects automatic to phone-call

We can’t wait to see the Recipes you all come up with.

Drive on!

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The Hidden Costs of Aggressive Driving

One of the core concepts behind Automatic is that small changes to your driving habits can have a huge impact on fuel efficiency. A few weeks ago, we analyzed our users’ highway driving data and discovered that slowing down just a little could save hundreds on gas per year.

This week we follow up with another aggressive driving habit Automatic helps you with – hard accelerations: what they are and why they hurt your fuel efficiency.

What’s a hard acceleration?

At Automatic, we consider an acceleration “hard” if you speed up 7 MPH or more in one second, equivalent to going from 0 to 60 MPH in about 9 seconds. In most cars, you have to floor the gas pedal to do this.

Your car usually tries to maintain the most efficient ratio of air and fuel in the engine to deliver high fuel economy. But if you hit pedal to the metal, even efficient cars interpret that as a demand for maximum power. Your car chucks that efficient air-fuel ratio out the window and dumps fuel into the engine. Your engine RPM spikes and you feel a surge of power– but you end up burning much more gas than you’d need to reach the same speed more gradually.

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Why does it matter?

How hard you accelerate is especially important for city driving. Unlike highway driving, which is usually pretty steady, city driving requires frequent speeding up and slowing down.

You can see this in a plot of speed over time for one of my recent morning commutes through San Francisco. I traveled nearly half the total distance accelerating. For this kind of driving, accelerating gently has a huge impact on fuel economy.

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By comparison, here’s the plot of trip I took from the suburbs, over the freeway, back to San Francisco.

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On that trip, 90% of the distance was covered on the highway, so my choice of highway speed had the largest impact on fuel efficiency.

So how bad is hard accelerating?

The image below shows how the MPGs vary for a BMW 328i at different speeds and accelerations. Red areas are extremely inefficient.

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Based on aggregate fuel consumption data from dozens of 2009-2013 BMW 328is.

In the last post we explored the effect of speed on fuel efficiency (spoiler: driving over 70 MPH is really inefficient). But no matter your speed, accelerating hard wastes a lot of gas.

Deciding exactly how fast to accelerate is a matter of personal choice, but it’s amazing how inefficient it is to slam on the gas. So if you want to save some money, listen when Automatic chirps and lighten up on the pedal!

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Every Automatic on the road just became an iBeacon

We’re happy to announce that we recently deployed an over-the-air firmware update to all our users, enabling Apple’s new iBeacon technology in Automatic.

What is iBeacon?

iBeacon is Apple’s Bluetooth Low Energy wireless standard that allows apps on your iPhone to recognize that you’re near a special wireless transmitter, called a beacon. The beacon and app can exchange information even when the phone is locked. Last week’s firmware update turned Automatic into a beacon, making Automatic the largest iBeacon deployment in the world!

What does this mean for Automatic users?

In the short term, iBeacon improves the connection between your iPhone and Automatic at the start of a drive, helping to make trip capture even more reliable. Beyond that, we’re building a system for our users to securely identify themselves and their cars to the various automotive service providers they encounter. Say you’re leaving a parking garage and instead of stopping to pay an attendant with your credit card, Automatic wirelessly signals the gate that you’re there using iBeacon, deducts the necessary funds from a credit card linked to your Automatic account, and opens the gate. The same system could work for toll booths, repair shops, parking meters, car washes, gas stations, and so on.

ibeaconA lot of people are talking about iBeacon as a way for stores to push special offers to your iPhone as you walk in. Our implementation is nothing like this since Automatic users own both the beacon (the Automatic Link) and the app.

Finally, iBeacon on Automatic is currently iOS-only, but Android users rest assured. Whatever we build with iBeacon we promise to build for you too, using different technology. Get in touch about partnering with Automatic at partnerships@automatic.com.