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.