Automatic‘s app-enabled smart driving assistant is genius. The $99.95 accessory connects to the mobile app to not only give you driving feedback and crash alerts, but also help diagnose check engine codes and lots more – because “small changes in your driving behavior can lead to huge savings over time”.
And with the latest software update, every Automatic on the road has just became an iBeacon.
iBeacon, as you know, is Apple’s Bluetooth 4.0-based micro-positioning wireless standard. The new software opens the door to some pretty exciting possibilities, stuff like auto-payments for parking or gas fill-ups, for example…
An update to Automatic’s connected car system was delivered over-the-air and it includes the ability to turn any Automatic Link device into an iBeacon, allowing users to send and receive data from other sensors or devices in the vicinity.
Automatic explained it will use iBeacon technology to create a system that will make it easy for 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.
The company assured Android fans that whatever systems it creates around iBeacon will work with their devices, too.
If you’re not familiar with Automatic, check out this video.
Crash Alert is potentially a life-saving feature (US-only).
On the downside, because it requires an adequate GPS signal, connection to the Link and cellular data connection, should your Link hardware or iPhone gets damaged or disconnected by the crash, Crash Alert won’t be able to contact local authorities or emergency contacts in your address book.
Apple’s iBeacon tech has seen some novel uses in unlikely places.
In addition to grocery stores, trade shows and Apple retail stores, iBeacons are being used by Major League Baseball to enhance its MLB.com at the Park app and one company is even using these small transmitters to give bar patrons free access to Newsstand magazines and boost subscription sales.