Driving Device Can Save Integrators Thousands?

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 10, 2014

You might have great employees in your security company, but they could be better drivers. A new device boasts it will save thousands by telling you how to do it right. Furthermore, it claims to be an easy plugin fit for most fleet vehicles.

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Comments (13)

According to UPS, and they operate a huge fleet, one of the best ways to save on trip time and gas is simply to plan your itiniraries to avoid left turns as much as possible.

This might seem challenging at first, but if you're already using GPS, it should be a relatively simple adjustment.

And there's no additional cost involved.

The check engine light decoder and crash notification alone is worth the cost of admission, everything else is gravy.

I actually have been using this since about September. Like Ari said up there, the check engine light was the main reason I bought it (I was in the pre-order almost a year ago, when it was $60).

I'm not sure if it's clear in their marketing or not, but the app doesn't update in real time. It updates when you turn the car off, at which point the phone downloads drive info from the device via Bluetooth. Alerts for hard braking and fast accel and >70mph speeds come from a beeper in the device itself.

I do find myself shamed into driving a bit slower using this. I look at the app periodically, to see what kind of gas mileage I'm getting, mostly. When I get that info that I'm only at an 80 drive score and that puts me in the bottom 13% of Automatic users, though, I back off the gas a bit, at least for awhile.

Oh and the parking locator has been really handy on at least two occasions.

Sounds like they're repackaging your basic Bluetooth OBDII adapter that can be had on DealExtreme for under $15, meaning you're paying $85 for their app. The free version of the Torque app will give you the same data, and more, and can track your fuel usage... so you're pretty much paying $85 for the "coach".

Oh yeah, and Torque displays all this in realtime.

Torque looks cool! Thanks for mentioning it.

I think it is fair to say Torque is more 'android' minded for the technical folks, as Automatic is more for the 'iPhone' crowd who are looking for a simple, polished interface.

Torque does look cool, and I'm a little jealous of some of those functions.

I think overall the package of Automatic's hardware, which they've already tested with my car model and year, and the simple app would win a lot of people over. I'd rather pay $85 for something guaranteed to work plug and play than spend a couple hours doing it myself.

By all means, if people want to play with these things in their spare time, the DIY route is viable. It's just not me.

There are some packages available for iPhone which look extremely similar to Torque. Most of them seem to use wifi OBD II adapters instead of bluetooth.

iPhone users generally have to use WiFi adapters because the BT support is crippled on iPhone (doesn't really work for much other than audio).

Keep in mind, too, Torque's target market is mainly performance tuners, making extensive use of the GPS receiver and phone's accelerometers. The tablet version has a plug-in that gives you an AR display overlaying the meters and a track map, on the camera's view (presumably out the windshield). While it certainly does work well for mileage tweaking, it's more oriented toward... shall we say, poor-fuel-efficiency endeavours :)

Torque is a fav app of mine when I do my drives to customers. Always trying to get better milage and drive nicer. Also lets you know that your car is up to operating tempature before you stomp on it and if it senses the air outside to be very cold it tells you it could be icy. I run a Wifi one because I use bluetooth for talking.

Don't want to sound like your mom, but talking on a cellphone while driving is not driving nicer. Lots of studies show even using hands free is like driving drunk. Rant off.

My phone works just fine using both Torque and a BT headset at the same time...

Just in case anyone's interested, Automatic sent out an email to users about integration with IFTTT (If This Then That) today. The details are here. A lot of it is more consumer (turning lights on, parking reminders, texting significant others), but some of the stuff seems generally useful, like logging of check engine codes, mileage, etc.

Automatic announced a Fleet service today, along with some other add-on apps. Real time location tracking, fuel cost estimates, notification of check engine and impact, etc. These features may make it quite a bit more useful to integrators with multiple vehicles.

Automatic announced a "Pro" model today, with free 3G service for 5 years, real time location, crash reporting and agent response, and a couple other features. $129 per adapter.

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