Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

Review of the the Automatic Link Vehicle OBD Device

I ordered the Automatic Link (http://www.automatic.com/) device some months ago and received mine a few days ago. This is a neat little device that plugs into the OBD (Onboard Diagnostics Port) of your vehicle and communicates via Bluetooth with an iPhone app. The Link receives engine and other data available depending on your model of vehicle. The app will collect and analyze that data and has the advantage of the iPhone sensors and GPS being able to collect position, acceleration and other useful pieces of data to correlate and provide information about both your vehicle and your driving habits. The app displays miles driven, MPG, estimated fuel cost and notes when it believes that you are accelerating too quickly, braking too hard and other factors that are informative. It will also flag on the displayed map where it raised alerts. It does raise awareness of what your drive time (such as commute) is actually costing. One interesting question that is raised by this is whether or not the data collected could/would be made available to insurance companies, law enforcement or other entities. In any case I do find it both interesting and useful. My commute to work is always made worse by the start of the school year so next week should cause a noticeable increase in my drive time and associated fuel costs.

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