Automatic Labs Automatic

The Good Automatic Labs' Automatic "smart driving assistant" is extremely simple to set up and use, even for the car-clueless. The app logs fuel efficiency, trip costs, and driving habits for later browsing. Audible alerts coach without distracting the driver. Parking places are automatically GPS-tagged.

The Bad At just shy of $100, Automatic is at the top end of the OBD reader and app price range. Lack of advanced or real-time readouts will deter car nerds. Android compatibilty was unavailable at time of testing.

The Bottom Line The Automatic driving assistant helps drivers who know nothing about cars to monitor and boost their fuel efficiency with plug-and-play ease and a simple interface that even laymen can understand.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 10.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 9.0
8.7 Overall

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Automatic Labs Automatic
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Design
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Features
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Performance
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Review

Driving assistant is like Nike FuelBand for your car

What does it actually do?
Automatic Labs' Automatic and its companion smartphone app are intended to make monitoring your vehicle's performance as simple as monitoring your personal performance with a Fitbit or a Nike FuelBand. As you drive, the Automatic sensor -- which plugs into your vehicle's diagnostics port -- monitors your fuel economy, acceleration, deceleration, and speed. At the end of each trip week, Automatic compiles all of this data via the app and assigns a driving score. At the end of each trip, the app also compares your fuel economy with the EPA's estimated values for your particular vehicle and lets you know how much the trip cost you using real-time fuel prices downloaded via your smartphone's data connection.

Meanwhile, the app is also tracking and logging your GPS position, taking advantage of your phone's A-GPS sensor, and can show you past trips and routes on a map to let you know where you've been and how you got there. (This can be useful for helping drivers learn their driving habits and in planning future trips.) At the end of each trip, Automatic also automatically logs the GPS position of your parked car so you can navigate back to your ride.

If your car throws a Check Engine light, with the Automatic app you can download the trouble code that caused the light to illuminate and cause an automatic search of an online database to explain what that code means and whether you should see a mechanic. In the event that the code was caused by something simple, such as a missing fuel cap, Automatic will also allow the user to clear the code and the Check Engine light.

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