Automatic's plug-in driving gizmo is like wearable tech for your car. Plug it into the diagnostic port beneath your car's steering wheel, and you'll be able to track mileage and maintenance needs on your phone over Bluetooth, or even trigger your smart-home devices to turn off and on as you come go.
Now, Automatic is back with the new and improved Automatic Pro. The pitch is the same as before, but the price has gone up 30 dollars, to $130. For the extra money, the device now includes a fee-free cellular connection that allows it to log your miles even when you don't have your phone on you.
Automatic also pitches the cellular connection as a means of beefing up the gadget's smart-home chops. The device already boasts integrations with Amazon's Alexa, the Nest Learning Thermostat and the free online automation service IFTTT. In those last two cases, Automatic can act as a trigger -- telling your Nest thermostat to shut the air off when you leave for work in the morning, or telling your smart lights to turn on when you arrive home at the end of the day. With an unlimited 3G connection, Automatic should be able to make those inter-device connections a little more reliably.
You'll also notice a newly refreshed Automatic app, available for both Android and iOS devices. It's largely a cosmetic overhaul, though Automatic is promising deeper controls for things like notifications and diagnostics, along with an improved Crash Alert feature that can automatically send alerts if the airbags ever deploy. You can also expect to see suggested IFTTT recipes built directly into the app, part of IFTTT's recent push for native third-party controls.
Automatic Pro is on sale starting today, and available online at Automatic's website and on Amazon, or in store at Best Buy. We'll be sure to test it out at the CNET Smart Home just as soon as we get our hands on one.