Ever wanted to start your car before you get in on a frosty morning? There'll soon be an app for that -- US company Mavizon Technologies is working on a system that will let you remotely control your car via a smart phone or computer.
The AutoBot system is based around a small device that attaches to the common OBD-II diagnostics port of your car. It syncs with a Web service, allowing you to control car functions and access vehicle information via a computer's Web browser or a smart-phone app.
AutoBot will let you remotely start your car, lock and unlock the doors, open and close the windows, and open up the boot (depending on the functions your car allows the OBD-II port to access). Useful for letting someone fetch something off the backseat without getting off your backside, or letting the hot air out on a summer's day. The potential for hilarious japes at the expense of unwitting passengers is also clear.
Perhaps more usefully, AutoBot will also allow you to locate your car if you've forgotten where you've parked it or somebody's stolen it. In the event your car has been purloined, you'll be able to automatically disable it. You can even set AutoBot to alert you if your car leaves a pre-defined area and send a message to the emergency services if you've just ploughed into a tree.
The system will also tell you when you need to change the car's oil and tyres, keep track of how many miles you've driven, and even give you tips on your driving style to reduce your fuel consumption. Marizon intends to allow you to share this information with its partners so you can get the best deal on whatever equipment or services are needed to keep your car in tip-top shape.
AutoBot will be officially launched at the CES 2011 tradeshow in January and should appear on the shelves of US retailers in 2012. Hopefully, it'll make it to the UK soon after. The system is expected to cost $300 (£190), but will be free of monthly charges if you're willing to let Marizon send you a few ads every month.