Automatic smart driving monitor now connects your car to over 20 apps
Today, Automatic launches its new App Gallery of third-party apps and rolls out the second-generation of its OBD-II adapter.
Antuan GoodwinReviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
ExpertiseReviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainmentCredentials
North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Two years ago, the Automatic smart driving monitor launched as a sort of "fitbit for cars," connecting on-board diagnostic (OBD) technology to the Web to present driving data in a way that almost anyone can understand. Today, Automatic launches its Automatic App Gallery, a sort of app store for cars with over 20 apps that work with Automatic's hardware, alongside a new developer platform and second-generation hardware.
Third-party app integration is not exactly new to Automatic. The smart driving monitor already boasts integration with a handful of apps and services including Nest home automation and IFTTT. The App Gallery is a collection where all current and future Automatic compatible apps will be listed to aid in user discovery.
With the launch of the gallery comes a deluge of new compatible apps. There are nine apps for business, including Expensify, Hustlebox, and Concur, that pull trip data from Automatic to automatically generate mileage reports for easier trip deductions and expense reporting. Jawbone and RescueTime app allow drivers to keep track of how much time they spend behind the wheel along with the rest of their activity data.
Unmooch, an app that allows users to easily split the cost of carpooling, was one of the most interesting apps demonstrated during Automatic's visit to CNET's San Francisco offices. Unmooch pulls in Automatic's trip cost data and allows the driver to quickly split the dollar amount between passengers, who can pay with Venmo.
Along with the new gallery of apps, Automatic is also launching a developer platform that allows developers build even more apps that leverage the automatic hardware and the data it gathers. Developers can access events, travel data, or trip logs to build apps like License+ that monitors the habits of new drivers or YourMechanic which automatically sends maintenance issues to a local professional mechanic.
All current, first-generation Automatic hardware is compatible with the new App Gallery software. However, the Automatic developer platform also includes a new streaming SDK that will require new, second-generation Automatic hardware. The new hardware is able to send raw, real-time performance data to select third-party apps over Bluetooth. Apps that use this streaming SDK will receive encrypted data and will only be able to read what Automatic reads (and won't be able to write to the vehicle's CAN-BUS), which Automatic figures makes its Bluetooth link safer and more hack-proof than the plethora of Bluetooth-to-OBD adapters currently available.
The streaming SDK is currently in private beta and only accessible by approved developers. At launch, OBD Fusion and Dash Command -- drive-data monitoring apps -- and Harry's Lap Timer -- a race video recorder that overlays driving data -- will be supported. The second-generation Automatic adapter will retail for the same $99.95 retail price as the first-gen.
Automatic also recently announced Apple Watch and Pebble integration, allowing drivers to quickly recall where they parked their Automatic-equipped car. Android Auto integration in the works, but Automatic's representatives were unable to comment on when we'd see it.