Drone Mobile starts your engine, secures your car

Starting at $550
Drone Mobile CMS7000 controller unit
The primary Drone Mobile component is meant to be installed under the dashboard, hidden from sight. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Inexpensive GPS and data chips made possible a plethora of products in recent years that let you see your car's location on a smartphone app and even control various car functions. Most rely on the car's OBD-II port, a feature of cars from model year 1996 on. Drone Mobile's RSD-3AS kit, shown off during CES 2015, works with almost any vintage car, adding remote engine start and a number of security features.

The heart of the kit is the CMS7000 controller, a black plastic slab with ports down the side and a slot to plug in an iDataLink Blade AL component, a module that controls car functions such as locking and unlocking doors, and engine controller. Rather than plug into a car's OBD-II port, the CMS7000 connects directly to a car's wiring harness, making it compatible with a very wide range of vehicles. The CMS7000 unit is intended to be mounted out of sight, under the dashboard.

Along with the main controller, the kit includes a shock sensor and a cellular antenna, adding smartphone connectivity.

The kit's main feature, remote engine starting, can even work with carburetor cars due to the universal nature of the wiring. However, for cars such as these additional equipment needs to be installed to automatically control the choke. Any fuel-injected engine will be immediately compatible with Drone Mobile's kit.

Many security features become available with the shock sensor connected to the main control unit. The kit can shut down the engine if the shock sensor detects movement, foiling potential thieves, and send you an alert through the associated smartphone app. At any time, you can view the location of your car on the smartphone app, making it useful as a vehicle finder and a means of keeping track of the kids.

For cars with power door locks, the kit adds the ability to remotely lock and unlock doors, useful as both a convenience and security feature.

Wiring for the kit requires expert knowledge, so most buyers will have to rely on a professional installer. Drone Mobile offers the RSD-3AS kit for $549.99. In addition, the data plan, offered through Verizon, costs $49.99 per year. A premium data plan, which includes real-time vehicle tracking, costs $119.99 per year.

Drone Mobile kit
Drone Mobile offers its complete kit, including the main controller data antenna and shock sensor, for $549.99. Wayne Cunningham/CNET


Discuss Drone Mobile RSD-3AS remote start and security