Did you guys catch the launch of Automatic last week? Hat tip to Phil from BudgetSimple for clueing me in. One look at the promo video for the app and you’ll get pretty excited about the possibilities. I did. But I’m not as sold about it’s money-saving features.
Automatic Link Review
Automatic is being pitched as a way to help you save money on one of your biggest expenses: your fuel consumption. Automatic works by connecting your smart phone to your car’s computer. This is done using a link device that connects to a port under your dash and existing Bluetooth technology available on all smart phones. I never knew this port existed (apparently has been around since the 90s on many cars).
The Automatic app will tell you, among many other things, if you’re doing the kind of driving that will lead to greater fuel consumption and expense: like speeding, accelerating, and braking too fast. Duh, right? You don’t need an app to tell you to do that or bug you about it every 30 seconds. Besides, we all know the best ways to save on fuel consumption is to get a more fuel efficient car or move closer to work where you can walk more, take public transport, or ride a bike.
Automatic does have a gaming or scoring aspect to this feature. But I can’t see that being more than a novelty. Does that mean Automatic isn’t worth the one-time $69.95 price tag? I actually think the other features might make it worth it, and one might be able to save you a lot more too.
Automatic’s Other Features
- Crash Alert – The app will notify 911 and/or your designated contacts if you are in an accident.
- Check Engine Code Notification – When your check engine light comes on, Automatic will interpret the code and tell you what is wrong with your vehicle. I love this feature because it arms me with knowledge next time I take my car in to the mechanic. I can tell him what’s wrong from the outset and I don’t have to worry about him making something up (yes, I don’t have much trust in mechanics). Additionally, if the code is for something I could fix myself, then I don’t have to waste time or money taking the car into the shop.
- Location Notification – Finally, the app will always know where your car is located. Forget where you parked your car? Automatic will let you know where it’s at. There is also multi-driver support, so if you share a car, everyone always knows where the car is.
Here’s the Automatic promo video I was talking about:
The app will roll out in May for the iPhone and later in the year for other smart phones. If you can’t wait, you can actually achieve some of these same features with some other devices and apps on the market.
What do you think of Automatic? Will you be getting one?