I’m testing a gadget that’s right in line with all of the talk about using the big stream of data that is generated during our lives to give us valuable information. This little white plastic gizmo, about 2 1/2″ long, plugs into your car’s computer slot, down below your left leg, lower dashboard. The Automatic It’s called Automatic, it calculcates your car’s engine speed, temperature and location, and what time you parked your car where. Despite the notion that this just slipped the towel off your last shred of privacy, the Automatic’s makers tout clever and useful nuggets of data that become available:
A map of where your car is parked when you need to find it in a large parking lot
A count of how many times you braked too hard, accelerated too briskly, or went over 70 mph. I’m sure Automatic could think of more numbers to measure but they stop at those three.
A map of where you went every single day of the month, with detailed maps.
An emergency text message programmed so in case your car crashes, it will send the messages to 3 designated phone numbers. It will also do what OnStar does and contact police.
So what’s it like to have every moment of your driving ready and served up, for anyone to scrutinize? Well, it makes you a better driver, for one, since I just don’t want to hear that shrill little tone, that comes with any infraction. Just the threat keeps you easy on the pedal and relaxed in your driving. That’s a plus! I think the map and parking locator will make many people happy, since these exasparbating events happen too frequently. Where IS my car?
So a result is that I am a slower driver. And I am reminded every time I look at this on my phone that gas really does add up, even a quick trip to Hadley is $1.75 or $2.50, it’s not free. If my check engine light goes on, then I’ll be in good hands here. The Automatic will provide a diagnoses of the codes that the car reports if I need it too.
This is a real time and money saver! The Automatic costs $99.