Mobile phone app Automatic has leapt from iPhone to Android this week, aiming to make driving more efficient by using live engine diagnostics to educate motorists.
Some cars are equipped with guides to economical driving, some with emergency support at the touch of a button and some let you control various features with your smartphone when the vehicle isn’t even in sight.
‘Automatic’ will let you do all of these things, but only if you purchase the specialised universal diagnostics plug equipped with Bluetooth, currently priced just shy of US$100 (AU$108).
Once you’ve plugged it in, the system will sync your mobile phone with your car’s engine management system, allowing the app to monitor fuel usage and various sensors, depending on the model.
Users can set their phones to beep as a guide to when they’re wasting fuel, and the system can even alert emergency services automatically to your location if it senses danger.
A weekly ‘fuel score’ helps you keep track of your fuel usage, and the makers of Automatic claims it could potentially save the average driver hundreds of dollars each year.
Two features that you won’t necessarily find in cars are the diagnostic mode and parking reminder settings.
If and when your ‘Check Engine’ light illuminates, Automatic can tell you which sensor has sparked the warning.
In some instances, the user can make a simple adjustment and clear the warning code from the car themselves, saving the cost and inconvenience of visiting a mechanic.
The system can remember where you parked and guide you back to your car using GPS. Other family members can also use the app to find your car, if there is more than one regular driver.