Automotive
AutoBot transforms your smartphone into a translator for your car

The Premise. All modern automobiles come standard with a powerful diagnostic electronics system that handles the electronic functions of the vehicle and monitors the car’s performance. Getting to that data as an end user is not an easy task, however, and is often left to mechanics and auto shops to access.

The Product. The AutoBot is a simple device that can plug into a car via cigarette lighter or if the vehicle is manufactured after 2007, into the ODB-II diagnostic port on the car. While both outlets are supported, the cigarette lighter only offers simulated data compared to accurate readouts from the ODB-II port.  Because ODB ports are often inconveniently placed, the AutoBot comes with a long but unobtrusive cable, making the device ideal to set up. Once installed, the AutoBot delivers data to the Android or iOS, including GPS information for up to 60 days, suggestions on how to reduce fuel usage, and driving leaderboard data between friends.

The Pitch. The AutoBot team shows off the project through a series of modern, well-designed images, explaining the device’s functions and how it intends to bring “wearable tech” to the auto market. Questions not addressed in the campaign photos are likely found in the extensive FAQ section of the campaign. Only $10,000 is needed to bring the AutoBot to market, which is needed to distribute the device internationally and not just in China.

The Perks. Getting an AutoBot will take a pledge of $79, packed with both the app and the OBD II and USB cables. Higher tiers simply feature additional quantities. The AutoBot is expected to ship from China in August.

The Potential. As the Internet of Things continues to expand to every imaginable niche, it’s no surprise that now that market includes the car. Simpler diagnostic devices are available to the consumer especially thanks to the development of the OBD-II interface, but the AutoBot offers a more personal profile and advice, not just what drivers need to do to turn off the check engine light. It might not be something that every driver needs or even wants, but for those that treat their vehicles like their kin, keeping an AutoBot handy will help the driver/auto bonding process.