Automotive Displays

Hudly HUD gives drivers a heads-up, even in bright daylight

Heads-up displays (HUDs) have become increasingly popular devices because they allow drivers to access valuable information and data without turning their eyes away from the road.

Hudly is a heads-up display that uses a mounted projector to access notifications, navigation and vehicle information including driving speed and gas levels. It projects the user’s smartphone content on the windshield, in his or her line of sight, and provides the ability to access favorite Android or iOS apps. Hudly works in any car that has either an On-board diagnostics (OBD)-II port or cigarette lighter adapter. The powerful projector is capable of 14,000 nits, allowing it to be viewable in even bright daylight, according to its makers. Hudly ships in January at future pricing of $299. But Indiegogo backers have been able to order one for a pledge starting at $199 for early birds. Its makers hope to raise $50,000 by Oct. 28.

The main challenge facing Hudly is that there are so many similar products, including the similar-sounding Hudway Glass. Features that might give Hudly an edge over at least certain rival devices is its optical glass combiner that its makers say makes the device’s image crisp. The special coating and curved lens improves optics and displays a virtual image size of 10.8 inches that appears as if it it’s 7 feet ahead of the driver. A potential negative is that Hudly is only compatible with a limited number of smartphones: iPhone 4+ and higher or Android OS 4.2 and higher.

Automotive Connected Objects

Carloudy guides your car’s way with a heads-up display

The advantage that heads-up displays (HUDs) have over tradiitional GPS devices is that, with HUDs, drivers can keep their eyes on the road while getting navigation and other useful information. But, unfortunately, it’s often just as difficult to see the information on a HUD as it is to make out the directions on a GPS device while driving in bright sunlight.

patent-claimedCarloudy resolves that issue by using E-Ink display technology –- the same technology that makes it easier to read on a traditional e-reader than it is to read on a tablet. Carloudy features a patent-pending design that makes it work fine whether it’s bright or dark out. When it’s night, the device’s ambient light sensor activates LED backlighting for the display. It connects automatically to Android and iOS mobile devices via Bluetooth.

Automotive Connected Objects Imaging

Waylens is the GoPro designed for how cars go

Some car enthusiasts would probably love to capture video footage of what’s happening around them on the road while driving –- especially while racing their vehicles.

Waylens is an action camera that, unlike the popular GoPro and other traditional action cams, was specifically designed to enable drivers to easily capture, edit and share video taken while they’re driving. The camera works in conjunction with a vehicle’s OBD-II on-board diagnostic system port and automatically turns on while driving. By plugging in to the information provided by the port, Waylens can display useful information to the driver while the camera end is capturing video, video that the campaign claims beats those of other action cameras. There’s also the option to overlay these measurements atop the video as we’ve seen from GPS-equipped action cams from Garmin.

Automotive Connected Objects

Exploride makes a clear case for a smart car display

editors-choiceThe OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) II port in all cars produced since 1996 has been tapped for the wide array of information it can yield about a car’s status and performance . Much of this information has been transferred to an app or a clunky tablet-like device on the dashboard.

Exploride, though, ties together input from the OBD II connector, your smartphone and even the good old car stereo (via Bluetooth) to create an ambitious and holistic smart car retrofit solution. The basic functionality includes tasks we’ve seen in many other in-vehicle systems, including control over phone calls, navigation and music. What really sets the product apart is its 6″ fold-down transparent display that also features a dash cam for good measure. While companies such as Garmin have experimented with heads-up displays, the car computer from the Maryland-based company has a much slicker, sleeker and colorful experience.

Automotive Connected Objects

Vinli brings apps, cellular connections to your ride

There have been several onboard diagnostics (OBD) devices for cars introduced already. Some have focused on a single main function. In the case of GoFar, for example, it was fuel efficiency.

Vinli seems a bit more ambitious, coming with a wide range of apps. It’s an OBD-II device that’s been designed to quickly transform any older vehicle into a smart car. The device adds Wi-Fi to a vehicle using T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, allowing the car to always be connected. Like other OBD-II devices, its maker is stressing how easy it is to set up, saying it takes only seconds to connect it to a car’s data port located under the dashboard. Drivers can then use the connection to stream media and send data.


Automotive Connected Objects

GoFar smart driving device keeps you in the fuel efficiency zone

Drivers typically spend thousands of dollars on fuel for their cars each year. And much of that money is wasted because of the amount of time spent in traffic and inefficient driving styles that don’t take into account each vehicle’s unique engine.

patent-claimedGoFar is a connected onboard diagnostics (OBD) device that can be easily installed by attaching a dongle to a vehicle’s computer using the car’s OBD-II port. The dongle gets attached to the device’s base unit — a small sleek enclosure of LED lights called the Ray — which is placed on the dashboard. When driving efficiently, the base unit glows blue, and, when not driving inefficiently, it glows red. The device then gets paired with an iOS (and later Android) app, which is used to keep track of fuel used, dollars spent on it, and other key driving data. The device cost $149 and will ship in November. Its maker set a Kickstarter goal of receiving $50,000 by June 2.

The device should appeal to a wide variety of consumers, including anybody who uses their car every day and environment-conscious people who want to reduce the size of their carbon footprints. The device faces competition from several OBD-II devices, including Automatic and Fuel Book, but offers enough unique features for it to stand out, including the stylish and useful design of the base unit.

Automotive Connected Objects

Fuel Book piles on the features to make your car a smarter ride

One of the biggest fears of drivers is running out of fuel in the middle of nowhere and not having any idea where the nearest gas station is.

patent-claimedFuel Book is a small, white plug-and-play on-board diagnostics device that alerts users when they are low on fuel and tells them where the nearest gas stations are. In conjunction with an Android, iOS and Windows Phone app, Fuel Book creates a smart environment through the diagnostic port of a car. The device costs $169 and will ship in November. Its maker is trying to raise $50,000 by June 21 to use towards production tooling, Bluetooth certification and large-scale production,

The device faces competition from several OBD-II devices, including Automatic. But Fuel Book has a few features that help it stand out from the pack, including park tracking that will enable users to find their car if they forgot where they left it in a huge parking lot.

Automotive Safety

Katasi Groove derails driving distractions, rewards focused driving with prizes

Driving while distracted happens to so many people more often than they’d like to admit. Our smartphones, although incredibly useful, can also be the reason why unfortunate and sometimes fatal accidents occur. This is the reason why phone manufacturers, along with third party companies, have attempted to offer solutions to the problem with different modes like ‘Do Not Disturb’ modes or in-car attachments.

The Katasi Groove is another one of those solutions, but this time it comes in the form of a unobtrusive dongle that attaches to a vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic II, or OBD II, port. When connected, the driver pairs it with a smartphone and whenever the Groove senses it in the car, it works with carriers to limit what kinds of data connections are maintained. This means that mail and text messages are stifled for the length of the car ride while things like Pandora and navigation are let through.

While other phone modes or devices are manually set up, the Katasi Groove works without user input making it easier to have a real impact on driving behavior. To incentivize safe, distraction-free driving, the Katasi Groove also metes out points, named Gruves, that stack up the longer the device recognizes a driver’s self-control. These points can be redeemed for gas, food, and even concert tickets. Should the campaign’s $50,000 goal be met, a one-year subscription to the service can be had for $150.

The Groove is a promising piece of technology, but one that, frankly, needs to be made standard in all vehicles rather than a piece of consumer technology. With the OBD II port’s sudden increase of options, choosing between this or something like the Drivebot won’t be much of a choice. Unfortunately, it’s been proven that people will always choose day to day money-saving functionality over safety.

Automotive Connected Objects

Freematics dishes driving data to developers

FreematicsWhat do you get when you cross the hobbyist Arduino platform with Bluetooth and  the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD-II) port found in every vehicle? Nobody really knows yet, but the developers of Freematics (a portmanteau of “free” and “telematics” aim to find out by opening up the combination to open source developers. One thing’s that certain is that the device can handle a lot of data about your car’s vital statistics such as its speed and engine RPMs. Turning that into something more meaningful for people will be left to developers who will be the main audience for the data collector. Freematics should be available in March 2014 to backers who pledge at least $89 AUD.

Automotive Connected Objects

Truvolo plugs in to vehicle diagnostics

The Premise. Technology is fabulous. Alas, we still do not have flying cars, but if we do you can bet they’ll be connected to our smartphones. In the meantime, car manufacturers are focused on connecting gravity-bound automobiles.

The Product. Truvolo is a small device which plugs into your car’s data port along with a smartphone app that collects data from the device and sends it to a secure cloud-based platform. The device, which plugs into a car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) connector can clue you in to problems, help optimize gas mileage, and send alerts for unsafe driving. Being connected, it also provides several car-related services such as regular maintenance reminders, alerts when it’s time to fill the gas tank, alternate routes when traffic is heavy and an organization system which helps account for trips for business and separate them from personal travels.

The Pitch. Jaideep Jain, co-founder and CEO lays out the need for Truvolo in a straightforward video in which he also explains that the project was inspired as his son approached legal driving age. He thinks of Truvolo as “the place to go for everything car-related.” He explains that Truvolo can help make you and a safer driver by providing feedback on driver performance in addition to location information. He claims that in the future, Truvolo will even be able to block texting while driving. Other than the video, the campaign on Indiegogo features a link to the various press Truvolo has garnered to date in addition to some partial screen shots of the app.

The Perks. This project has many, many reward tiers starting at $30 for the most basic level of support with a corresponding reward of a Truvolo tee and letter of thanks. The first 150 people to donate $89 can become either an “early bird” or “beta tester” of the Truvolo device and app, with beta testers receiving the product about two months in advance of other audiences. Other tiers escalate to increasing amounts of product and rewards which include dinner with the founders (transportation excluded) and for $6,000 you can even become a “development partner.” According to the posted project schedule, units will complete beta testing in May and start shipping to Indiegogo supporters in June 2014.

The Potential. While there’s no doubt in the potential for a new connected standard for future vehicles, the concrete benefits to a product like Truvolo remain somewhat unclear for now. Similar products like Zubie and Automatic are already available in the market and it’s difficult to see how Truvolo will differentiate itself. Most people already know how to be safer drivers — slow down, use caution, stop fully at stop signs, etc. But there’s something to be said for hard evidence. If Truvolo can’t leverage that to change driver behavior, it may be seen as just an expensive way to remind yourself to get an oil change.