Automotive Connected Objects

SafeNet helps keep you and your family safe on the road

The car monitoring services offered by some car companies are useful, though they typically tend to be costly and can’t always be always be used with every car.

SafeNet aims to remedy this with a simple solution. SafeNet is a portable tracking and monitoring system that simply plugs into a car’s accessory jack. Once plugged in, it allows users to track, monitor and communicate with their vehicle. SafeNet is a small, square device that can be placed anywhere in a car where cellular reception is available. With no additional fees, SafeNet will even alert users when a car has been taken out for a spin by an adventurous teenager or an elderly parent. The device can even alert users when their car is being driven too fast. What’s more, if the car is an accident, SafeNet will automatically contact individuals on an emergency contact list. A 3G version of the device with just data costs $214. A 3G version with data and voice functionality is just an extra $5. While a 2G version is available for $199, the device’s maker recommends that U.S. based customers spring for the 3G model. The device is slated to ship in May provided it can raise $130,000 by May 3.

SafeNet holds promise as it features functionality that not all on board diagnostics (OBD) devices offer. For example, unlike Truvolo, SafeNet doesn’t require an app. Further, SafeNet offers users free access to its SkyNet service which hosts free online mapping software on its website. As an aside, the SkyNet name might not have been the greatest choice considering its association with the villainous intelligence system from the Terminator films.


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.