October 31, 2014 weblog
Drivebot aims to touch driver bases for safety, savings
Five Thailand-based engineers have developed a dongle device that serves as a fitness tracker for cars and have turned to Indiegogo to raise funds for bringing it forward. The attraction is that it is a simple device that appears to cover all the fundamental bases for non-expert drivers who need to know how to drive efficiently and safely.
"Drivebot will monitor your car's health and alert whenever there's a problem with your car. As a result, you can save the repair cost more than ten times before the problem becomes more severe," the creators said. You plug in the device to the OBD-II port, pair it with your smartphone via Bluetooth, and you're driving with Drivebot as a supportive information partner. The Drivebot pairs with a companion smartphone app (available for iOS7 or later, or Android 4.0 or later). The device shuts itself off when you are not driving. The team noted that "Drivebot works with OBD-II compatible cars which are most cars sold in US since 1996. However, some car models might not support some of our features e.g. fuel consumption." The Drivebot team also provides simple steps on "How to know whether your car is compatible with Drivebot or not."
Drivebot's range of information involves mechanical trouble alerts, trip logs, route advice, and business-expense tracking. Drivebot sends off alerts, such as "your engine seems wrong—engine oil cap is getting loose" and the app relays instructions on what the user can do. The driver gets maintenance reminders too, including tuneups when the car reaches a certain mileage, for tire changing and for checking brakes. The trip log feature was designed to help support drivers who not only need the data to track expenses but want to make future decisions that will save on gas. Route advice goes further into efficient driving habits, where Drivebot can be programmed to monitor driving routes and make recommendations and can suggest different routes to save time and money. Drivebot can tag business trips and export files to email for business-expense tracking. Drivebot's built-in flash storage can store roughly two months of trip data, and there is a low-battery voltage alarm.
The engineers are living by the motto, "You Can't Improve What You Can't Measure" in promoting Drivebot. Members of the team include an automotive engineer, computer engineers, and designer. A Drivebot goes for $75 with an estimated delivery date of April.
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