In one of our previous posts about the connected car, we mentioned some apps and services that help users drive better. The introduction of mobile technologies in the field of vehicles and driving is something into which more and more companies are investing right now, including giants like Google and Apple, which are looking to introduce their operating systems into cars.
Some have described this type of apps as “FITBits for cars”, in the sense that they enable users to analyze how they drive and how they can improve their driving. In recent weeks two highly developed initiatives have been presented in this field: Dash and CloudYourCar. They both combine the potential of both the smartphone and the car.
Dash is an app created by Jamyn Edis and Brian Langel, and was part of one of the most prestigious accelerator startups in the world: Techstars. The application, only available on Android, collects through Bluetooth all the information generated by a small device attached to your car.
This device analyzes all the data related to your driving, and integrates them with the performance of the car and some other informations such as fuel consumed. This company is offering its own device, but its officers also state that you may use any other device on the market.
Dash monitors various aspects of the behavior of drivers —the routes used, the level of fuel used— and offers a range of additional services associated with your car: in case of accident, it sends an automatic SMS to your family or people previously designated, calls the emergency services of the police, warns you of possible deficiencies of your car and helps you finding a repair workshop nearby, etc. It also offers the possibility of sharing your routes and driving options with your friends, in an attempt to gamify this app so as to boost its acceptance among general users.
While Dash is aimed at the consumer market, CloudYourCar targets a quite different audience: medium and large companies with their own fleet of cars, or those that allow their employees to use their vehicles for commercial purposes.
This young German startup has participated in recent months in the Berlin Hardware Accelerator, the only accelerator in Germany devoted entirely to physical products rather than software. As with Dash, its creators have developed an app that analyzes and manages all the information collected by a small device that is attached to the cigarette lighter.
This device provides connectivity by its own and on the other hand incorporates an accelerometer and a gyroscope. This means that its capacity is way much higher than that of the competition, in part because we are dealing here with a device designed on purpose to meet the needs of CloudYourCar. Through it, any supervisor can see how his or her employees have used the company cars in recent days, which routes they have traveled, how much fuel they have consumed, etc. This is, in theory, a great advantage for companies that so far had no way to get this information.
Similarly to Dash, in this case an iOS App collects all the information provided by the device and screens a very visual presentation so it can be interpreted by any user. From the company, they say that Dash is aimed at the corporate market, but a more mainstream audience will be a strong option for the near future.
CloudYourCar is not available at all for the time being, but the company plans to launch both its device and its app in the weeks to come. The accessory will cost $129, and the app will be totally free.
2014: the year of the connected car?
At the post where we reviewed the main trends of CES, we dared to anticipate that 2014 would be the year of connected cars. That is one area in which two big battles will be held. On the one hand, you will have the fight between the giants of the likes of Google and Apple in their attempt to introduce their respective OS in the cars of the future; on the other hand, you will see different efforts to measure the driving behavior of road users. Dash and CloudYourCar are two initiatives in this regard. Despite targeting different audiences, they are both intended to measure everything we do behind the wheel to help us improve our driving.