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Automatic instantly hones our driving skills

I am by no means a “car person.” I don’t understand cars, I don’t know how to maintain a car, and for almost one year after getting my license I didn’t even know how to open the back windows of my parents’ car. However, I just read about a very intriguing new tech company called Automatic that vows to help us all become better drivers.

I reached out and it turns out the founders are as gracious as they are innovative and I was able to chat with Product Officer Ljuba Miljkovic about the nifty new device that’s going to change driving forever.

So tell me what Automatic actually is.

We call it your “smart driving assistant.” It’s an iPhone/Android app that comes with a special piece of hardware you connect to your car to help you in four distinct ways: firstly, it gives you feedback about how you drive to improve your fuel efficiency. It gives you three distinct audio tones to tell you, in a very tactful way, whether you braked too hard, accelerated too fast, or are consistently going over 70 miles per hour.

It also lets you know exactly where you’re parked using the GPS coordinates in the system, and it decodes the check engine light for you so you know if your gas cap is loose or if your car is about to explode. You can also turn off the check engine light from your phone.

The fourth thing it does is detects whether the car has been in a collision, calls for help and then notifies your three pre-programmed emergency contacts to inform them of the scene of the accident.



What was the inspiration?

I met the other two founders, Thejo Kote and Jerry Jariyasunant, when we were all students at Berkeley and they were studying how people made decisions for transportation. I began to realize that we spend an average of eight thousand dollars every year on our car and three thousand on gas alone, but people had very little idea of where their money was going and why.

We started Automatic to really help people make informed decisions about their car and their driving habits.

So I pay $69.95 for the car’s hardware and the app. Am I the only one who can use it, even if I’m sharing my car?

No. You can invite people into your app, similarly to sharing a Google Doc, and whenever they use the car they can use the app. No matter how many people are using the car, their app will only show them the miles traveled while they’ve been driving. We are vigilant about our privacy policy—nobody can ever see anybody else’s records, no matter what.



How do I know if Automatic will work on my car?

Our goal is to be accessible to every car made past 1996. It’s occasionally tricky because the piece of the car we plug our link into was not originally made with this app in mind, which gives us some limits. We’re still figuring out how to get into electronic and diesel cars, and we’re still test-driving a few makes and models to ensure Automatic can reliably link up with them.

What’s next for Automatic?

We’re just working on feedback, testing cars and continuing our mission to be accessible to everybody. We’re hoping word of mouth will spread over this next year.

Our mission is to make driving awesome, and we’re focusing on doing just that.

Automatic sold out for two months in its first week as a public company thanks to an enthusiastic response. If you order now, your hardware won’t come until July, but if you ask me it seems like it’s worth the wait.

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Gabrielle Belavsky