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If you've seen my other posts, you know I do a lot with the vehicle's electronic systems. I actually started hacking on that a few years ago with the idea of doing a startup product for personal vehicle tracking... something that combines ODB-II data with GPS and your cell phone.

Luckily, the market got there before I did so I could spend my time on something else. :D

There are two big players here, Automatic and Dash. I've tried both and greatly prefer Automatic, so I wanted to share a little bit about it.

Both of these systems use dongles that plug into your car's diagnostic port. They collect basic engine data from there, as well as provide some basic troubleshooting if there's a code thrown. They also integrate with your smartphone to get GPS data and combine both into telemetry data that is then uploaded to their site.

They each are giving feedback on driving efficiency, etc. as that was some of their initial market niche (expectedly so). Over time they'll both be augmenting into real-time traffic system, much like Waze, and providing feedback on your regular driving patterns and how to best optimize time and traffic (e.g. you normally drive US-40 to go to work, what if you went US-6 instead 15 minutes earlier, etc.).

One of the things they do is give you a year in review report, too. Which is fun. You can see mine at: https://dashboard.automatic.com/labs/year-in-review/index.html?share=Nki6nEtvx

Now - this is not a product for those who don't like the idea of ANY electronic tracking, and that's cool. I'm a data geek so I would be doing this tracking on my own anyway, so I personally don't mind it. I'm finding it very compelling to see what we can do with this data - both on a personal basis and on a massive scale.

Over the next decade, largely because of the self-driving car work, we'll have more and more vehicles communicating with one another in real-time. That's both compelling and also very skynet-ish, so we'll see how it turns out.
 

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