Plug your car into the rest of your life

Your late-model car knows a lot more than its dashboard tells you. It knows how fast you’ve been going on every trip, your fuel mileage, your tire pressures and much more. It even knows what your engine light really means — before it comes on. In fact your car has hundreds of sensors with interesting stuff to tell you, if you only had a way to listen.

Soon you can, with Fuse, a kool new Kickstarter project.

Your Fuse is three things in one:

  • A sensor gizmo that plugs into your car’s diagnostics outlet
  • A smartphone app that gives you a second dashboard
  • A personal cloud to connect your car with the rest of your life

Fuse’s gizmo routes all your car’s data from a plug under your dashboard to your smartphone app, and adds GPS data as well, so you can see exactly where your car has been — and combine that information with anything else it would be good to know.

For example, Fuse can learn your driving patterns and automatically classify repeat trips, such as a carpool. It can associate your contacts with a carpool pickup, and automatically shoot over a message as you leave home and again as you approach the stop. You can even share your location with your pickup, so they can see where you are on their own map.

Fuse can associate trips with business, charity or other tax-deductible purposes.

Fuse can keep track of what your car is doing when it’s on the road without you — for example when your teenager is behind the wheel. You can learn more about your driving habits and those of others, and score them for safety, smart fuel use and other measures.

Fuse connects to other apps, for example ones that tell you gas station locations and prices. By watching that data and your own fuel levels, Fuse can tell you when and where you’ll get the most for your money by filling up.

Fuse keeps a log of your car expenses, and can share those with your financial apps. It can also work with your calendar app to schedule oil changes, tire rotations, registrations, and inspections.

Fuse also solves clues behind your dashboard’s engine light, so you know more about what’s going on, and you can share the same information with your car’s mechanic.

Best of all, Fuse is all-yours. Its data lives in your own cloud, not in some centralized service. In that cloud are all the connections between your car and any variety of apps and databases on your computer and smartphone.

I could go on, but I’m busy and would rather just urge you to go lay a few bucks on the Kickstarter to help make it happen.

It’s from Kynetx, a leading VRM developer. (Also one of the many I consult.) Read more about it at Phil Windley’s blog.

 

8 comments

  1. PJ’s avatar

    Grah. Almost perfect, but I dislike committing to a monthly service. It wouldn’t have been that much more difficult to make it talk over bluetooth to your smartphone for data dumps, would it?

  2. Doc Searls’s avatar

    It’s a Kickstarter, PJ. What they’re doing is a “will be,” not a “have been.” I am sure they welcome constructive ideas and feedback.

  3. alan herrell’s avatar

    This thing is wrong on so many levels that it needs to have a stake driven into its heart, the corpse dragged into the sunlight, and the ashes scattered to the four corners of the globe.

    This is such a bad idea that I created a new acronym for it.
    YAGTTYEOTR Which stands for:
    Yet Another Gadget To Take Your Eyes Off The Road.
    Pronounced; yag tee oh ter

    http://www.ravinglunacy.org/index.php/2013/10/20/fuse-the-dumbest-app-ever-yagttyeotr/

    I can’t believe you think this is a useful thing.

  4. Doc Searls’s avatar

    Thanks for weighing in, Alan.

    I invite readers to go over to Alan’s blog, and to read the back and forth in the comments between Phil and Alan.

  5. Tom Phillips’s avatar

    It is the way all things are going. Soon there will be an app for everything. No doubt my toaster will soon be on the cloud and triggered when my car gets within 5 minutes of home. All for $2 per month.

    In the UK insurance companies already put boxes to monitor the behaviour of young car drivers. If the car goes too fast or is driven badly then their insurance premiums rocket up.

  6. Edward Vielmeti’s avatar

    Doc –

    There’s another one of these things called Automatic, which has an iPhone app and supposedly also an Android app coming. Similar feature set (OBD2 dongle + smart phone app).

    http://www.automatic.com/

    They advertise at $99.95 plus no subscription fees.

  7. Doc Searls’s avatar

    See How Fuse is different to see how it’s not like Automatic — or anything.

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