A few years back, Automatic revolutionized the way that people drive by coming out with a small device that plugged into a car's on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, then linked via Bluetooth to a smartphone for automatic logging of trips, diagnosis of Check Engine Light codes, and other fun and useful functions. Today the company has introduced Automatic Lite, a $79.95 version of the adapter that does away with some of the more expensive, subscription-based functions of its more expensive sibling the Automatic Pro.
Automatic Lite works with just about any automobile made in the US since 1996 equipped with the OBD. Plug it in, pair it to your iPhone over Bluetooth, and you're ready to roll. If the Check Engine Light in your car comes on, open the app and you'll find out immediately what's happening. Oh, and if you own a fancy schmancy electric car? Forget it -- Automatic Lite doesn't work with those cars, which probably have their own apps anyway.
The device has a built-in GPS receiver, so it is able to record each and every trip of your vehicle, even if someone else is driving. This is great for logging trips for business expenses, and a number of apps support input from the Automatic Lite.
Since Automatic Lite knows your location, it can tell what the daily gas price is at a station where you're filling up, making logging gas expenses a lot more simple.
What Automatic Lite does not do is sync via 3G, provide an automatic crash alert if your vehicle is in an accident, track parking and live vehicle position, or work with event-based and streaming apps. But for $79.95, it's opening up a whole world of possibilities to those who are interested in tracking their driving.