Automatic Pro: Unleash the Data from Within

Want to know how good of a driver you are? How to improve your MPG average? Where you parked your car? When your spouse left office? Automatic Pro is the (tiny) solution for you.

automaticpropackaging-800x465product-4-fullsize1x-9bf53260The Automatic Pro is a $129 dongle that plugs into a car’s OBDII port (in most cars since 1996) to provide you with meaningful data, car tracking, emergency services, and the power of the connected internet1.



Data: Once Automatic is connected in your car, it uses GPS and 3G syncing to start sending you data from your car’s on-board computer. This data is organized by trips. For every trip taken, you get a map of the route taken, MPG information and driving style analysis. Additionally, every time that vague “check engine” light comes on, the app gives you a detailed explanation of the issue, possible locations to get it serviced, or even an option to ignore and reset the indicator if it’s not a serious concern. Automatic’s mission is to empower drivers with knowledge about themselves and their cars so they can be safer and drive smarter.


Tracking and emergency services: Through the Automatic app, you can track your car’s whereabouts at any time. This can be to check on the safety of a loved one, or in case you forgot where you parked. Further, in case the dongle detects that your car has been involved in a crash, it can notify emergency services of the incident and even send them your car’s location for a faster response timescreenshot-2016-11-18-13-23-57.

Power of the internet: This is where the true power of Automatic comes into play. Automatic ties up with IFTTT (If This Then That), which is an online services company to link a user’s online accounts and devices to each other and set-up trigger based actions2. For example, you can set up a “recipe” to switch off your internet connected home lights and garage door whenever you leave home, or to send a text to your spouse whenever you leave office. The possibilities here are endless, and will continue to increase as more users start to take advantage of this platform3.



Automatic Pro SWOT Analysis

Strengths: Automatic gives drivers the power of data, and reduces their reliance on traditionally costly car maintenance services. This also helps the company gain big data on driving trends around the US and the world. They found that the most aggressive drivers are in Phoenix, and least aggressive in Seattle4.


Weaknesses: Automatic is still a niche product, and only benefits the most objective drivers5. The app is still a bit clunky, and doesn’t give immediately actionable feedback. Having a detailed map of your trips with analysis of when you accelerated or braked too hard doesn’t help ex-facto6.

Opportunities: Automatic has currently been targeting the consumer market and individual drivers. However, I think this can be a great addition to commercial trucks that are part of a supply chain. This would give the owners a real-time view of the vehicle’s location and even set up location based alerts to see if the driver will reach the destination on time or if a delay is expected (without having to call and follow-up with each individual driver). Another market can be insurance providers who would install these dongles in their client’s cars to tailor insurance premiums based on the driver’s driving habits and trends.

Threats: There are several similar dongles now on the market, and Automatic must quickly pivot to set itself up as a market leader. Currently Automatic does not have a clear competitive advantage other than the app or online dashboard, which can be easily replicated or improved upon. Automatic is also threatened by the onset of new “smart cars” that have these features built in and greatly enhanced due to first-party integration by the manufacturers.


Conclusion: Automatic is an example of technology being used to give users more data and context to then make more informed and rational decisions. This technology is still at a nascent stage, with a lot of headroom to grow and pivot to different industries.


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Student comments on Automatic Pro: Unleash the Data from Within

  1. I learned what a dongle is from this article! I was not at all surprised to learn that my hometown of Phoenix has the most aggressive drivers – it is pretty frightening.

    $129 seems pretty high for this product for the individual consumer segment of the market – I’m not sure many people would really care for this information, especially since it does not give real-time data. I also wonder if it would encourage people to drive more recklessly. Seems like the insurance or trucking industry as you said would be a better target market.

    1. On the $129 price point: Compare this to the amounts charged by garages or mechanics to just clear a simple check engine light and it’s already worth it!

      Also a clarification: the dongle does provide real-time data and tracking, it’s just not actionable data yet; so they do have to work on their algorithms to improve that.

      But overall yes this technology can play a role in other industries too.

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