Automatic’s Smart Driving Assistant Can Now Turn Your Car Into An iBeacon

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Automatic‘s smart driving assistant, which combines a small piece of hardware with powerful mobile apps, was designed to provide vehicle owners with new tools to understand how they can get more out of their car’s performance. Well, it recently added iBeacon functionality, which could fundamentally change the way users and their cars interact with other things around them.

iBeacon transmitters uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology, which can send specific information to nearby devices based on location. In retail environments, like in Apple Retail Stores, iBeacons are being tested as a way to transmit targeted information to users when they’re in proximity to certain sensors.

As my colleague Matthew Panzarino pointed out last month, nearly “every iOS device since the iPhone 4s and iPad 3rd gen is already capable of being either an iBeacon receiver or transmitter, as long as it’s properly configured.” The latest update to the Automatic app actually makes its own hardware device into an iBeacon, enabling users to transmit or receive information from other nearby sensors or devices.

By doing so, Automatic opens up opportunities beyond the typical targeted retail notifications that are being tested today. Co-founder Thejo Kote says Automatic can enable a whole bunch of new car-specific applications with potential partners. Applying iBeacon technology to a vehicle could make it easier for people to pay for things like parking, or gas fill-ups, for instance — making the experience much better than it is today.

For right now, those types of applications are still theoretical, but Automatic is interested in seeing where it could go.

The company was able to add the new feature through a software update, which Kote says is unique to its platform. “The good thing with Automatic is that this is something that just comes along for free,” he said, noting that adding future applications is as easy as adding a new feature through software.