The smartphone has made it possible to do so much with just one device, from settling bar bets to turning on the coffee maker from bed. But there is still very little that you do with your car, especially with cars that are more than a few years old. Now Delphi has introduced the Connected Car, a small device which plugs into your car’s OBD-II port (all cars sold in the US since 1996 have these) and offers a variety of functions which can be accessed from your smartphone or computer. Shown at CES this week, the Connected Car is sold through Verizon and can work over their network but can also connect via Bluetooth.
The device will allow your phone take on all the same functions as your key fob, including remote starting from beyond the range your fob can handle. You can check how much fuel is in the tank too, and if there is a problem with the car, the Connected Car will send fault codes right to your phone. But the biggest advantage is for those with families. You can see where the family vehicles are at any given time and will tell you if your teenage offspring is speeding. You can even set up “fences” around specific geographic areas where the device will send you an email if the vehicle crosses one of these boundaries. This will tell you whether or not junior is indeed hanging out with that wrong crowd again. Plus, there is an obvious advantage in the event that your car is stolen, assuming the thief doesn’t notice the device. Prices haven’t been disclosed, and the number of options available varies from car model to model, but many of the features are universal.