Automatic Labs succumbs to COVID-19, will soon shut down connected car service

Automatic Labs, a manufacturer of adapters that can transform vehicles into connected cars, will soon shut down, as the COVID-19 pandemic claims another corporate casualty.

The outbreak of the coronavirus has affected most industries, and Automatic is no exception. On its official website, the company said that the pandemic has “adversely impacted” its operations, as the outbreak is reshaping how Americans think about transportation

“With fewer consumers purchasing and leasing vehicles and drivers on the road, we, unfortunately, do not see a path forward for our business,” Automatic said.

“These are unprecedented times, and with so much uncertainty ahead, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue the Automatic connected car product, service, and platform.”

Automatic will shut down operations on May 28, 11:59 p.m. PT, at which time all services offered by the company will abruptly end, including the Crash Alert and Real-Time Location & Sharing features. However, as a small consolation, there will be no degradation of Automatic’s services and features until the planned shutdown.

People who purchased Automatic hardware and services before April 30 may be eligible for a rebate, though Rebate Request Forms will have to be submitted by June 15. In addition, people requesting rebates will need to have made the purchase themselves, instead of receiving the products as part of a car deal.

Automatic, which offers adapters that can plug into the OBD ports of vehicles to gather and send data to its app,  was purchased by SiriusXM in 2017 for more than $100 million. With the pandemic having lasted only a few months, it appears that the company was already struggling even before the outbreak. This may be because auto insurance companies have rolled out devices similar to Automatic’s adapter, and many of the newer models of vehicles already come with the features enabled by Automatic, according to 9to5Mac.

Automatic follows Maven

The planned shutdown of Automatic follows the closure of another car-related company, General Motors’ carsharing service Maven, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Signs that the app-based service was in trouble started last year when it pulled out of eight of the 17 North American cities where it operated, and now, it is winding down its business, with the coronavirus outbreak proving to be the final straw.

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