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Vinli transforms any old clunker into a high-tech connected car

vinli under dash
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Wish you had all the fancy bells and whistles that come in new cars (built-in WiFi, infotainment systems, theft detection, etc) but don’t want to dish out big bucks for a brand new car? Vinli is here to help. It’s a mobile hotspot that plugs into your car, equipping it with all the smart features you’ve ever dreamt of.

Vinli plugs into your data port under your car’s dash, and needs no other screws or mounts. Since it’s designed to work via the OBD II port, it should work with any car or truck made after 1996. With 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart, it’ll give your old car a connection to the web via a 4G LTE subscription.

And that’s not all. Under the hood, Vinli boasts a 3-axis accelerometer for collision detection, GPS for location tracking, and SMS for emergencies. It runs on Linux, and developers can sign up for access to the open developer portal to create their own apps.

Vinli - Your Car Connected

With all this tech at its disposal, Vinli does all kinds of cool tricks. The built-in GPS lets you easily find your parked car, or even monitor your car while it’s in use — say, by your kids or visiting family — and lets you track your car’s location if it’s ever stolen. The mobile web connection offers a connection to roadside assistance — although it’s worth mentioning that Vinli tries to avoid those situations entirely by periodically reminding you of maintenance issues before they become problematic. The service department even includes emergency notifications, and can automatically call or text someone for you if you get into an accident.

For the hardcore racer, you can connect Vinli to your on board camera and track your footage. Even without a camera, you can see your average fuel efficiency, speed, and more.

Vinli also has its own app store, where you can download apps for the web, Android, or iOS, and connect to handy programs like Dash, which, in addition to the standard map and directions, can do nifty things like show you where to find the cheapest gas. It’s also a driver tracker, and will display your driving stats over time so you can see how to save a few bucks by changing your habits. Other supported apps include Otto, a car diagnostic program, Flo, and Safedrive, two different apps that aim to make you a better driver by making a game of it, giving points for good behavior.

The device is expected to retail for $150 once it’s officially released, but you an grab it on Indiegogo right now for $100. The subscription costs $30 a year. To use the hotspot feature, 1GB goes for $15, 3GB for $40, with unlimited and shared family plans in the works. If the crowdfunding effort goes according to plan, Vinli expects to finish production and begin shipping sometime in August.

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Aliya Barnwell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Aliya Tyus-Barnwell is a writer, cyclist and gamer with an interest in technology. Also a fantasy fan, she's had fiction…
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