If you spend your days daydreaming of owning a modern car rather than the heap of useless junk you currently own – one that lets you control it in interesting new ways, connects to the outside world – then you’re in luck. French tech company Delphi’s Connected Car gizmo could drag your old banger puffing and backfiring into the 21st century.
Delphi Connected Car is a cloud-based, app-controlled system that allow drivers to control and communicate with almost any car – even an old rust box – using a smartphone. The kit consists of a downloadable app and a small, matchbox-sized device that connects to your car’s ODBII port, which is usually located underneath the dashboard. The two can communicate via Bluetooth or over the Internet.
Once installed, the Connected Car box forms a connection with the app on your mobile phone and the car can begin to respond to commands sent from the handset. In theory, any of your vehicle’s functions can be assigned to the app. Delphi says you’ll be able to lock and unlock the doors, start the engine, activate the horn and trigger the panic function on compatibke cars.
Because the Connected Car system integrates itself tightly with your car’s onboard computers, the system can be used to diagnose mechanical issues. Everything from a faulty sensor to an electrical fault to a broken transmission system can be identified and instead of seeing an annoying ‘check engine light’ you’ll be given far more information on what the problem relates to.
The Delphi Connected Car system can also be used to provide location information, meaning you could, in theory, keep track of where valet drivers or your pesky teenage offspring really take your vehicle. It’ll give you the ability to monitor a vehicle’s journey in real time and will keep a log of details such as the time a journey was started, how long the journey lasted, a map of that journey or issue warnings when the vehicle leaves or enters a user-defined geofence.
Best of all, the Connected Car system isn’t a pie in the sky tech project – it’s real. Delphi says the product will be sold by Verizon in the united states ‘in the coming weeks’, although the price and the associated service fees have yet to be announced.