New app gives drivers a helpful assistant

March 12, 2013 12:00 AM

No one likes a backseat driver, but an app that helps drivers make smart car decisions? That's a different story. 

One startup in San Francisco, Automatic Labs, is unveiling a new smartphone app that uses information from the car itself to inform the driver about things like vehicle maintenance, parking locations and positive habits that could save money and time. 

"For the last 20 years, cars have been computers, and there's so much information in them, and it's just locked in," Thejo Kote, Automatic's co-founder, told The San Francisco Chronicle. "Giving people access to that information and insight into how they actually drive and how they're spending money - we feel that is really valuable information. 

Users can access information on their smartphones after putting an informational chip in their car's USB drive, PC Mag reports. From that point on, whenever the car is driven, the vehicle will send information to the app. Drivers can then get tips on how to save money and improve efficiency, track maintenance issues and generally upgrade their care for the car. The program can also help owners troubleshoot problems before bringing the vehicle to an auto repair franchise for work. 

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