If you own a vehicle that is older than a few years, you may be feeling the pain of new car envy. After all, newer cars come equipped with the latest bells and whistles. Fancy infotainment systems, backup cameras, lane change assist, heads up displays, and bluetooth are just a couple of the newest technologies and conveniences to hit the road in a car, truck, or SUV today. It turns out, that some of these tech options from today may not be out of reach.
Did you know that if your car was made in 1996 or after, you have an Onboard Diagnostics port or OBD port in your vehicle? It turns out that this little port has become hot real estate for developers wanting to get in on the auto tech rush. Now there is a company called Vinli that can turn your car into a “smartphone” for just $99. Vinli plugs into your OBD port giving your older vehicle new functionality.
Vinli contains GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi hotspot with LTE connectivity, and accelerometer. Are you driving to grandmas house and your two year old has a meltdown? No problem! Vinli turns your laptop into a movie theater right inside your car, truck, or SUV using its Wi-Fi hotspot. Maybe you need to complete your latest work assignment on the go, no problem with Vinli.
Connecting to your laptop is pretty cool (and doable with a smartphone really), but it is the other things that Vinli lets your car do that make it viable. For instance, through their app store, you can download apps that monitor your vehicle letting you know the “health” fuel efficiency, and even the unthinkable… Track your teenager. I know my teens would hate this, but I love the idea of using it for a teaching tool and keeping them safe.
Vinli’s app called Beagle allows parents to monitor real time speeds for teenagers as well as create speed alerts. Another app called e-Call calls your loved ones in the event of an accident, while mileIQ logs your miles driven allowing easy reimbursement if you are eligible for one from employers. Vinli creator is also looking into using V2V technology that allows vehicles to communicate to one another so that you will know if the car ahead is braking or if there is a disabled vehicle in the road.