29
Mar
DONGLEDONGLEDONGLE

If you're a car nut, a paranoid parent, or a small business owner looking to do a little, uh, company vehicle economy analysis, Verizon's teamed up with Delphi to create the Vehicle Diagnostic system. It's actually pretty cool!

Verizon will sell you the Delphi hardware module, which should work with a majority of ODBII-compliant vehicles 1996 and later. You hook this little guy up to your vehicle's ODBII port, and it automatically starts sending data back to your web dashboard (and/or the Android app) via its built-in data connection. If you have a Verizon Share Everything plan, it will set you back $5 a month, though the data usage it brings will likely be pretty near negligible.

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So, what does it do? The ODBII diagnostics integration allows you to do things like monitor your vehicle's diagnostic codes - what exactly your vehicle monitors in this fashion varies (a lot) by make and model. It could be anything from gas mileage or tire pressure status to a check engine code to track down a problem. I doubt the meanings of codes for every supported vehicle are there, but this is definitely a legitimate convenience.

You can also see things like battery status, remaining fuel, set RPM and speed alerts (eg, if the car goes above a certain RPM or speed), and even unlock / lock / start / turn off your car remotely (again, individual vehicle support for this stuff varies widely).

In addition, the module has a built-in GPS tracker, and that location data is sent to your web dashboard, so you can see where you've been, analyze your gas usage and trip patterns, or secretly stalk your ex / child / employee in a creepily efficient fashion. While vehicle tracking and diagnostics tools like this have existed for a while (there are even Bluetooth-based ODBII readers and apps), adding in a mobile data connection and Delphi's rather polished-looking software definitely makes this the most robust consumer-oriented system I've seen.

Verizon

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Jason Banich

    THE FUTURE, I FEEL IT, ITS HERE

  • Crazydog

    Not as intuitive, but it only costs $30...

    Bluetooth ODB2 sensor: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005NLQAHS

    Torque for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.prowl.torque

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Yep, I linked to Torque in the article. This is one of the few things that makes me wish I had a newer car that was ODBII-compliant.

      • http://twitter.com/w_moorhouse Moorhouse

        how old IS your car?

        • Freak4Dell

          At least older than 17 years. OBD2 was made mandatory in the US for anything made after 1996.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

            Correct. Though there are a few 94-95 models too.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          1992!

    • http://twitter.com/jheyneman James Heyneman

      One of my fellow coworkers picked up one of these and it works well with Torque: http://dx.com/p/super-mini-elm327-bluetooth-odb2-v1-5-car-diagnostic-interface-tool-blue-142679

      • Crazydog

        Oh hey, that's tiny. Might actually allow me to keep it plugged in to my car. I've just heard that these things can be iffy, and the one I linked to had some relatively good reviews.

        • Ibrahim Awwal

          I've actually heard that if you don't drive your car for a while (few weeks or months) the adapter can drain your battery so that's another reason not to leave it plugged in all the time. I stopped leaving mine in for that reason, since I do occasionally not drive for a while (though usually at least once a week).

    • umataro42

      came here to mention the same thing, but I remember it being a little less than that. Definitely works though and no BS Verizon monthly fee.

  • Crazydog

    Check out Automatic (http://www.automatic.com/) too.

    • Freak4Dell

      That looks pretty nifty. I don't know if it goes into as much detail as Torque does, but the interface looks nice and the price is actually not bad at all.

  • DrMacinyasha

    Hah. Gotta love it. In order to get this, I'd have to "upgrade" my plan from 10GB/mo, to a 8GB/mo share everything plan, and pay $50/mo more. I think not.

  • http://twitter.com/w_moorhouse Moorhouse

    Torque has some benefits to this as in you can trend stuff. Its cool to see your MPG change per road grade while in cruise control etc.

    • Ibrahim Awwal

      Yeah torque is pretty nice though the UI for this looks a lot better. But I really like being able to get a good idea of how to get better gas mileage with Torque. You don't even realize the little adjustments you can make to significantly improve mileage even on a regular gasoline powered car.

  • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

    Or any major autopart store will run these diagnostics for free and you can Google the codes.

  • RaptorOO7

    Pretty cool, but its not compatible with my car and its new, so how exactly is this worth $250.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

    I see the GPS feature and it got me thinking. I know there are better options for GPS tracking (which I still need to look into), but if I got one of these and left it plugged in, it might be a good decoy. If a thief found it plugged in, they'd probably think I was too stupid to have anything more sophisticated. Although, this might be a bit of overkill for a decoy. Are there any others that have GPS without the monthly fee?

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