Those of us with an older car might be feeling a bit jealous of all the new cars with their fancy smart phone apps. But if you have a 1996 or newer vehicle, you may soon be able to bring your car closer to those new-fangled models.
Autoblog spoke with Craig Tieman, advanced concepts and market development manager for Delphi, at the 2013 CES in Las Vegas Monday night about Delphi's Connected Car device. The matchbox-sized box plugs into a car's OBDII port to provide a link from your smartphone to your car.
From there, things get really interesting. After scanning your car's onboard computers, the little black box pairs with your smart phone and offers a choice of key fob designs on the screen. Choose the one that most resembles your car's original fob, and you're ready to go. Essentially, the smartphone app replaces all of the functions of your fob. Honk the panic button, open the doors, remote start, etc.
Using the OBDII connection, Delphi's gadget can also be used as an error code scanner to help you determine the source of your car's problems. Depending on the model of your car, the smartphone app can even display fuel level, battery health, and several other datapoints including a list of all trips, average speed, etc.
More? Okay. The Connected Car also can provide location information. If your teen driver sets out in the snow, you can track the vehicle's route in almost real time. Using your smart phone, you can even set up virtual geofencing boundaries that, if crossed, will send you an email. So you'll know when Junior is taking your Camaro to the drag strip, or when your little Snowflake is visiting that older boy you told her she couldn't see any more.
All this is can be done using Verizon's mobile service, so you can access the information from anywhere your phone can receive a signal. No phone? A web browser interface is also available.
If you're trying to unlock your car deep within your underground bunker and have no cell service, the Connected Car also includes a Bluetooth module. Once paired, cell service isn't needed for most of the basic functions.
Tieman says this is only the beginning, pledging to expect new functionality soon after the device is launched in February. Pricing of the Connected Car, to be sold by Verizon, as well as the service fees, haven't been determined. But, hey... it's got to be cheaper than buying a new car.