Awesome Stuff: Hacking Your Car, Part II
from the obd-it dept
A few months ago, for our awesome stuff post looking at crowdfunding projects, we did one on hacking your car, highlighting a couple of projects involving OBD devices and software. It seems this market is exploding with other options, and a bunch of them have recently launched crowdfunding campaigns. To be honest, as with any such crowded market, the features of each start to blend together, and it’s a bit difficult to tell how any of these are particularly different than the others (or previous ones that are already on the market).
- First up, we’ve got the OBDLink MX WiFi. These guys keep insisting their offering is better than everyone else’s, especially on speed (they claim it’s 4x faster than any other competitor) though it seems like you have to trust them that it’s true. It uses WiFi, which isn’t as common (many, though not all, competitors use bluetooth) and it certainly looks like they’ve put a lot of thought into making it just work, but it really does seem a bit difficult to distinguish from the competition.
- Next up, we’ve got Freematics, which plays up the fact that it’s based on Arduino and the goal is to be as open source and flexible as possible on the hardware side. This one definitely seems designed more for those who would be a lot more interested in hacking their own OBD setup. By using Arduino and some built in sensors (accelerometer and gyro) there are definitely more opportunities to do different kinds of things with the Freematics device, though it’s arguable how useful those things really are. Still, for someone who wants to dig a little deeper, it’s an interesting option.
- Next up, we’ve got the Clickdrive. The marketing around this one is basically all about the apps and the “app market” it will have — but that still seems to be very much in development, which makes it a tougher sell. Others advertise a variety of apps (including the OBDLink above), but for Clickdrive that seems to be the central selling point, whereas others don’t promote their apps as much. The “current” apps really look like the same basic apps pretty much everyone else offers, so focusing so heavily on the apps seems a little strange. They are also promoting it as open platform for others to develop apps, but there’s a chicken and egg problem there if no one’s using the devices…
- Finally, there’s the Truvolo, which, again, looks an awful lot like many of the other offerings, making it difficult to find anything that stands out as particularly different. About the only “difference” they highlight is that they have a cloud solution that comes with it to store and sync data — but we’ve seen that before with the Fuse project from last year as well — and like the Fuse, Truvolo is looking to sell premium services at a monthly fee that utilize the cloud. Most of the other devices in the market promote their lack of monthly fees. If the cloud services are worth it, it could be interesting, but Truvolo even admits that they’re still figuring those out.
That’s it for this week. Drive smarter, everyone.