Would you like to get the most out of your car without burning a hole in your pocket?: Ljubac Milikovic, Chief Product Officer of Automatic

On This Episode…

Get the best driving experience with Automatic Lab’s smartphone app and experience efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness on a whole new level. Discover the importance of a connected car and how it can help you become a safer and smarter driver.

  • The future of the connected car and why everyone should be connected
    • a. Better drivers equals safer roads, overall human safety and cost savings

  • With Automatic you don’t need a $90,000 car to get the same benefits
    • a. Roadside assistance, awesome features
  • If you have teenagers who are driving, best wingman ever
    • a. License+, get points, teaches teens to be a better driver
  • The Internet of Things
    • a. Fitbits, Nest, and Automatic- all to make life better


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Craig: You’ve heard about smart cars and connected cars –some of the technology in cars that can help save a life, frankly. We can tell you right now how you can take your car and turn it into a bit of a smart car. Help protect your family, your teenagers, anybody who might be in it or using the car as well. We’re going to talk about a company called Automatic, that’s where you’ll go to find them online, automatic.com and we’re joined by Ljuba Milijkovic. Ljuba, welcome.

Ljuba: Thank so much, it’s great to be here.

Craig: So you have this little device sitting in front of us. Let’s talk about the problem here… what are you trying to solve?

Ljuba: Your car is this really powerful computer most of us don’t realize it, but it’s not connected to the internet and we thought that was just kinda nuts; and here we are at CES and everything is connected and your car should be too. So what we designed and built here is a small connected car adaptor that plugs about into just about any car since ’96 and that connects it to the internet to the cloud through your phone to enable all kinds of things like engine diagnostics right on your phone, trip logging, and even activating your thermostat.

Craig: How does that tie it to the car or does it?

Ljuba: Every car since ’96 has a small port called the on-board diagnostics port. That’s that port your mechanic plugs into it when you take it to the first smog check. That port has a direct connection to the car’s on-board computer and so this little car adaptor actually sends that data over Bluetooth to your smart phone and then powers an entire suited applications and features in the Automatic App and beyond.

Craig: So the ODBC port underneath the dash. So you install it once, it’s out of the way, kids don’t even know it’s there.

Ljuba: Most people don’t even know they have one, but they do.

Craig: Doesn’t make any difference from that standpoint but it does from the safety standpoint. Let’s talk about all these apps that Automatic has.

Ljuba: It works really simple, you plug it in, and everytime you drive, your phone will pair with the adaptor and then know that you’re driving. We talked about safety, really important, and we have a feature called Crash Alert that will actually detects that you’ve been on a collision, call 911 and an actual human will call you and stay with you on the line until help arrives. This service is completely free. There’s no subscription, nothing. You pay for the adaptor one time and it’s just the feature of the product. We can do that because we’re connected through your smart phone. You don’t have to build expensive infrastructure or anything like that; and that’s just one of the features that Automatic offers. The other is engine diagnostics –that direct connection to your car’s on-board computer can tell Automatic what’s going wrong when that check engine light comes on. It will give you a plain description of what’s wrong and even let you clear that light right from the phone.

Craig: That makes it easy. Very, very nice. instead of buying that $200-$400 little device over the local auto parts store that allows you to read those and then clear them as well. So you have some peace of mind before you go on a trip, even. The check engine lights on, what’s that all about?

Ljuba: What’s nice is that this that when this is plugged in, you don’t have to dig through your garage drawer looking for the diagnostic tool. It just stays plugged in and it pushes the notification to your phone whenerver something’s wrong.

Craig: Makes it easy. Now, you have other apps coming out, I assume, now because you’re tied in to the on-board computer in the car so there’s a lot of possibilities.

Ljuba: The big thing is, we’ve announced it a while ago, is the integration with IFTTT. It’s a service that allows you to connect various online services together–

Craig: Use it all the time.

Ljuba: So if you turn your car on your work, let your spouse know that you’re on your way by text message; or if your check engine light comes on, email your mechanic with the diagnostics so that they can take care of it. What we’ve done since then, actually is do direct connections with various partners, so at CES we’re announcing a partnership with Nest so that now if you have a Nest thermostat at home and Automatic in your car… If you leave work, for example, you can set it up that it’ll actually track you on your way home and get your home heated up just in time for your arrival.

Craig: Very nice. You can find all of it at automatc.com. Is this available onnline, in retail stores?

Ljuba: You can buy them at automatic.com, Amazon, Best Buy Stores, all over the place.