By Christopher A. Sawyer
Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi provides a car-to-cloud/cloud-to-car connectivity service that uses a smartphone or browser to mimic key fob functions, and to track, locate, access, secure or monitor a vehicle. It plugs into the onboard OBDII port, meaning you can’t use it and tracking devices like those provided by insurance companies at the same time, and should work in most vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1996. The device soon will be available through Verizon Wireless stores.
According to Delphi this device enables drivers to remotely:
- Use a smartphone, laptop or tablet as a key fob when accidently locked out, including opening the trunk on vehicles with key fob-activation.
- Connect smartphone and car via Bluetooth for key fob commands when in locations like a parking garage.
- Locate and access your vehicles at any time without having to remember to tag their original location.
- Monitor overall vehicle status.
- Diagnose engine health.
- Receive alerts regarding driving behavior and vehicle performance issues.
- Set up geo-fences around up to six locations where drivers are permitted to travel, and receive alerts for entry and exit.
- Real-time track a vehicle with updates every five seconds, and display of the vehicle’s speed and heading.
- Show a map with directions to the vehicle’s location.
- Create automatic trip logs.
The self-employed, small business and companies with fleets will appreciate the trip-logging function. It creates a summary of all trips from engine start to engine stop, as well as:
- Total Distance.
- Start date/time.
- Start location.
- End date/time.
- End location.
- Engine idle time.
- Map view of trip start and end locations.
If that’s not enough, car owners can rely on the system to provide various alerts, including:
- Check engine light.
- Battery voltage.
- High RPM (greater than 4,000 revs for at least 5 seconds).
- Geo-fence entry and exit.
- High speed (over 75 mph for at least 5 seconds).
- E-mails for geo-fences and high-speed alerts.
Though Delphi launched the device and accompanying service at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it did not announce the retail price or outline how it might affect costs and data plans. Look for those items to be revealed closer to its on-sale date.