Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Fixd sends notifications to your phone about problems with your car

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August 27, 2014

Fixd provides notifications about a user's car if a problem arises, along with the potenti...

Fixd provides notifications about a user's car if a problem arises, along with the potential consequences and cost

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For most people, the "check engine" light in their car is pretty useless, providing no info about what the problem is or its severity. A new app wants to provide US drivers with exactly that information. Fixd provides notifications if a problem arises, along with the potential consequences and cost.

A number of other apps have been created to help with car-related issues. The iCar app turns the user's iPhone into a black box in the event of a car accident, CarSafe was designed to monitor the alertness of drivers, and a variety of apps have been created to help people find where they parked their vehicle.

Fixd comprises a vehicle sensor and the accompanying app. The vehicle sensor plugs into a car's On Board Diagnostics-II (OBD-II) port and connects to the app via Bluetooth. On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) is a computer-based system used in the US that is designed to monitor the performance of vehicle engine components. It was made mandatory by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, with all cars built after 1996 required to have the system installed. As such, Fixd will work with any car built in the US since 1996.

Fixd provides information about the severity of a car's problems and how soon they should ...

Once the sensor is installed and the user has the app up and running, Fixd monitors the vehicle's diagnostics and provides information about any problems that arise. This includes the severity of the vehicle's running condition, indicated using a traffic light system, and an indication of how urgently issues should be seen to.

Examples of issues that may be flagged up might include an airbag malfunction and an O2 sensor failure. Fixd would inform the user that the potential consequences of these issues could be injury in an accident where the airbag is concerned, or reduced MPG and increased emissions where the O2 sensor is concerned. Estimated costs of repair are also provided.

The Fixd app provides information about issues, reminders for maintenance and multi-car su...

The app also provides maintenance reminders for the user's car as it ages and allows users to monitor a number of vehicles using its multi-vehicle support.

A Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign is underway for Fixd, with individuals able to pledge from US$30 to receive a Fixd set, assuming all goes to plan with the campaign and subsequent production. A beta version of the Android app is expected to be released in October, with a subsequent iPhone app and feature releases to follow.

If Fixd does make it to the market, it will certainly be facing some competition. The existing Automatic system also incorporates an app and a sensor that plugs into the OBD-II port, and it likewise monitors the vehicle's diagnostics system to alert drivers to potential problems.

The video below is the Kickstarter pitch for Fixd.

Sources: Fixd, Kickstarter

About the Author
Stu Robarts Stu is a tech writer based in Liverpool, UK. He has previously worked on global digital estate management at Amaze and headed up digital strategy for FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology). He likes cups of tea, bacon sandwiches and RSS feeds.   All articles by Stu Robarts
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3 Comments

If this only reads out mechanical problems, it is just as easy to stop at my local auto parts store for a free readout. If this also reads out the black box monitoring info, then I would be more interested, especially when the kids drive the car.

Bob
28th August, 2014 @ 06:27 am PDT

Bob, I don't know what black box you are speaking of. The only data easilyavailable is through the obd port. And are you saying stopping by the auto parts store and waiting for them to get to your car and plug in their scan tool is more convenient than having it pop up on your phone when your check engine light comes on? Just wondering.

rik.warren
28th August, 2014 @ 08:35 am PDT

GizMag, if you were seriously up on your technology, you would have pointed out that this product and software ALREADY EXISTS.

Amazon has the BT ODB dongle for what, $20, and Torque Pro is maybe $7. Torque Pro does so much more as well, I don't see the advantage of this kickstarter, other than to take advantage of the uninformed.

I know they mean well, but they will never be able to beat the years of development that Torque Pro already has done.

raytube
28th August, 2014 @ 01:07 pm PDT
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