In car technology has often taken a while to catch up with the rest of the market. Whilst smartphones can monitor everything from our heartbeat, sleep patterns and even mood; only a few manufacturers are exploring the 'smart' abilities of cars.
On board diagnostics isn't a new concept: take your car to any garage with the engine management light on and this will be the first port of call. OBD-II readers have been around since the '90's but only the past few years has the consumer side been explored.
Here's where Vinli comes in. Plug it into the OBD-II slot on your car and it will read all the data and send it back to your smartphone for your perusal. But what does this actually mean? Our of the box it will come supplied with around 20 apps from helping to monitor fuel consumption, awarding scored based on your driving, helping monitor vehicle use (for example by different users) to even calling for roadside assistance. All to be available via Android and iOS.
But what else? More, Vinli has on on-board 4G connection it's able to share via in house Wi-Fi hotspot board. There are a few cigarette lighter ports that do this already but Vinli is nicely tucked away with your OBD-II port. There's no talk of any tariffs in the UK but will cost $6 per 500MB in the US (via T-Mobile). For the monitoring apps this is all that will probably be required but Wi-Fi hotspotting will probably require much more.
At $99 (under £63) Vinli represents a small investment. Potentially new firmware could be downloaded for your car's on board systems to boost MPG, or even performance. This is one to watch.