Apps now competing with plug-in devices to record driving data


Iconosys, a developer of safety, security, and privacy-oriented technologies for modern-age personal technology devices and platforms, officially released My Max Speed™ last month, an app where users log their rates of speed every 5 seconds as they travel. What we are witnessing is a new battle between physical, plug-in devices like Car Checkup and CarMed vs. smart phone apps that use your smart phone's GPS capability.

I have reported on other driving recording devices before, but those were physically attached to the vehicle via the service port. So, I’m not surprised by this app, especially after visiting Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) research center in Dearborn a few weeks ago.

Fact is, tying apps with hands-free driving plus voice activation with Ford’s SYNCH says the industry is taking smart-phone technology serious; and so should you. As the industry pulls it into the car, apps like My Max Speed™ gain even more credibility over physical devices like CarCheckUp and CarMed.

My guess is, the industry is headed toward the black box approach like we have in aircraft, but physical boxes may no longer be necessary. That way, auto accidents and incidents can still be litigated with factual, recorded data, not just hearsay.

Now imagine the look on a judge and the officer’s face if you have data to prove their speeding system wrong. Perhaps that explains why some states are allowing judgment calls to be sufficient to give you a speeding ticket. What’s next? Use that judgment to override technology data in court?

CarCheckup

When CarCheckup first offered me a unit to review a number of months ago via its DittoePR rep, Jim Hoff, I admit I was a bit skeptical. After all, I had already reviewed a competitor, but more from a news release perspective.

For the record, I was not paid for the review, and the unit was shipped back after review. That freed me up to ask, how different is this product than other brands, like CarMD and CarChip Pro, for example?

For those who want to listen to this product review, here's the link to my review article: CarCheckup serves car owners with more than just engine codes

Bottom line was, I found CarCheckup does much more than just read engine codes. It reads and stores data from your car's on-board computers, continuously logging driving and engine performance, much like a "black box" records the flap angle and engine speed in a commercial airplane.

Once I received the latest CarCheckup automotive scanner and data logger in the mail, I was immediately impressed with light weight and the small size, literally fitting into the palm of my hand; plus the unit had no buttons, dials or switches.

I then read the tri-folded quick-start guide (much to my wife's surprise), but had to put the project on hold as my writing agenda was quite busy that day and getting ready for Autorama. A week later I was finally free and plugged it into my Chevy HHR. Point is, it was that easy!

After logging mileage for about a week, I unplugged the device from my HHR. Then I plugged directly it into my computer by swinging out the USB plug on the device and into the USB port on my computer port.

Much to my surprise, my computer which runs Windows 7 (64 bit) instantly installed the drivers. So, no additional software was needed, which I found convenient.

I then logged into the carcheckup.com website and proceeded to register for an account. That took longer that the whole process of log-in, which took only a few minutes, and required me to select a primary vehicle for the device. Unfortunately, my HHR was not on the list, so I had to request it be added.

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