Want to add some smarts to your car? You don’t need to buy a new vehicle with a bunch of whiz-bang features. Instead, consider a solution like the Moj.io: A small module with integrated cellular radio that plugs into your car and comes with a handful of useful smartphone applications.
Moj.io, a current project trying to raise $100,000 in funding on Indiegogo, takes advantage of the OBD, or on-board diagnostics, port found in all cars built on or after 1995. The ODB port is mainly intended for auto shops to connect to and get information from a vehicle’s computer to assist with diagnosing problems. But it can be used in a real-time mode for data such as speed, fuel levels and more.
Getting at that data is only part of the solution, however. The small Moj.io module integrates both a GPS and cellular radio to gather location information and for connectivity. The GSM radio inside uses T-Mobile’s network for M2M, or machine to machine, data transfers, sending data up to the cloud.
From there it’s accessible through a smartphone app and the Moj.io team already has eight in mind:
- Family Connect can notify you when another driver in the household exceeds a pre-set speed limit. (Sorry teens!)
- Drive Smart disables incoming texts and calls when the car is in motion. You can allow incoming calls from three pre-determined contacts, however.
- Vehicle Locate does what it says: Shows your vehicle on a map and provides walking directions to it.
- Tow Alert notifies you if your car is broken into or being towed away.
- Mileage Tracker eliminates the need to manually track miles for business expensing.
- Auto Text is perhaps the most impressive to me. Upon starting a drive, the app checks your calendar for any appointments within the next hour. It can then send a text message to any meeting participants, telling them how far away you are and when you should arrive.
- Virtual Mechanic provides basic diagnostic information and fuel levels.
- Good Driver Points sounds like a rewards system that will earn perks in the future.
To back the project as an early adopter and get the lowest price will cost $89 which is a $60 savings over the expected retail price. There’s more to the system than just the module though: Expect to pay $7.99 per month to cover the Moj.io’s cellular service. Again, backing early will save you some money: You’ll get three months service for free. And all backers will get a special yearly subscription price of $79 to cover the connectivity.