AutoBot Connects Your Car to the Net, Offers Phone Control

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Your car is a big computer of sorts, your cell phone is a small computer of sorts; why not connect the two? That’s the promise of AutoBot, a $300 device that hooks into your vehicle’s OBD-II connector and relays diagnostic information to your cell phone, integrates with mapping functions, and lets you start and unlock your car remotely.

The product took first prize at the Consumer Electronics Association’s i-Stage competition last week, reports ReadWriteWeb, and “will be launched into closed beta at CES in January.”

Aside from the $300 ticket price, AutoBot won’t charge additional monthly fees. The service will be supported by coupons delivered to your phone or computer based on diagnostic information gleaned from your car. It’ll know when your tire pressure is low or you need an oil change, for instance, and will “send you just a few offers a month” for nearby service stations.

The mapping features include car location, alerts when someone you’ve let drive your car passes a certain perimeter you’ve set up, and even remote vehicle disabling in the case of theft. You can also see where your friends are if they have the AutoBot devices installed in their cars.

You can unlock, lock, and start your car right from your phone as well. Not bad for $300. The system is targeted to be widely available in 2012 but, again, it’ll begin testing early next year.

No word on whether it’ll allow your car to transform, and a Decepticon representative couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

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