What do you say, Kickstarter? Dash or No
Smartphone-enhanced car diagnostics seem to be a logical step forward in perpetuating the illusion of rugged greasy-monkey knowledge. Dash, an upcoming low-energy, Bluetooth device, works with a smartphone and a car to analyze trips using the engine’s computer.
Dash plugs into the car and syncs with any iOS device to monitor driving. The free application creates a new profile for every car that the device is plugged into, and automatically sends data to the company’s website so users can track trends and costs.
The idea behind Dash is to make the application a seamless part of the dashboard by creating customizable displays such as mileage and fuel usage. Dash aims to improve driving during the trip, while other driving assistants are usually most helpful afterwards.
In order to achieve this real-time efficiency, gauges and charts update instantly. Additionally, users can receive alerts when the car isn’t operating as smoothly as it should, perhaps avoiding some potentially negative consequence. Other features include an online database that allows users to compare information with others for various tips and a Green-Meter for ideal fuel economy, not usually found in a real instrument cluster. A DashCam feature overlays travel details on captured video for recording an epic trip or documenting other outrageous drivers.
For users, an app that corresponds with the vehicle’s computer creates a number of possibilities for DIY personality types and automotive enthusiasts. There’s an element of education, as well as a practical precaution when using Dash that can provide peace of mind.
Looking forward, the Dash team plans to support Android devices that have Bluetooth 4.0. Dash is compatible with cars from the late 90’s and newer, and also expects to support relatively recent cars in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and the UK.
While the device seems to have realistic practical applications, it began as a crowdfunding venture available for preorder on Kickstarter. The mobile app and web-based service will be free, but the device itself costs $69. Those who donate should receive their units in October if Drive with Dash makes its $750,000 goal. However, eager pledges willing to spend $150 on a beta tester’s tier are expected to receive a device from the first run in July.
The Drive with Dash campaign has been suspended from Kickstarter due to an intellectual property dispute. Many supporters are likely hoping that the issue is resolved quickly, as the campaign has already raised over $50,000 with plenty of time to spare. There have been no details yet regarding the future for the campaign, however, the possible uses have created quite a buzz. On the one hand, there is a ton of excitement about its functionality. On the other, we have also seen a number of comparisons made to the Torque Pro Android app available via Google Play for $4.95.