Automotive-industry supplier Delphi is launching a direct-to-consumer product that will enable you to perform a variety of vehicle tracking and convenience functions with your smart phone.
Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi, which works with most cars built since 1996, consists of a downloadable app and a module that plugs into the car's OBD II diagnostic port. It then allows you to monitor the vehicle's position in real time from their phone or home computer.
Virtual "geo fences" can be set, and the system will send an e-mail or text alert if the vehicle strays from the preestablished boundaries to help parents monitor young drivers. Alerts can also be set for speeding or other driving misbehavior, such as frequent hard braking or acceleration.
Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi also enables your smart phone to mimic car remote functions, including locking and unlocking doors, popping the trunk, and starting the engine. And it can translate trouble codes, so you can better understand why the check engine light is triggered.
A company representative explained that more services are planned, including seat belt use monitoring and basically anything else that can be reported through the OBD II port.
Delphi is partnering with Verizon to deliver the service, which will be sold through a subscription plan with Verizon supplying the module and data transfer. Set to roll out within the next few weeks, Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi is compatible with Android and iPhone. Pricing has not been announced.
See our complete CES 2013 coverage.