​This Little Dongle Is Going To Help Your Kids Learn To Drive

Illustration for article titled ​This Little Dongle Is Going To Help Your Kids Learn To Drive

Automatic, the smartphone-connected OBDII dongle that does everything from tracking your gas mileage to diagnosing a check engine light, is getting into the drivers' ed business. It's called License+ and it's designed to keep tabs on new drivers during those crucial weeks and months after they're licensed.

Automatic was originally created to coach drivers on reducing fuel consumption, along with remembering where the car is parked, and calling for help in the case of crash. Those same functions actually translate well to coaching new drivers to drive smoother by keeping track of hard acceleration and braking, as well as staying within the speed limit.


License+ uses those metrics to score new drivers over a 100-hour period where they're given goals to reach, including 50 miles on the highway and 10 hours of night driving. Combining all that data, they'll then get a gold, silver, or bronze rating at the end of the 100 hours.

It's a little Big Brother, but without Big Brother physically sitting in the passenger seat screaming at the sibling they're trying to train.

What it doesn't do – at least, not yet – is keep track of hard steering inputs, signal usage, running red lights, or passenger seat airbag sensors (for keeping friends out of the car). But with accelerometers in phones and more signals to pull from the OBDII port, some of those shouldn't be too hard to implement in the future. Although there's no word on a backseat make-out detector.

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This is the little "dongle" that will help my kids learn to drive