05 Sep
Any car produced since 1996 can be turned into its own hub of connectivity thanks to Vinli.

Is connected vehicle technology about to hit the mainstream?

Fleet managers can learn a lot from telematics data gained from vehicles. Driver habits and the routes they take can be analysed to ensure that the business is using its time on the road wisely. Even consumption figures can be assessed to check that those fuel card purchases are proving as cost effective as possible.

DIY connected car technology could be about to hit the mainstream.

However, systems that gather such information can prove expensive. Without a live feed, it can be a case of looking over data that's effectively a few hours, or even days old, rather than gaining an understanding of what's going on right now.

Fortunately, there could be a way for fleet managers to tap into the performance of their drivers for a relatively small fee in the not too distant future, as DIY connected car technology could be about to hit the mainstream.

Endless connectivity

Until now, the practice of turning any vehicle into its own Wi-Fi hotspot and tool for data aggregation has been at the behest of the manufacturer. Such technology has simply proven too hard or costly to retrofit. However, Vinli believes that it has a solution.

The innovative company is crowd-funding a device that is plugged into the same port used by mechanics when they check vehicle diagnostic information during servicing. When twinned with one of many available smartphone apps, the system can rely real time information back to the driver, allowing them to assess efficiency and performance.

The financial backing

Vinli raised over US$6.5 million on Indiegogo, but the company is now drawing admiring glances from some of the biggest tech companies. As testament to the impact the technology may go on to have, Samsung is throwing its weight behind the device.

"Vinli is focused on bringing the most personalised, best driving experience possible to modern drivers, one that enables smooth connectivity to their favorite apps. We are excited about Vinli's innovative technology and look forward to welcoming the team to the Samsung family," explained Luis Arbulu, Director of Strategic Investments with Samsung.

A captive audience

Naturally, the vast majority of connected cars have been produced in the last few years, as the technology itself is still in its relative infancy. However, perhaps the best feature of Vinli is that it can be used on any petrol-powered (and some diesel) cars, vans or trucks produced after 1996.

While the system is only available in the US as things stand, it's certainly a step in the right direction, and more connected car tech may find its way onto New Zealand's shores in the years to come.