The automobile industry is in a period of total overhaul. But while self-driving cars, automated taxis, and electric vehicles are the darlings of the media, a quiet revolution is also happening inside the cars already owned by Canadians.
Vancouver company Mojio offers a combined hardware and software system used to connect any vehicle to the internet. Its device—a small flash drive—is inserted into to a port near the bottom of the steering wheel, and collects information about everything from driving habits to how well the engine or battery are running. The service lets users create a WiFi hotspot for passengers, and also provides a GPS tracking system for where drivers left their car—a kind of “Find My iPhone” for busy parking lots.
Now, the company has gone one step further in its aims to connect drivers to internet-based services. Aiming to improve road safety, Mojio—in partnership with tech giant Bosch—has announced a feature to automatically contact emergency services in the event of a crash.
The new innovation combines Bosch’s crash detection algorithm and ability to dial 911 with Mojio’s capability to assess the speed and condition of the car, and connect to the internet. In the event of an accident, the flash drive evaluates the severity of the collision, and triggers an appropriate emergency response. As well as alerting first responders, the eCall technology also sends a message to user-designated SOS contacts, such as family and friends. Bosch and Mojio hope that the feature will result in personal and professional help arriving to the scene sooner, and save lives on the road.
“We’re excited to work side-by-side with Bosch to…creat[e] a safer and smarter global driving community, enabled by IoT [the Internet of Things],” says Kenny Hawk, CEO of Mojio, in a press statement at Las Vegas’ CES exhibition.
“Enhanced driver safety, and the peace-of-mind that comes with it, will be a powerful benefit of connected mobility,” added Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America.
The solution is initially being offered to Mojio’s global portfolio of mobile network operator customers, though the company anticipates that the service will be available by mid-2019 in North America and Europe.
Drivers currently get their hands on Mojio through their phone contracts. In the States, T-Mobile offers the dongle and the app free to all customers who sign up for a 24-month internet plan. In Canada, wireless carriers charge around $199 for the hardware and $10 to $15 a month for the service, with some adding in free roadside assistance for users—a deal that is often cheaper than calling towing companies. Mojio is currently partnered with Bell, Rogers, and Telus.
Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays