You might think this is a bad time to be taking your business to car companies. But UIEvolution says it’s not only engaging with automakers, it’s going to launch its technology with one automaker this summer.
Stephen Fishburn, vice president of Connected Devices at UIEvolution, says he’s been working with the auto industry for several years, and the current application is moving faster than any previous project.
That could be in part because UIEvolution offers competitors an application that competes with something Ford is already doing through Sync and Microsoft. UIEvolution’s connected car application uses a cell phone as a remote control, so drivers can unlock their car doors or find their car in a crowded parking lot without having to call someone at OnStar or some other service that offers live help. UIEvolution calls it “celling” a car.
Typically, drivers are required to push a button in the vehicle or make a phone call, spending 10-12 minutes on the phone with someone on a call that costs $5 or $6. Instead, UIEvolution has devised a system whereby the driver can serve themselves. “Think of a car as a $40,000 cell phone on wheels with a big battery,” Fishburn says.
Most vehicles have a GPS device on board, and for cars that don’t, consumers can buy and install after-market devices, he says. Currently, UIEvolution’s solution works with an iPhone or BlackBerry. The system can also tell drivers when it’s time to increase tire pressure for better safety and mileage.
The company will be showing a demo in the E-Tech area at CTIA’s April trade show in Las Vegas, where attendees will be able to use a mobile device to lock or unlock the doors or trigger the horn on a Chevrolet Aveo. The company has a demo unit now in Detroit, but it isn’t giving out the URL as it has heard complaints from people about the horn honking when it’s being tested remotely.