"That raises the question of who might use your driving data against you."
Insurance companies will. As some automotive engineers recently pointed this out to me, it is a real concern, since your car is collecting data about your driving behavior more than you want to know.
Thanks for all the questions and here are some answers.
Is it useful? after 4 days of use I think it is, it beeps annoyingly when I accelerate or brake too hard but I have turned those features off. It does show me speed, miles driven, fuel consumption and trip data so it could be very useful for people who need to track and claim mileage for work. If the car misbehaves it will show local mechanics and can send signals in a crash to designated numbers. So is it a revolutionary device? no its not but its a small step along the Internet of Things highway. I think car manufacturers are goign to see this and decide to offer it to customers themselves becuase there are HUGE marketing opportunities here for location based services and just think how much money can be made by selling gas, coffee, food etc...
Janine: From David's article, I believe the idea is to look at the data AFTER you drive so that you can review info like MPG, mileage and duration. Besides, there are plenty of distractions already when you're driving, not the least of which is an onboard navigation system. I don't have one, but I see people drifting out of lane all the time while checking to see where they are.
David: Good post! It made me want one, too. But I do have questions: a) Droid? b) I'm not sure my car even has a plug for an onboard system. How would I know (or is it obvious in cars newer than my Acura?) Thanks.
Karen: Is it useful? I think so. I once test-drove a BMW 530i that had a little meter showing how much gas you were burning at any given moment. When it idled, it sat at about 18. When I accelerated from a dead stop, it dipped to about 9. And when I stepped on it to enter the freeway, it went down to about 6. I liked the car and it was a good price, but I couldn't stop thinking about how much gas it was burning. I ended up with an Acura.
It would be nice to have data like that so you could analyze your driving pattern. And it could prove invaluable should you ever have an accident. EG: If someone says you were going at least 50, you could calmly whip out your data and say, "Actually, I was going 24.2 mph just before impact."
I purchased a PLX Devices KIWI Bluetooth OBD-2 scanner 2 years ago and have been using it on Android using Torque Pro ever since. There are any number of ELM32 based bluetooth adapters on the market today, most of them have the API available so that you can write your own apps. Existing apps provide the ability to show real time data as well as logged data.
The better apps integrate the GPS, compass, and inertial sensor data from the phone along with the OBD-2 data to povide comprehensive trip data.