The premise of miaLinkup starts with a pretty big claim.
“You have full control of your vehicle from your smartphone,” miaLinkup founder CEO and CTO Ashot Avetisyan boasts.
Well not full control. It’s not like you’ll be able to send your car to the store for milk or have it come pick you up at the mall. But miaLinkup does provide some nifty control features, along with lots of information about your vehicle’s health, what it is up to at the moment and its usage history.
MiaLinkup got going on Kickstarter on Nov. 15, 2014, reached its funding goal a week later and attracted more than 1,100 preorders. The Los Angeles-based company plans to launch the product in the spring of 2016.
MiaLinkup works using a $149 device that plugs into a car’s diagnostic port (these ports became standard after 1995). The device then connects via Bluetooth to a free app available for Android, Apple and Windows phones.
6 ways miaLinkup lets you control your car by phone
Here’s a rundown of what you’ll be able to do with miaLinkup. You can check miaLinkup’s compatibility with your car here. The site indicates that some features will require the miaLinkup Pro Plus, although the miaLinkup Pro is the only option available for pre-order.
1. Control: Unlock your vehicle, pop the trunk, start the engine, hit the panic button or play music from your phone on your car’s sound system (these features may not work on all cars or may require additional hardware).
2. Status: Keep track of how much gas you have, your battery’s charge level, any diagnostic codes, tire pressure (may require additional sensors), whether the engine is running, and the current speed and RPMs. Get alerts for potential headaches.
“It monitors your engine at all times and, if there’s any problem with it, sends out an alert right away to your phone and even tells you what the problem with the engine could be,” Sahil Malkani, miaLinkup’s director of product marketing, says in a promotional video.
3. Location: Find out where your vehicle is, which can be handy in a big parking lot or garage, or when you want to make sure teenagers are where they said they would be. Get notified if your car enters, leaves or exceeds a preset speed limit of a designated "geofence" zone.
4. Safety and security: Get notified if your car is broken into, stolen, towed, and is now or has been speeding, running high RPMs, accelerating or braking excessively, or pulling high G-force maneuvers. This protects against bad guys. It’s also a good way for parents know if teen drivers have been hot-rodding or setting out on unauthorized road trips.
5. History: Get a mapped log of every trip, including miles and fuel usage. This can help parents know what their kids have been up to. It’s also good for businesspeople who need to log trips for expense reporting.
6. Head-up display: Put your phone on your dashboard, and the miaLinkup app serves as a head-up display, projecting driving information on the windshield so you can keep your eyes on the road.
Why miaLinkup likes your old car
While many of these functions are available elsewhere, miaLinkup brings them together, Avetisyan says. “It allows you to save a lot of money because all those technologies and the features are included in the device and our apps.”
If you recently bought a new car, it may have come with at least some of these features. But the average U.S. vehicle is 11 years old, Avetisyan notes. “So it will take a while until all cars will have a similar technology, and we want to bring this technology to the consumers today.”
Well, not quite today, but this spring, if all goes as planned.