Frequently Asked Questions

Below, you will find a list of frequently asked questions. If your question is not answered on this page, use the contact form to ask us for an answer!

Automatic is first an app, which means that your data is stuck in a bit of a ‘silo,’ and is only usable with a few selected partners. Their device is Bluetooth, can only access OBD information, and everything is closed source. There is no provision for actuation and the data set is quite limited (only 23 parameters are legislated in the OBD specification). In contrast, CarKnow and the CARduino support an open ecosystem and application platform. Have a great idea? You can buy an existing app, or if it doesn’t exist, make it yourself, and you can take your data with you to other services. For the hardware, we are primarily GSM (which eliminates the user reliance and phone battery drain of Bluetooth), the device itself captures GPS and acceleration data, and we can access data from manufacturer networks, as well as control devices on those networks. The next version has a Bluetooth module available for users who prefer not having a monthly data plan for their car and can deal with a shorter range. Our device offers a much richer data set (500+ parameters in some vehicles), and information generated can be more easily used with other products and services.

Carvoyant is a GSM development platform for vehicles, enabling broader application development. It again uses only OBD and GPS data, captured by a closed-source device. That makes for limited data sets with no possibilities for actuation. By contrast, our platform is open, taps into richer data, enables actuation, and has a simple API so that users can write their own apps quite quickly. The privacy and security models for Carvoyant are a bit different as well, and they lack a clear visualization as to what data are being shared, with whom, and why.

The CARduino delivers value unlike any other vehicle telematics solution, but rest assured you’ll be satisfied with our pricing! Additional details will be posted to the site as they become available.

The CARduino supports all CAN-enabled OBDII and EOBD compliant vehicles. That means all vehicles in the US and Europe from 2008+, and many from 2004+. A quick Google search should provide an answer — and details on where your diagnostic connector is located.

We will incorporate a list of supported vehicles here shortly.

The CARduino software will be released under a BSD-style license.

The server code should be released under a similar license.

OBD2 only requires 23 of 197 defined parameters to be reported. These parameters are BORING and emissions-only – anything remotely useful, like fuel level, remains hidden. Further, OBD is read-only (no actuation)
OBD2 is necessary but not sufficient. To realize maximum value, a solution must use OBD and manufacturer-proprietary CANbus networks for richer data and control possibilities. No third-party diagnostic hardware does this.

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From the above graphic, you can see a list of the parameters defined and the smaller subset that must be reported. Note that there are no actuators! For comparison, take a look at what we could access, if we were to use the manufacturer network (as the CARduino does).

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These devices rely on Bluetooth and a middle device for communication (we call it MMC, for machine-machine-cloud). The user must therefore have a phone in the car, paired with the device, to get live data – otherwise the data are lost.
CarKnow is direct-to-cloud, MCM (machine-cloud-machine), improving realtiming and eliminating user reliance. A local storage buffer ensures that temporary network errors don’t lead to lost data.

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No! The question highlights the problem: the market is filled with applications, while the challenge of complex access is best addressed with a platform.
CarKnow’s platform-focus eases access for developers by providing a common, easy-to-use API, abstracting complex data access. CarKnow supports the recreation of all existing OBD2 visualizers, all actuation-capable telematics solutions, and now a new breed of applications: context-based software with scalable cloud processing power.

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Telematics solutions are closed-silos. Data stays within one make, or sometimes even a single model.
Aggregating data across brands vastly increases data availability, lowering barriers to deploying Big Data apps (earlier rollout, broader regional coverage).

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No. The Magnuson-Moss Act states that your warranty cannot be voided by aftermarket upgrades, so long as the upgrade itself did not cause the failure in question.

CANbus is an unencrypted standard, so to “hide” data means creating an entirely new network in the vehicle. Given the cost of engineering an automotive platform, and the fact that CAN was designed to reduce wiring, this is unlikely. Published technology roadmaps agree.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act prohibits the manufacturer of a vehicle from denying warranty coverage unless the user altered something that could reasonably lead to a component failure. Because CarKnow uses the manufacturer’s own commands, this is unlikely to be a concern.

CarKnow is all about crowdsourcing. By putting high-quality tools in the hands of makers, CarKnow hopes to build a Wiki-style database of commands at a platform level. Early platforms will be reverse engineered and published directly by CarKnow employees.

CarKnow puts a huge emphasis on your data’s privacy and your vehicle’s security. We have state of the art data protections that meet or exceed those used by major telematics companies, and we will never share your data without your consent. Our clear privacy controls show what data your choose to share, with whom, and for what purpose, and digital valves let you shut off the flow of information at any time with ease.

That question depends on consumer demand. CarKnow would never release a product which it felt was unready for distribution, but developing great hardware costs money. CarKnow continues to explore a range of business models to deliver high-quality hardware and software to end users without compromising quality, security, or our corporate integrity.

Go ahead and sign up for our mailing list to tell us that you’re interested! We’ll let you know when our Kickstart campaign goes live and the CARduino devices are made available for sale.

To sign up for information, please fill out our Google Form. Use our mailing list at the bottom of this page to sign up for information about our upcoming Kickstart campaign and be the first to get started with CarKnow!