VOYO; THE FUTURE OF DRIVING
Voyo is a soon to be launched gadget designed by San Francisco based startup, Voyomotive. The Voyo is a telematics gadget that aims to save you gas by shutting down and restarting your car’s engine. This would save a lot of fuel especially in traffic jams or long stop lights.
Voyomotive estimates that the gadget can save the average driver more than $200 a year in fuel costs and cut down on over 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions though this is dependant on the driving habits of the driver.
The feature rich gadget also makes it convenient to access your car and trunk thanks to its AutoKey and AutoTrunk apps. It also promises to enhance security by allowing the car to start only when Voyo detect the owner phone inside the car.
Voyo is a small plug and play device that is almost the size of a palm. It plugs into a car’s On-Board Diagnostic Port (OBD-II Port) which is standard in cars sold in the US since 1996. The Voyo can monitor numerous computer-controlled systems, including brake and fuel systems, and reports that data back to an app on the driver’s smartphone. It can monitor every switch, button and sensor in your car or truck. This could be the first after-market device that plugs into a car’s On-Board Diagnostic Port (OBD-II Port) to save fuel.
The Voyo is feature rich. It not only starts and stops your engine when idling in traffic but it can also save your car from theft.
The Immobilizer feature prevents the vehicle from starting unless the driver’s smartphone connects to the Voyo. It can be programmed to prevent the engine from starting unless the smartphone is detected the vehicle or to remotely lock when the smartphone is at a certain distance from the parked car. The app can also be set to automatically unlock the doors as the driver approaches thanks to its AutoKey feature.
The AutoTrunk feature automatically pops the trunk for you. The EcoStart feature allows the driver to kill the engine by pressing hard on the brakes and restarting it by releasing them. This is a plus as it’s different from other apps that automatically kill the engine after a given duration. This means that the driver remains in total control. The app also calculates the car’s carbon efficiency.
How it works
Voyo uses Voyomotive’s wireless relays to control the engine of the car. The Voyo automatically feeds information into the Voyomotive Cloud which is an online database that provides Voyo owners with real-time road and weather conditions. Data on the behavior of other drivers are fed into th cloud and shared over the apps.
Voyo also uses the data from the cloud to calculate how long individual stoplights stay red. It then shows the stops with longer times on the maps to help other drivers decide what to do. For example if the app detects that drivers are activating that other drivers are activating their windscreen wipers it could mean it’s raining thus a ‘cloud’ icon appears on the app. If other drivers are swerving or braking hard then it could mean there is a possible accident ahead thus a ‘warning triangle’ appears on the app. This could potentially avoid an accident or pile-ups on the road. The app can also send text alerts to the car owner or parents if the car is being driven dangerously.
Voyo will soon be launching on KickStarter. There are two options for the Voyo being developed. The Bluetooth version of Voyo is expected to retail at $99. A network connectivity charge of $50 shall be charged per year.
The cellular version of Voyo is expected to sell at $150 and a network connection fee of $10 per month. A “Passport” system targeted at the fleet and car sharing markets is also being worked on. Few details have been released about it though.
The Voyo is better and different from similar apps in the markets. We’ll wait and see how helpful it’ll be on the road. We hope Voyomotive considers connecting to the On-Board screens or using them as displays as they could be more convenient than smartphones.