Install Delphi’s diagnostics device, “and you’ve created a car with most of the features of a connected car,” Tieman said. “Nobody else can do the plug-and-play like us.”
One of the interesting little features which pops up when an owner of Vehicle Diagnostics by Delphi (Verizon picked the name) downloads the accompanying app is an item called “geofencing.”
You can put an imaginary circle around your car. Anytime the car leaves the imaginary circle, you get a text message and/or an email. Other alerts pop up when the vehicle exceeds a set speed limit for more than 5 seconds at a time, or revs over 4,000 rpm (this is a default setting, you can adjust it).
With the app, you can use the map function native to iPhone or Android to navigate, via GPS, or to see where you left the car in the huge parking lot at the airport.
Another function brings up a virtual key fob, which mirrors the functions on a regular, radio frequency-controlled key fob.
The big difference is the cloud. Anywhere a signal is available, no matter how far away, the signals on your key fob can be activated. It takes about six seconds for the signal to bounce from the device to Delphi’s servers to a smartphone.
That’s considerably better than the Onstar car unlock service, which can take a minute to work, Tieman said.
“The six seconds is really what sets us apart,” he said.
If your car doesn’t have remote start, the Delphi device won’t create it for you. But it will control any function the car already has.
Interestingly, Tieman said, next generation updates may be aimed at operators of commercial vehicle fleets, as the device serves as a relatively cheap way of collecting telematics data.