'Car Genie' App Predicts Breakdowns Ahead of Time

A new device from UK's Automobile Association warns motorists of impending breakdowns.

independent.co.uk

Not only are breakdowns a deeply inconvenient part of car ownership, but they can be downright dangerous in high speed traffic or extreme weather. Modern automotive engineering has reduced breakdowns to a relatively rare occurrence these days, but UK's AA (Automobile Association) aims to minimize them even further with Car Genie. Using a device that plugs into OBDII port, users install an app on their phone that can effectively predict breakdowns, giving them ample time to head to a mechanic. 

According to The Independent, Car Genie can successfully forecast a third of all breakdowns. It accomplishes this by reading fault codes—effectively digital messages that signal any gremlins under the hood. Think of this as automated WebMD for cars, taking (unseen) symptoms and looking them up well before you have to call an ambulance. 

In addition to being able to predict breakdowns before they happen, users will have a better understanding of what's wrong with their car when they do get to a mechanic and are therefore less likely to be taken advantage of. Many trial users also reported the app helping them save gas money. For AA members across the pond, Car Genie is set to become available on May 1st and will run for £29 a year, or around $36 in today's exchange rates. 

Since the app also gathers location information as well as data on a user's "driving style," including speed, braking, acceleration, and cornering, cynics may see this as another example of eroding privacy. Is the reduced chance of a breakdown, being better equipped at the shops, and slightly better gas mileage worth your privacy and $36 a year? Let us know in the comments below.