Tech

This Little Dongle Turns Any Car Into A Smart Car

For the most part, the anatomy of a road trip has remained largely the same since we were kids. You have your books, your Game Boy, that game where you poke your Dad in the back of the head 'till he "turns this car right around." But all of that is about to change. This little doo-hickey, about the size of a Zippo, will instantly turn your car into a smart car, using a Wi-Fi connection via nationwide 4G LTE.

And that's just the beginning of what Vinli can do. Welcome to more exciting road trips, people. 

Raising 247% of its original goal on IndieGoGo in less than a month (that's um, pretty good), the Vinli is a USB-type device that plugs directly into your car's emission port (if you drive a car that was made before 1996, you're out of luck). 

I recently took a ride through SoHo with Vinli's CEO and Founder, Mark Haidar, to test out the quality of the Wi-Fi. Unfortunately for me (but thankfully for Vinli and its customers) the Wi-Fi in the backseat of this car ran smoother than my own hook-up at home. I was running Netflix, GIFing on Slack, and writing all this in a Google Drive with absolutely zero lag. 

But the Vinli is about much more than just Wi-Fi. It's also a platform for software developers to make independent apps that use your newly enhanced car to do some incredible things. Already, there are apps (most connected with a smart-phone) that set up geo-fences, monitor speed, find empty parking spots, and send you email alerts about any potential engine problems that may lie undetected. 

"The moment a person plugs their Vinli into their car, an instant link between the car and the world is created," said Haidar.

Advanced orders of the Vinli will ship in August, with everyone else having to wait until September. It retails at a very reasonable $99, with varying data plans available through T-Mobile. 


Wil Fulton is a staff writer for Supercompressor. He is writing this from the backseat. Follow him @WilFulton.

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