Volkswagen, Google Launch SmileDrive Driving App
Volkswagen of America and Google announced a new Android app called SmileDrive. The app, currently in beta, connects via Bluetooth to supported cars and records driving data. It is available for download now in the Google Play store.
SmileDrive runs in the background and uses on-the-road data such as location, distance, time and weather to reward users with points and virtual bumper stickers which are awards for completing specific driving accomplishments, such as the “night owl” sticker which is earned when driving late at night. In addition, drivers collect “punches” when they pass other Volkswagens running the app, playing on the classic “PunchDub” game.
Smilecast, a kind of scrapbook feature for longer road trips, creates a log of photos, maps, and memories that can be shared with friends via a unique URL. This, as well as all other achievements obtained through SmileDrive, can be shared on the user’s Google+ profile from within the app.
As SmileDrive logs the vehicle’s location, the app also can also function as a “find my car” tool using Google Maps. Although it collects data for the duration of a trip, the app itself is disabled for use while the car is in motion for safety reasons.