As of Sunday morning, I am now one of the iPhone borg … and I’m in search of gas mileage applications. GigaOM’s Earth2Tech jumped right on the topic on Friday, with a quick rundown on 5 iPhone Apps to Help Save Gas. I didn’t catch the GigaOM post until late on Monday, when I tripped into an EcoGeek echo-post, iPhone Apps That Can Save You Gas.
While someone else might have minted the meme, there’s huge potential in turning the quest for better gas mileage into a video game. The PLX Kiwi represents the first of what is bound to be a wave of technology that makes fuel economy fun for the masses. After all, isn’t that what the big flat screen display in the Prius is largely about?
Folks like to watch animation. They like to be rewarded.
And that’s where the iPhone will rule … eventually.
This first round of iPhone Gas Mileage apps aren’t overly ambitious. They take notes and provide limited visual feedback. There’s nothing that links the display to results in real-time.
What’s needed is a combination of hardware and software … an OBDII to USB cable, along with some extremely clever programming that takes all that the data rolling out of the vehicles ECU and presents it to the driver (and passengers, of course) in a truly useful and engaging (but not overly distracting) manner … something that is even more effective than the ScanGaugeII at improving gas mileage for the masses.
The most important computer in your car is your brain. Perhaps this is an XML scenario (in some fashion) … it about simplifying an exchange of data. The developer that creates the (pretty, fun, and functional) interface that bridges the vehicle’s ECU with your brain cells will take the checkered flag.