A good couple of weeks for news about connected cars. M2M module maker and Octo Telematics announced that they were joining forces to offer a self-install black box for usage-based insurance (UBI). That’s a good idea, because the costs of “professional” installation impacts negatively on the business case for UBI.

Following on with the self-install theme, the rather wonderful Canadian start-up Mojio launched a new version of its plug-in module that turns your old banger into a state of the art connected car...well, a connected car anyway. Beta versions have been available for a while, but now the commercial version is available, with bundled connectivity from AT&T and Telus.

Apps smartphone

The data is free (well, included in the $149 price of the module) for the first year and then $5 a month. What sets Mojio apart from other plug-in module propositions is its commitment to being a platform, not an application developer and provider. It plans to work with other developers, and to be what it calls ‘an app store for cars’. It already has a number of apps lined up, including location sharing app Glympse and behaviour change/social rewards app GoodCoins. It will recruit more developers.

But the real gem of last week was this story claiming that “taxis of the future will arrive before you even order them”. It cites a report by taxi-oriented ‘Uber killer’ app Hailo as the source for this, and to be scrupulously fair the actual report, by “futurologists” Ian Peason and Mark Brill, is not nearly as silly as the article.

Still, I had until now thought that the definitive science fiction vision of a future taxi was the JohnnyCab in Total Recall; I now realise that I’ve been watching the wrong Philip K Dick-based film, and that the taxi driver of the future will be based on the pre-cogs of “Minority Report”.

No-one, least of all the report authors, seem to be bothered about how much privacy you’d have to surrender to enable a taxi company Big Data platform to do this.

Well, the story was in the Daily Mail, so perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised; alongside some interesting stuff about extensions to the Hailo and Uber apps to allow for payment and delivery, and lots more about self-driving cars and trucks, there was an account of a new Arduino-based wearable device, called the “Dorothy”, that would allow you to summon taxis with a gesture. Amazing what they can do with technology, isn’t it?