Portland startup, Cargo, wants to be at the center of the connected car, according to company CEI, Tyler Phillipi.
Cargo is developing a device that plugs into a vehicle’s electronics and opens up the data generated to be used by app developers to create tools for connected cars. The device, a small Linux computer that connects to the cellular network and plug into the diagnostic port in the vehicle, is currently being tested with a small set of users.
“Cargo is making it easier to bring auto apps to market,” Phillipi said, adding that cars are generating data about everything from speed and acceleration, to location, to real-time fuel economy and whether the air bags are working.
The three Cargo founders — Phillipi, Chief Technology Officer Matt Wallington and Lead Developer Chuck Jewell — developed the device and software because of the difficulty they had experience in trying to build car apps using existing technology.
The team started working on the project in February 2014 and finished the year at a San Francisco hardware accelerator called Highway1. During that time the team built 30 devices for the initial group of beta testers.
“I think the apps I am excited about are the ones we hear about randomly and are the ones we never thought of before,” Phillipi said. “It’s not just talking to the car, but other things like the dashcam can become a security system, or sensors on a child seat can alert you if you leave a kid in the car.”
The company consists of eight people and is working out of an office in DynaSport, a BMW and Mini Cooper parts and service shop.