Almost everything we do these days involves a smartphone. Things like alarms, reminders, catching up with friends and family, taking photos, sharing stuff; all of them now come under the domain of the little piece of technology. Cars too, will be getting smart infotainment systems soon that can link up to any smartphone and do things remotely but a car isn’t just something you replace every year. So how can you make your current car smarter? To answer that question, a Pakistani entrepreneur duo has developed an innovative little device called CarChabi that not only completely replaces your car key, but also lets you control multiple features of your car from your smartphone.
Developed by two electrical engineers and graduates of FAST National University, Muhammad Ali Rashid and Hammad Yasir, CarChabi consists of a relatively small car kit coupled with an app for your smartphone. Once installed in a car, together the app and the kit give you a lot of extra control of your car, all from the comfort of your smartphone’s screen. The overall process is dead simple and works using Bluetooth- which, they say, will work over a distance of as big as 100 feet.
“When I graduated in fall 2014, I was free for 3 months and it occurred to me what can be the smallest thing possible that can be incorporated into a car and people need it,” said Ali, while speaking to TechJuice. “The answer was Car Chabi.”
The app is pretty basic and offers only four features,
- Lock/Unlock your car.
- Start your car.
- Turn on the heater or air conditioner.
- Car security(remotely disable your car).
Most of the functions are pretty basic, like unlocking and starting your car or turning on your air-condition/heater to make sure that the car isn’t too hot/cold. However, what’s really interesting is the remote-disable function is pretty interesting as it would render your car unable to start, even from the key. The only way to start it would be to first disable the car security feature from the app.
Designed and manufactured locally, the device is the product of Ali’s passion for cars and his thirst to do something for the Pakistani market. After graduating in fall 2014, he decided to go with CarChabi and along with his friend Hammad and managed to transform this idea into a finished product by April 2015. But, they didn’t start selling it right away.
“We started working in different companies and came to realize that our product is worth a shot. In November 2015, we left our jobs to pursue CarChabi and we have sold more than 100 kits now with an amazing feedback and zero complaints,” he said.
Cost And Warranty
The device comes with a one-year warranty and only one-time installation cost for any car in the local market. They have also embedded a handy lot of demo videos on their site using CarChabi on different cars to show off the device’s functionality.
Device cost : Rs. 6000
Installation Charges : Rs. 1500
You can order CarChabi by filling the form on their website. Currently, they are only offering direct installation service in Lahore but if you live anywhere else, the device will be delivered over TCS with an instruction manual and they will happily provide any guidance via their trained electrician over the phone.
CarChabi gives your smartphone a lot of control over your car, so naturally, one is bound to have some security concerns about it. When asked about it, Ali said that the device’s Bluetooth is secured with two layer protection, MiTM protection and uses an Alphanumeric pin. In simple words, it means that as long as you have your smartphone with you, your car should be safe and secure, even if you remove the device from the car.
Remote-locking a car has been around for a long time and it’s really a life-saver but how many times have you lost your car keys and wished you could give them a ring to find where they are? Well, instead of phone-ifying your key, you can make your smartphone your key. More importantly though, where CarChabi goes one step further is the ability to activate/deactivate utilities like the air conditioner. You can use it make sure that your car is not boiling from the heat before getting in.
The rise of smartphones has caught the eye of a lot of car manufacturers, enabling them to embed extra features to make for a better and modern, connected experience. Recently, car manufacturer Volvo also made the move to introduce an app to replace a car’s physical key, but if you are not in the market for a new car, CarChabi is a really cool and innovative way to give your old car a modern touch.