Raven: Equip Your Car with Smart, Connected Features

The era of smart vehicles is finally here – but not all cars can participate in the fun and excitement that comes with connected technology. This is because most modern vehicular features are only available in new car models and releases.

As a solution, Canada-based Klashwerks released the Raven, a CES 2018 Innovation Award Honoree. Klashwerks is also responsible for creating Piper, an innovative smart home system.

Connected Navigation

The Raven boasts several powerful and connected features for tech-savvy drivers. Equipped with two cameras, individuals can monitor both the road and the cabin of the vehicle. The second camera also captures hand gestures for non-intrusive commands while driving (supported by a proximity sensor). For noise cancellation, the device comes with two internal microphones.

“We’re proud to bring this product to market just in time for winter weather and the holidays,” said Russell Ure, CEO of Klashwerks and maker of the Raven. “Using IoT and connected car technology, Raven helps drivers become smarter and safer on the road and provides confidence and peace-of-mind to car owners, drivers and their loved ones.”

This device is powered by a six-core Snapdragon SOC and a customized version of Android. Users can choose what they want to see on the panel, via the official Raven app. Common options include weather, time, battery and speed. Doubling as a security device, the smart gadget can detect break ins, unauthorized door openings, minor bumps and changes in location.

For parents, the Raven offers peace of mind. Cutting-edge navigation features ensure teen drivers never get lost. Moreover, the app keeps track of trips; and a connected mapping service (MapBox) closely monitors speed limits during rides.

Things to Consider

Before purchasing the device, there are some things to consider. The Raven is only compatible with vehicles equipped with updated automotive components. If your vehicle was released before 2008, there is a chance this unit won’t work; and an OBD-II port smart device would be the best alternative (for vehicles manufactured from 1996 to present day). Some of the smart features built into the Raven requires CAN Bus communication, which was fully implemented in cars manufactured from 2008 to present day.

Next, as with most connected car services being offered today, a cellular service and GPS signal are needed. Individuals can choose their own service plan depending on usage, allowing one to avoid getting locked into a long-term carrier contract. Without a service plan, the device can still function as a dashcam and provide real-time driving information.

“A basic $8 a month plan (using T-Mobile) lets you check on your vehicle 60 times a month over video. If you want up to 120 video check-ins, it’s $16 a month, and a full-blown $32-a-month package adds remote uploading and downloading of video recordings and a total of 240 live-video check-ins,” explained John Quain from Tom’s Guide.

Installation is straightforward and seamless. A master cable handles connection between the unit and the OBD-II port (for power and data collection). Lastly, a backup battery inside the Raven ensures basic functionality during emergency situations or accidental disconnection.