I spent some time with an Automatic car device trying to get more detail from my last car's very anemic gas tank and inaccurate gauges. It didn't solve the problem, but provided me with a lot of very valuable information about my car and driving habits.
I got to thinking: Why aren't there more hardware/software solutions for smartphone car integration? My current car is a more "pared down" version than the top-of-the-line so it doesn't include backup sensors or a rear camera. I also have noticed that "dash cams" are increasing in popularity all the time. The difficulty with both is that they are either awkward to install or hard to get data from.
Backup cameras need hard installation, power wiring, and either a car stereo with backup camera features or an additional display mounted somewhere in the car. Dash cams require hanging something from either the rear view mirror or windshield and a wire hanging down. They also require having a laptop handy to collect data from.
Here's a solution: A combination camera gadget and smartphone app. On connection, the app can either function as a backup camera streaming live from the car or it can download a length of recorded video recording time from the dash/crash cameras. Installation can be relatively easy and non-permanent by having the front camera in a rearview mirror clip on and long, easy-to-run wire that goes around the edge of the windshield. The rear camera can mount to the license plate frame and run through normal trunk/plate-light wiring paths.
I'd buy it. My phone already has a place to permanently sit on my dash, but I don't want to add an extra screen for a backup camera and I don't want to add an additional windshield gadget for a dash/crash cam.
(this idea is NOT patented by me, so it is free for anyone to make without giving me money)