Sirius XM Puts More Dollars Into The Connected Car


LAS VEGAS — The “connected car” is one of the big topics being touted by the automotive industry here at the 2017 NAB Show. While not the buzz of conversation among most of the attendees and hundreds of journalists from around the world, it is nevertheless a technological progression that is now drawing attention from the TV industry — thanks to ATSC 3.0 and the next-gen standard being featured in the North Hall.

With AM and FM radio under a perceived threat of losing their dominant visual placement in the next-gen in-vehicle digital dashboard, Sirius XM is doing its part to keep its in-car and in-truck and on-motorcycle listening growth.

For an undisclosed price, the satellite radio operator is acquiring San Francisco-based Automatic Labs, a provider of connected vehicle services for consumers and enterprises.

In Sirius XM’s words, Automatic’s data-driven platform “enables vehicle owners to be safer and drive smarter.”

The company’s Automatic Pro and Automatic Lite connected car adapters are sold at retail and through Automatic Labs’ website, and provide vehicle diagnostic alerts, emergency crash assistance, fuel monitoring, access to parking information, and live vehicle location tracking. Automatic also works with insurance carriers to enable usage-based savings and teen driver coaching, and works with automotive dealers to provide tools that help manage their vehicle inventory and customer service relationships.

With the acquisition of Automatic, Sirius XM says its position “is further strengthened with data collection and analytical tools that will enrich key elements of the connected vehicle experience.”

Sirius XM CEO Jim Meyer called the acquisition “a natural fit for SiriusXM. Automatic’s innovative products have brought safety and intelligence data and analytics to the forefront of vehicle connectivity. We are excited to welcome the talented employees at Automatic to SiriusXM as we expand the possibilities of connected vehicle offerings and services for manufacturers, drivers, and enterprises.”

Gary Clayton, Automatic’s CEO, added, “Automatic is thrilled to join forces with SiriusXM at such an exciting time for the connected car. Automakers, enterprises, and consumers are looking for the best products with world-class capabilities, and our teams will continue to bring innovation to the connected vehicle landscape under Sirius XM.”

Automatic will continue to be based in San Francisco, and the Automatic brand, its products and services, and arrangements will continue unchanged.

The transaction closed in Q2 of 2017.

Financial Technology Partners (FT Partners) served as the exclusive financial advisor to Automatic. The company’s Automatic Pro adapter, with a cellular connection, is priced at $129.95. Automatic Lite, designed for consumers focused on trip logging and vehicle health, is priced at $79.95.

Automatic was founded in 2011.