Automatic Labs shutdown and discontinuation of service

Important Information for Automatic Customers

According to Automatic’s announcement, the pandemic adversely impacted their business (fewer drivers on the road) so they’re shutting down all operations on 5/28/2020 at 11:59 PM. They request that Automatic adapters be recycled.

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A hardware company doesn’t go out of business because everyone parked their car for a month. So I call BS on blaming this on C19. SirusXM (Automatic’s parent) stock tanked 22% last month. IMO, this is probably cost cutting to try to save someone’s portfolio.

I have one and gave one to my brother a couple of years ago, so there is a slight chance I may be biased. Thanks for the heads up @Nechama


Don’t think your biased. I don’t own one and thought the same. To blame this on the COVID-19 pandemic is a lame excuse.

I had the same thought “A convenient excuse.”

They tried going to a subscription service not too long ago. I’m guessing it never really caught on.

Even before the pandemic hit SiriusXM had flat-to-4% guidance for all of 2020, so they must have been looking for a way to cut dead weight. 80% of its revenue is subscriptions, 10% from advertising, and anything not pulling its weight, or anything dragging it down, needed to go.

SiriusXM has always been a hot floundering mess, periodically dancing from the fire, and then lazily scooping up subscriptions with its satellite monopoly. Sirius and XM were at each other’s throats for years, both sensing that satellite would become a huge and lucrative alternative to the consolidated terrestrial radio landscape, with customers more desirable to advertisers.

Then the internet (and terrestrial-internet radio) hit. Sirius and XM merged a dozen years ago because each couldn’t survive on its own, and almost immediately after close considered filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. With a de facto monopoly on satellite radio in the US they grew and aren’t going anywhere, but their stock price hasn’t moved in a couple of years. They’ve tried to initiate growth, with purchases ranging from a cheap pickup of Pandora in 2019 in exchange for stock (which surprisingly to me immediately increased revenue by 35%), to its 2017 purchase of Automatic for $100m.

But this was probably a sound business decision, especially as radio listening is down and their unexciting guidance was probably going to get crushed.

Just saw the note in the update :frowning:

Are there any apps or hacks that can work directly with the device to get some of the functionality or was all the heavy lifting done by Automatic’s servers?

I would have thought they could have anonymized the user data and sold the driving patterns to marketing companies. But, I suppose they didn’t have a high enough market penetration to make the data useful.

Now would be a good time for Waze to buy Automatic’s remnants and provide extended services!


If I was a CEO, I’d hire you as an advisor. That makes so much sense.


@majorgear … I mean, Google bought Waze to gain their “fan base” and active social network that was voluntarily giving up a lot of data about construction, traffic patterns, traffic jams, speed-traps, etc.

So now Google has both their own map users and Waze users; this just makes sense (adds Automatic’s private and commercial buyers, etc.).

Waze was already tapped into a LOT of other networks/intelligence. Years ago, I was riding with someone who had an expensive, networked radar detector. … When it detected a speed trap or the driver identified one, the report went into their database and showed up on Waze within 30 seconds. When I asked the guy I was riding with about Waze, he said, What’s that? He didn’t know he was feeding intelligence into other networks.

I should prob. hide out. Google may want me to help them take over the world :wink:

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