Volkswagen and Android pair up to gamify your commute

Credit: Youtube

Volkswagen has just launched a new app that aims to make driving (even through traffic) more fun. Called SmileDrive, the app is available on Android and doesn't actually require you to drive a VW to join in on the fun — although your car will still need to be able to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

Once your car and SmileDrive are connected, the app simply runs in the background throughout your commute. When you reach your destination, you'll get a tally of your achievements, stickers and "punches". Punches stem from the old grade school game "Slug Bug" (or as VW calls it "Punch Dub", which is clearly an inferior term). Every time you pass a VW Beetle on the road, you'll get a "punch". There are a whole bunch of other achievements, too. Pass a car that looks just like your own and you'll snag a "twinsies" medal.

But Foursquare-esque achievements aren't the only things the app has to offer. If you're going on a road trip or simply want to commemorate a particular day's drive, you can set up a "SmileCast". In a SmileCast you can give each trip a title, tag passengers and let your car create a live online journal of your trip. Photos of nearby sights, stops and even those achievements will all be posted online for your friends to view. You can even save the SmileCast after your trip has come to a close.

All in all, SmileDrive looks like a lot of fun. And the app is free, so there really isn't anything to lose. If you've got a Bluetooth enabled car and an Android phone, go grab it from the Google Play Store.

VW, via The Verge

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