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Finally, An App That Tells You When Your Car Has Been Hit Or Stolen

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These days, there's an app to suit nearly everyone -- apps for the fuel-conscious, apps for coffee-lovers, apps for actual lovers. But what about an app for people who are tired of having their cars beat up in parking lots? Mi Alerts may be the just what the doctor (or mechanic) ordered.

Mi Alerts is a little more complicated than some apps we've seen in previous weeks, but that's to be expected. Applications like Drive with Dash only need to access your car's onboard computer, but Mi Alerts needs to sense impacts and to take photos of the vehicle that's hit your car.

As a result, Mi Alerts requires more work to install. This video shows how to attach the Mi Alerts base device under the hood of your car and how to attach a front-facing video camera. There are a few wires to juggle, and the camera isn't quite as small (or elegant) as we'd like, but it seems to do the trick. Additional cameras can be placed along the rear and sides of your vehicle, though the video doesn't explain how those connect with the base device.

Once that's done and you've downloaded the Mi Alerts app, you'll be ready to go. Among the service's many features:

Impact alerts: If your car is hit, you'll receive a notification on your mobile device. Mi Alerts rates the impact, so you'll know if it's severe or if someone simply tapped your bumper on the way out of her parking space.

Photos and videos: When your car is hit, the Mi Alerts camera takes a photo of the offending vehicle. It also records a short video for verification.

GPS locator: The Mi Alerts base device includes a GPS locator, which will come in handy if your vehicle is stolen, if it's towed, or if you just can't find it in the parking lot.

Info exchange: If the vehicle that hits your car is also equipped with a Mi Alerts system, you'll receive relevant contact info via the Mi Alerts app. Think of it like leaving a note on someone's windshield, but much faster.

Driving habits tracker: Like other devices we've seen, Mi Alerts can track things like speed, braking, and such. The company is in talks with insurance companies to provide discounts for Mi Alerts users who maintain good driving habits. However, since Mi Alerts likely relies on GPS, it may be less accurate than services that pull data directly from a car's onboard computer, meaning that insurers may be reluctant to sign on. 

Mi Alerts is in pre-production, and it's launched an IndieGogo campaign to raise funds for the first set of devices. As you'll see from the overview video posted above, the company plans to develop similar systems to protect your home, and tracking devices for pets and children. If you're interested, now's your chance to get in on the ground floor.

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