60 seconds with the team that wants to make every car smart

Wouldn't it be great if you could change your car's head unit as frequently as you do your smartphone? Enter Onics, a startup that's crafted a dashboard-mounted module that lets you turn your phone into your car's nerve center. Essentially, the hardware's just a double-din unit with a locking clip up front, that'll accept any Android or iOS smartphone that's up to six inches in size. Rather than trailing a power wire from the 12V socket, there's a built-in microUSB or Lightning port, and if your vehicle supports it, you'll even be able to start the car with your mobile.

Even better, is that the unit connects to your car's on-board diagnostics port, enabling it to tell you if there's a problem - for instance, if you're running low on fuel, it'll offer directions to the nearest gas station and even tell you the price. For now, we're looking at prototype hardware that's been 3D printed, but Aaron Speach, the former Best Buy employee behind the company, is leveraging in-car audio technology from Texas Instruments to ensure that audiophiles are pleased with the sound quality. It's certainly an idea that deserves more attention, and if we can save money on the price of our next car by ditching the expensive HUD for our phone, then it's certainly something we'd consider. As for right now, Onics is asking for patronage as part of our Insert Coin: New Challengers competition at Engadget Expand 2014. If you're curious to learn more, check out the video below and take part in the poll afterward.

Engadget Expand: 60 Seconds with Onics

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.