Virginia Startup Launches New Cell Phone Holder
A new startup thinks it has the answer to eliminate one of the biggest frustrations driving with a cell phone. The “CoPilot” holds your cell phone and your coffee while you drive so you can keep your hands on the wheel. It fits in a standard car cup holder, and it holds the phone at an angle for easy viewing while driving, ideal for turn-by-turn directions or streaming music. The product launches today on Kickstarter to get seed funds for tooling and initial production.
Heath Corso, inventor of the CoPilot, stated: “I started out looking for something to hold my phone in my car so I could charge it and see it at the same time. After seeing the options – suction cups and magnets and things sticking in air vents – I knew there must be a better solution. I talked to so many people sharing the same frustration. The CoPilot is the answer we came up with to check all the boxes: simple, hands-free, cords out of the way when charging, in an easy location to see.”
Last year he teamed up with his brother Jason to evolve the concept, work through prototypes, and submit a provisional patent filing to protect their invention. They founded a company together, Corso Domani, and started a path to production and distribution, ultimately deciding Kickstarter was the best place to launch. “It just made sense,” Jason added, “to expose the product to a vibrant community of early adopters and get the word out while raising the money to start production. Early on we debated whether to include wireless charging, which we knew would be embraced by the Kickstarter community, or just a basic version where you plug in your phone underneath to charge it, which has a broader market. In the end, we decided to offer both.”
The CoPilot offers fast wireless charging using the Qi standard, widely available in most cell phones other than the iPhone. The Kickstarter campaign includes phone cases for iPhones to enable wireless charging, as well as home and office wireless chargers for those looking to convert. Wireless charging remains a fast-growing segment, well represented at this years’ Consumer Electronics Show, which concluded last week in Las Vegas. The basic CoPilot model does not include wireless charging, but it does allow a phone to be plugged in conventionally, routing the power cord out of the way, below the phone and cradle.
According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted drivers caused over 3,400 deaths in 2015. 46 states now ban texting and driving, but laws are getting increasingly more aggressive. 14 states ban cell phone use while driving, and a new law in California took effect this month that makes it illegal to even hold a cell phone while driving. Corso agrees the goal is to get cell phones out of peoples’ hands, and in the Kickstarter video promoting the CoPilot, there is a plea for viewers to stop texting while driving. “People aren’t going to stop using their phones while driving,” commented Heath, “but we want to give them a convenient place to put their phone instead of holding it, a place that facilitates using GPS and other hands-free functions.” The video ends stating the mission of the CoPilot, “to make driving with a cell phone safer and more convenient.”
Preorder now at Kickstarter here