What is AutoPi and What Does It Do?
What is AutoPi and What Does It Do?
AutoPi is an Internet of Things (IoT) device which communicates directly with vehicles and performs automated functions. Due to AutoPi’s Iot-connectivity, a car’s many software-related components can be updated “over-the-air” (OTA). For example, if a radio stops working, it is more likely to require an OTA software update rather than an actual trip to the manufacturer. It is the same with your car, AutoPi makes it more intelligent. AutoPi allows you to develop features that are manufacturally not included and enhance vehicle performance through software only.
All features such as controlling windows, doors, radio, AC or engine and recorded data including vehicle diagnostics, location tracking or battery state are made remotely available and updatable anytime and anywhere from your computer, tablet, mobile or smart watch.
All this provided from an open cloud platform for the device.
AutoPi is a solution based on Raspberry Pi technology, but it also uses a number of other high tech tools that grant users to access valuable functions. A technology that creates opportunities.
How Does AutoPi Work?
The AutoPi device plugs into the OBD-II port of your car. OBD stands for on-board diagnostics and it is the port your mechanic plugs into when diagnosing a problem with your car or clearing an error message (DTC). OBD-II port is standard available in all cars manufactured after 1996, where it was made mandatory by law. It became mandatory in the European Union after 2001 for gasoline vehicles and 2004 for diesel vehicles.
Once connected, the AutoPi device will automatically start working. It has 3G/4G connectivity, so it can connect to the Internet, and you can connect to it wirelessly.
AutoPi also features:
- A speaker
- Two USB ports
- An HDMI port
- GPIO pins
- 4G LTE
- An internal accelerometer to give you g-force information
- GPS functionality for tracking your car’s position
Your AutoPi connects to an online dashboard that you can log into from any device – your phone, tablet, computer etc. This gives you access to the AutoPi’s settings, as well as any data that it’s capturing. This dashboard has customizable with widgets, so you can set the display to only show what you really need.
What AutoPi Can Do
AutoPi can record CAN massages. Controller Area Network (CAN bus) is just like the nervous system in the human body. It is enabling communication with components in all parts of the vehicle. For example when you are rolling down your window, a message is sent. AutoPi can record this message and play it back to your car which will have a result of you being able to remotely roll down your window via AutoPi’s cloud.
AutoPi can gain data through antenna or network capabilities and send that to your AutoPi’s cloud, so you can read environmental data of your vehicle such as GPS locations.
With AutoPi, you can also set triggers within your dashboard, which is where the functionality of the AutoPi really starts to come though. Triggers are based on the well-known principle of “If This, Then That”, i.e., in the event of something happening, you should take a particular action. For example, if you’re a parent, you could set triggers that activate whenever one of your children is driving your car (the AutoPi can be extended to automatically detect who’s driving). An example of such a trigger would be programming AutoPi to send you an SMS message every time your car goes faster than a speed that you’ve pre-set.
Triggers are not just about getting notifications, however, as they can also perform critical actions in the car’s function. For example, you can set a trigger that activates when the AutoPi detects a situation where you brake heavily. This trigger could activate an action that automatically turns on your hazard lights to warn tailing drivers that you’ve stopped abruptly, helping to prevent anyone from rear-ending you.
A New Way of Thinking
The AutoPi represents a user-centric approach for collaborating and co-creating connected car solutions, since it’s an easily extendable open source platform. The AutoPI platform is available to developers and the AutoPi community to create new extensions, features, add-ons or third party implementations such as cameras, sensors or a touchscreen.
Examples of Things You Can Build with AutoPi
Some of the practical uses of AutoPi have already been mentioned, but here are some extra tricks you can build with the AutoPi.
AutoPi can be used to build these features:
- Protect your car against theft: You can set your AutoPi to deliver a notification every time your car starts. This could give you early warning that your car is being stolen. The AutoPi can also track the car's movements and location, even if the car is not running. See more HERE
- Voice commands: You can easily connect a microphone to your AutoPi and then customize it to accept voice commands using Googles Cloud Speach API or similar. See more HERE
- Connect an external camera: You can even connect an external camera to your AutoPi. In fact, this is one of the things that you can control through voice commands if you also have a microphone attached. You can set the camera to automatically take a photo or start recording when a particular event occurs. In addition, you could set the camera to monitor and recognize things like road signs, where the AutoPi gives you voice commands or sounds alarms according to your settings. See more HERE
- Eco driving alerts: You can set the AutoPi to monitor how the car is being driven, enabling you to change your driving behaviour to a more economical style, which saves you money. See more HERE
- Crash protection and notifications: If your car doesn't already have crash prevention assistance, you can access this functionality with AutoPi. You will need an external proximity sensor that is then connected to the AutoPi. Following that, you can set it to sound an alarm when it detects an imminent collision. Furthermore, you can set the AutoPi to send you a notification if it detects that your car has been in a crash. This is definitely useful when other people drive your car. See more HERE
- Remote safety monitoring: You can set the AutoPi, for example, to send you a message when your car is being driven, but the seatbelts are not being used. You can set this notification so that it only triggers when you are not driving the car. You can also set geofences, which will deliver notifications when the car is being driven in a particular location, or to warn you of erratic driving behavior. These triggers can also be set to sound warnings inside the car using AutoPi’s built-in speaker. See more HERE
- Remote Lock/Unlock vehicle: In some cars, it is possible for AutoPi to lock or unlock your car’s door directly from the AutoPi cloud. This is useful when you are sharing or renting out your car often, for example, so there is no trouble handing over physical keys.
- Monitor EV battery charging state: You can set AutoPi to monitor the charging level of an electrical vehicle’s battery or to send you notifications when the charging is completed / failed or when the charging level is critical. It is also possible to Keep track of driving power to see what is draining your battery or get information about battery health. See more HERE
- Monitor equipment location: Due to bluetooth connectivity, AutoPi is capable of detecting other bluetooth enabled devices,so you can set your AutoPi to display in the cloud if all the necessary bluetooth marked tools or equipment is located in the vehicle. No more lost working equipment.
The above mentioned examples are just some of the incredible things you can create, but the real potential of AutiPi is with the true innovators.
Are you ready to try the future of driving experience in your car? Join the discussion on our community site or contact us at email@example.com.
Other blog posts for further reading
Carsharing: How to use your AutoPi for short term lease car sharing
Carsharing is a growing field within the car rental industry, and not just in the US, but also in places like in Denmark and several other countries. So, what is “Carsharing”? The concept of carsharing comes from the “sharing economy”, in which certain parts of the private sector is becoming more and easily accessible through sharing between private parties and with the help of a developing platform.
Discover hidden functions in your car (using CAN bus sniffing)
All modern vehicles today is controlled by multiple Electronic Control Units (ECU), which you can think of as small computers controlling all electrical components in your car. Using the OBD-II port and an AutoPi it is possible to communicate with the ECUs. One of the ECU’s is called the Engine Control Module (ECM). This is responsible for communication with a lot of subsystems, like transmission, power steering, windows and doors. These subsystems communicates on a network bus called Controller Area Network (CAN), by broadcasting messages on the bus.