Carvoyant enabled connected car integration w/ ST

Hey everyone,

Our team just finished getting our connected car platform working with our SmartThings connected office and we wanted to share what we’ve done with the ST community. We’d love feedback from more experienced ST users/developers on what we did, how we did it, what we can do better, and what you would like to see in terms of integrating a connected car into your connected home/office.

Our write up, and links to source files on github, are here:

If you already have a Carvoyant connected car this will work with your car as is, you just need to create a developer account. If you just want to see how it all works, you can use our sandbox environment to test out the integration and simulate vehicle data. If you already have a connected car from a different service and you want to make use of this system, I can help guide you through that as well but it is more complicated (it would involve sending your vehicle data to a web service in our system).

Thanks and enjoy!

@mattgalvin - hey I hope you are watching.

Perhaps you want to signal an alarm in your house if the battery in your car is running low while it’s parked outside?

YES I do want. Can’t see how that works, I have a bunch of ELM327 transmitters and a smartphone that reads them all, but they all shutdown when ignition is off.

I didn’t find anything about physical setup for Carvoyant, just sandboxing. Would I need your hardware?

This looks very cool. How do I know that the features you show in the example (start/stop/lock/unlock/etc.) will work with my vehicle?

Also, just to make sure I have this right, I’d have to pay $99/year for the device with the service plus $1/month for the API access, correct?

The ELM327 devices are great to tinker around with but they’re a bit hard to build a “polished” application around. And monitoring without a mobile device and the car on just won’t work with them.

For production Carvoyant accounts, we have several devices that we support (we don’t build our own hardware, we’re a middleware/api platform that uses off the shelf hardware that we purchase wholesale). Pricing for consumers currently is $99 / year. That includes hardware, connectivity and unlimited (both loosely throttled) API access to your account. If you’re interested in buying hardware, you can order it here. Developers looking to build and distribute applications on our platform have different pricing arrangements. Drop me an email offline ( if you want more information about that. I don’t want to this into a marketing thread :).

@zj4x4 - Couple of things. The feature we are showing here are ignition start and stop and geofence based on GPS location. Lock and unlock of vehicle doors are not supported by the current generation of consumer OBDII devices. GPS will work on all OBDII equipped vehicles. Other features are dependent on the year/make/model. Pure electric vehicles have very poor support in these devices. Hybrid vehicles or vehicles with engine off economy modes (ie, engine off at a stop) will collect data but the “ignition” cycle is detected when the gas engine turns on or off. If you let me know what kind of vehicle(s) you’re looking at connecting I can let you know our experiences with them, if any.

For all purchases, we do offer a full refund within 60 days if the device does not work as expected in your vehicle. As I said, consumer pricing is a flat $99/year/device, API calls are included in there. The $1/month pricing is if you are selling an application that other Carvoyant users are using, which is probably not applicable to anyone on here.

Having said all that, I really really would like you all to play around against our sandbox before you consider a hardware purchase. We’re new to SmartThings and it’s quite likely the code we posted will need some tweaking. I don’t want anyone ordering under the assumption that it’s going to work a certain way in ST and then it doesn’t. Of course, you’ve got 60 days to return it if you decide. Your call!

Matt, do you have more detailed info about the hardware, its connectivity, and ODBII supported functions/features?

Hey everyone -

One thing I need to clarify from my previous response. The current functionality of the aftermarket devices that we support is read only. So when I say ignition start and stop, it means we trigger an event into ST that the ignition start or ignition stop was detected. We do not have the ability to remotely start or stop the vehicle.

The only way that those kind of features will become available through platforms such as ours is if the manufacturers allow us to integrate directly with their OEM telematics solutions. Something we are eagerly looking forward to doing but it’s going to be awhile before aftermarket services like ours are given access to do so.

@scottinpollock - The superset of data that we collect using the current devices can be found here. I say superset because not all vehicles will return all pieces of data. Unfortunately there is no comprehensive list that describes every vehicle which is why we allow a full 2 months return window. We have both 2G (GPRS) and 3G (HSPA) devices out in the wild from CalAmp, Xirgo Technologies, and Velio. For our 2G devices that we use here in the US, T-Mobile is our provider. For 3G service domestically and internationally we use AT&T. The Velio device we purchase connectivity from them so I don’t have visibility into the exact carriers used.

Often the comparison is made between the devices we use and bluetooth devices that are based off of ELM327 or a similar chipset. Using a serial connection over bluetooth it’s possible to directly query the vehicle and depending on the chipset get full CAN access (assuming you know the messaging to use). With cellular devices like what we use the transmission bandwidth is far too small to allow that detailed an access so the hardware manufacturers typically provide a smaller fixed data set (that I referenced previously). Both types of devices have their advantages and disadvantages. We’ve looked at supporting those bluetooth devices but just haven’t had the business case to do so.

One final thing I will add is that Carvoyant is a connected car platform. Our focus is true middleware. Our goal is to make it simple for end “users” (really applications) to interact with a connected car without having to care about how it is connected. We are continuously looking to support new ways of connecting car and as more advanced hardware becomes available we will add support to our system for it. Not that dissimilar to how smart home platforms like ST function, we’re just focused on automotive. As a part of that, we also have created an “inbound” API into our system for people/companies who may want to collect the vehicle data on their own and transmit it to us to make use of our other services.