Connecting car to SmartThings so gates will open when car starts? (UK)

Hi guys,

I’m trying to achieve the following: When I get in my car (to leave home) my front gates open automatically.

I am an iPhone user so can’t rely on Tasker to detect a Bluetooth connection. I was hoping that iOS shortcuts could do this but Bluetooth triggers are not fully automated and simply provide you with an on-screen notification to run a shortcut (an option but I’d like to improve on this if possible).

I’m using WebCoRE so can run advanced logic if need be.

I’m now wondering if there’s a way to connect my car to SmartThings (2013 BMW). I could then run logic along the lines of: when car starts, open gates.

I was hoping for a USB powered presence sensor to go in the car (I.e. when the presence sensor turns on (and my phone is already present) open gates). I can’t find a ready-made device just plenty of ideas including cobbling together a ST presence sensor with a cigarette lighter & a step-down transformer (12v to 3v).

Another option includes a USB powered Wifi router in the car to connect to our home Wifi (I.e. when the car’s router connects to the Wifi (and my phone is already present) open the gates). But I’m not entirely sure what Wifi router to purchase for the car (the smaller the better) or how to run the detection logic (we have UniFi LAN/WLAN hardware.

Any ideas or suggestions are welcomed. Many thanks, Andy

BMW has an IFTTT channel, but I don’t know if it works with your model. If it does, it will probably do everything you want. :sunglasses:

Failing that…

What kind of range do you need for the detection when you are coming home?

Very interesting. A quick google seems to suggest that BMW & IFTTT have now parted ways, but I’ll certainly have a look into it. I have BMW Connected Drive (which appears to be the replacement) although mine being an older car I doubt I’ll have the latest & greatest features. EDIT: I’ve checked my Connected Drive App & my vehicle doesn’t support SmartThings integration.

I didn’t mention it above, but I’d like to do this for my wife’s car also (Land Rover Discovery) which most certainly doesn’t have any ‘connected’ type apps or services.

Our presence upon arrival (and departure) is handled by SmartThings, WebCoRE & Life360 apps & geofences on mine and my wife’s iPhones (which seems to be working ok at the moment). So WebCoRE will automate the closing of the gates on departure & opening on arrival based on the presence of our smartphones. This current requirement is purely to open the gates before departure (I.e. jump in the car, start the car & the gates open).

One further annoyance about the iOS shortcut idea (mentioned above) is that the ‘run shortcut?’ notification appears every time we get into our cars (irrespective of our location) which is going to get pretty annoying.

I’ve ordered some NFC tags (iOS shortcuts) to stick in the cars as this may be a temporary solution until something a little smarter comes out of the woodwork.

EDIT: I’ve just come across this post which may help to integrate my car with ST, but I’m still stumped when it comes to the wife’s car:


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Try using a 3rd party PID that plugs into the OBDII port. A company called Automatic makes one with a robust IFTTT channel that could be configured to handle your use case I think.

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I had a look into the Automatic OBD2 devices and from what I’ve read so far:

  • they do support ‘ignition on’ events (which is great)
  • they can be programmed to GET / POST webhook upon startup (which makes ‘ignition on’ reporting a little snapper)
  • unfortunately they seem to be for US only (I’m in the UK)
  • my other concern is space in the footwell of each car but I could relocate the OBD port if required

If these can be used in the UK then please let me know. Many thanks