Presence sensor to put in a vehicle so can open/close corresponding garage door

I am not sure if this topic has been addressed recently or not. I havent been able to find anything from recently.

I am looking for a presence sensor to place in each vehicle so that when it arrives/leaves, the corresponding garage door will open.

I cannot use the cell phone, as sometimes we switch vehicles, depending on weather, or if we need to pick up a larger item at home depot/lowes.

When Vehicle one leaves, i want door 1 to close, if vehicle 1 returns, i want door 1 to open. Getting them to close is easy, its getting the right one to open. :slight_smile:

The cell phone would work, if there was a way for smartthings to identify which Bluetooth the phone was connected to, I could then create a routine based from that. Currently, I dont see any options for this, as it is pretty limited.

I know there must be some others out there who have come across this.

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Discussion of car presence detection here. There are newer mmwave sensors (Aqara FP1/2, Everything Presence One) that allow for zoning which you could put outside the garage door and define a specific area of detection for when the car arrives.


I guess i am thinking more of a geolocation type scenario, where once Vehicle 1 is home, it would open Garage Door 1. Do you know of any presence sensors that would work off geolocation? I bought a smarttag2 thinking that would work, but that will not work as i am an iOS user.

I am thinking that if a vehicle backs into the zone, it will falsely trip, thinking that it was for that zone, and not the one right next to it.

I haven’t researched to find any geo-location type sensors that could work for your scenario. As discussed in the other topic I mentioned, many people are using the LAN Device Monitor Edge driver to see if a Wi-Fi device is on/off and using that in Routines to trigger actions. I’d take a read of that topic for more info. It’s also from late Oct of this year so relatively current.

There used to be some Zigbee arrival sensors, but they’ve all been discontinued by their manufacturers, and they’re very hard to find now.

Most people are using a Wi-Fi connection as @h0ckeysk8er described, but for that to work, you would have to keep a Wi-Fi device in the car that could be recognized by your home router. I know you said you don’t always have the same phones in the same cars, you could get an inexpensive Wi-Fi phone and use that, but then the question is how do you keep it charged.

I suppose you could try one of the inexpensive Shelly Wi-Fi sensors (they have excellent battery life) again with the idea that you would act on the sensor connecting to your home Wi-Fi. If you’re interested in talking about that idea, we can go into more details.

another alternative is to use IBeacons. This is what I use myself for a similar use case, unlocking my front door when my wheelchair arrives home. But there’s no direct connection to SmartThings. So you need at least two third-party apps (one to recognize that the ibeacon has arrived, And one to receive a Webhook and then let SmartThings know). Plus, you need an additional device to act as a receiving station for iBeacon.

This is the method I use myself, and I find it very reliable, but it is more challenging to set up than the Wi-Fi method.

The Wi-Fi method doesn’t work for me because the detection zone is too big. It can sometimes take a bus driver several minutes to get me unloaded from the bus and I don’t want my door unlocked that whole time. The ibeacon allows me to set up a detection zone which covers my wheelchair ramp.

But if you’re in a car, moving towards your home, the time between when your home router, connects with the Wi-Fi device in your car and your car arriving at home, should be brief enough that it won’t matter.

Again, just let me know if you’re interested in the details on either of those.


Yeah i tried a zigbee one prior to them stopping it, it was very unreliable at that time.

I just did a quick search looking for some phones that i could use that would have UPNP, but didnt see any that would fit the bill. I was also reading that once the phone went idle, it would drop the connection.

Honestly, this has been going on for well over a year, i have been trying to figure out the best way to solve it, and have had very little luck. I am willing to try pretty much anything. This is the only piece of my house that isnt smart enabled, and it is one of the most used items.

OK, then this thread describes The ibeacon method I use. It’s very reliable for a pretty small detection zone, but it should cover most driveways. The original question was from someone in the UK, but it should work in any region.

iBeacons+iOS+SmartThings (UK) presence [updated in 2023]

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My cars each have little buttons below the rear view mirror that open the garage doors when I press them. I can decide which door opens by which button I press. :sunglasses:

Yeah, mine do too, but they dont work until you are right up on the door for some reason. It is also nice knowing that the door is going to shut if you forget to shut it.

Odd. My driveway is about 200ft long (in the country on small acreage). The homelink buttons in both our cars will open the door from the road.

I keep thinking about automating the garage doors but I feel like there are too many cases where automatic operation would do the wrong thing.

For what my opinion in worth I think the only thing that’s going to give you the precision you want will be the mmwave sensors mentioned above. There is at least one thread here which discusses using them as presence sensors with SmartThings.


That’s a different kind of presence. That’s an occupancy sensor: “there is a car on the right side of the garage.” OP needs an arrival sensor: “John’s car has just arrived home.”

mmWave sensors of the kind available to use with SmartThings are generally not useful outdoors, too many false positives.


You make a good point that the Homelink communications are subject to the same kind of interference as any RF device. The receiver inside the house may need to be relocated so that it is near a window or higher up in the room to give it better range. Some trial and error may be needed.

I know some people with insulated metal garage doors who have ended up, putting the homelink receiver, near a window in another room for example. :thinking:

NFC tag might be a solution. Each car have a NFC tag for it and just place your phone to trigger automation etc.

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If you have a Samsung phone you could use the Modes and Routines app. A routine can be created in which the trigger is when the phone is connected to a specific Bluetooth device (such as the car) and the cell phone connects to a specific WiFi network (your home network). This could then trigger device actions in Smartthings.


All good ideas.

Personally, I prefer for the car to have its own presence identity in a set up like this rather than relying on a specific phone, since if I’ve loaned the car to a helper or guest I still want the correct garage door to open when the car returns. Even if the person borrowing the car doesn’t have a smart phone at all.

The ibeacon method will work well for that, but the total cost is high, because you need an ibeacon receiving device, as well as the ibeacons themselves. So, as often happens, it comes down to the exact details of the use case. :thinking:

Choice is good.

emm… QR code for webhook to trigger automation is another cheap solution which doesn’t require specific phone as long as they have phone

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Yes you are absolutely correct! However, I did come across a scenario this morning where the mmwave sensor would have helped.

I had put way too much “crap” in the garage bay, so my wife parked outside for the night. When she went out the door this morning to go to work, i have a routine created that it automatically opens the garage door for her when she opens the door to the porch, so she can just go in through the bay. However, it opened, not knowing that the vehicle was outside.

Looks like i will be needing both the mmwave, as well as the arrival sensors!


Understood. They are both very useful devices, they just give you different information. :sunglasses:

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This obviously can’t work for everyone…

My 2023 Nissan includes geolocation service and I am able to configure a rule that sends my phone a text message when the car arrives or leaves a small geofence around my house. (You can set up similar rules for any geolocation.)

I then set up my Samsung phone to turn on/off an ST virtual switch/sensor I named “Car presence” depending on the text message content I received. Samsung phones have a feature/app called “Modes and Routines” that allows you to do this.

The result is a car presence sensor in ST that you can use in ST Routines , Alexa Routines, etc.

Even though you use your Samsung phone’s Mode and Routines app as part of the solution, your phone doesn’t have to be in the car for this to work. But your phone does have to be powered on somewhere on planet earth where it is connected to the internet. Also, I believe the Nissan geolocation services require a subscription after the initial trial period of the new vehicle.

Unrelated: I also use Samsung Modes & Routines to automatically turn on my phone’s wifi hotspot feature when the phone’s bluetooth connects to my car. This then allows my car to automatically connect to my phone’s wifi hotspot instead of paying a subscription to use my car’s built-in at&t cellular modem. The same routine automatically turns off the hotspot when the bluetooth disconnects.


While Modes and Routines is Samsung-specific there is an app called Tasker that’s been around forever which could probably do the phone part of this on any Android phone. I used it a very long time ago when I was playing with using NFC tags to trigger actions.