Remote Car Starter integration?


(Greg) #1

Hello gang,
Wondering if any remote car starter would be able to hook up to ST in some way. Ideally I’d ask Echo to “Alexa, turn on my car”.

Is this possible now or soonly without hacking car wiring?

I’m assuming Automatic would never be able to provide this functionality since it’s hooking into the diagnostics port.


(Greg) #2

Surprised no one is into this. Sounds like we’d have to hack a key fob to get this integrated.


#3

Yes.

Technically, this really isn’t any different than hacking any other button remote, whether to control a hospital bed or a big screen TV riser or a fan control. There are certainly ways to do one that would be controllable by either Alexa or smartthings or both.

The problem is that this is a hugely dangerous project. A car which is started at the wrong time can kill people, even if it never moves at all. Just filling the garage with carbon monoxide is enough.

So it isn’t the turning on process that’s complex – – it’s what you’re turning on.

Several carmakers are looking into various kinds of voice starting for their cars, but they are all also building in a number of safety features to go with that.

My personal opinion is it hacking your own remote is just asking for trouble. I’d wait until your car dealer offers the option and then you can look around for the best value method to get that done. Best Buy will probably offer it once it’s something that can be done safely. :sunglasses:


(Fernando Mora) #4

Viper has Smart Start, it allows me to turn my car on from an App on the phone or my watch. The car turn off automatically after 7 or 20 minutes addressing any safety concerns. As I understand it the app requires a user and PW and as of yet does not allow tokens (I’m not a programmer so I assume that means allowing another app to bypass credentialing)

I would love to turn on my car via Alexa. Guess we’ll have to wait.


(The Viking AKA "Holy Crap You're a Giant!") #5

I was looking into this a while ago using an Arduino and the Smart Shield. I don’t have the coding chops to make it work, but I can do hardware super-easy.

I have remote start/keyless on every vehicle, and my plan was to integrate the arduino in a manner that would allow SmartThings to lock/unlock the doors, pop the trunk and start or turn off the car.

All of the systems I have can operate from the key fob, or be triggered externally by grounding a wire. The arduino would receive the command to start, it would then ground the trigger wire for the remote start module momentarily, and the car would start using the same logic/safety/control methods as if you had pushed the button on the fob, including auto-shut off, etc.
To shut the car off, it grounds the lead momentarily again, and the car shuts off.

For locks/trunk, it would do the same, except the arduino would control the locks directly using relays, or it would trigger the wires on the remote start unit to control the locks/unlocks if the unit supported external triggers for those as well.

I just couldn’t find anyone to write the code for me and create a smartapp that would tie into the system.

My long term goal was that if I took off somewhere with the only set of keys for one of the cars at home, my wife could still get things from the trunk/car simply by asking Alexa to open the car, or the trunk, etc. Starting the car and seeing a status in SmartThings of whether the car was running or not would be nice, as well as the ability to potentially monitor battery voltage at a glance.


(Lonny Selinger) #6

Just curious; isn’t there the possibility of integrating with exiting Web APIs for some starters? I’ve found some PHP code that allows access to the web interface to submit requests for things like Smart Start (PHP Code Here ) … is there not a way to write something in ST that would allow you to tie into this as well? I haven’t looked too deeply into hacking ST devices and applications but it seems if something can be controlled via IP through a service or web API it might be relatively easy to integrate it into ST. Are there and seasoned devs with ST that could comment? :smiley:

I’m in Canada so although I can use my watch (Pebble), my phone app, or my remote to start my car, it would be great if I could make it part of ST even just for scheduling. Or have it so that on specific dates after I leave my room to get ready when it shuts off my lights in the bedroom and turns on my outside light, it also starts my car to warm it up in the winter 15 minutes before I leave.


(Scott) #7

Cars equipped with OnStar have the option of starting their car via the app.
https://www.onstar.com/us/en/services/myvehicleapp.html


(Rob) #8

I realize this thread is a bit old but my wife and I just purchased a ST hub for ourselves in Jan and I just started playing around with device types. That said, I put together a “Smart Start” device handler for SmartThings that works OK for the basics at least and thought I would share. I have a Viper Smart Start but others use the same back end. If anyone knows of a better version or a way to collect the current status of the vehicle I would love to hear about it.


(Greg) #9

Thanks @rleonard55. That’s super cool!!

I’ve done a bit of obsessing over this and have come up with 3 options for getting Alexa to start your car. Please friends let me know if you can think of others.

Expensive
Viper Smart Start.
Purchase the Viper Smart Start add-on to your remote starter ($150) and a cellular service plan from Viper ($189 for 3 years) and use the above DH or create your own integration based on the unofficial web API’s for Viper. Seeing as these are unofficial they could disappear at any time, have not been updated in 2 years and there is no support from Viper themselves.

  • Most elegant. Most expensive. Security risk. You don’t lose a key fob. Could go away at any time.

Mid Range
Use a MicroBot Push to physically click a key fob.
Set up a project box somewhere in your house that contains your remote starter key fob and the MicroBot Push finger/button device ($30-$50). You will need also need the Prota Hub ($90) to make the connection to IFTTT/Alexa. (It does look like you could install the hub software on a RPi3 ($35+) as well.) I would expect some lag from IFTTT. Also not sure if the microbot retracts fast enough. On my key fob, if you press and hold, it unlocks the doors instead of starting the car.

  • Lag with IFTTT. Lose a key fob. Admittedly haven’t tried it.

Cheapest
Hack the key fob.

  • Requires a bit of engineering know how. You’re putting your key fob (and maybe more) at risk. Cost of a zwave switch ($30) plus some extra parts ($10?)

Interested to hear what you all think about these options?


(Lee) #10

Thanks for the effort. I have a Viper Smart Start installed. Does this still work?

Is this installed as a device or smart app?


(Rob) #11

It’s a device handler (ie not a smartapp) and works fine for me. I use it with the native google home integration to lock/unlock/stop/start my truck regularly. If you have any trouble let me know and I’ll do what I can to help out.

-Rob


(Lee) #12

Thanks Rob. I’ll give it a try this week.

Lee


(Greg) #13

Hey all,
So I went with the mid-range option above (using the Microbot Push/Prota) and having pretty decent success. I built a cradle for it out of a small piece of wood and a decora light switch cover. (one of the screwless kinds for a cleaner look) I put a little rubber bumper on the key fob to make it easier for the Push to do it’s job.

I went with a Raspberry Pi 3 as the hub for the Push and installed the free ProtaPi OS. ProtaPi seems to run very sluggishly. Set up is not trivial either. You don’t need to know how to code, but using the mobile app to configure the hub is a major PITA. I have to assume buying the ProtaS is at least easier on the setup side. Still, the cost is hard to beat and Naran has confirmed they’re working on a version of ProtaPi to support the RPi Zero W. So it would be even cheaper.

I wanted to integrate this into ST, because I wanted to literally say the words, “Alexa, turn on the car.” I created a virtual switch in SmartThings called “Car.” SmartThings is not needed to make this work however.

So here’s how everything talks to each other.

"Alexa, turn on the car, please."
Alexa - SmartThings - IFTTT - ProtaPi - Microbot - Key fob - Car

It seems like a lot of steps, but there is acceptable latency. Consistently getting about as much as the video above shows. I just tuck the pi and the cradle away out of sight.

Note: You do not need Smartthings for this. You can simply use IFTTT directly since there is a native Alexa channel. I imagine it probably shaves some time off of the response as well.

"Alexa, trigger the car, please."
Alexa - IFTTT - ProtaPi - Microbot - Key fob - Car

Would love to hear your thoughts!

And here are links to buy the stuff used in this project:
Microbot Push: http://amzn.to/2rRxAMo - $50

Prota S Hub: http://amzn.to/2s1ReHD - $90
or
Raspberry Pi 3: http://amzn.to/2sJ1ylI - $35 - with Prota Pi OS: https://prota.info/prota/pi/

Decora light Switch cover: http://amzn.to/2skkvxK - $5


(Aviroop) #14

@rleonard55
Thanks for providing the device handler. Its working fine for me. But would like to know how you are using it with Google Home? What separate commands do I need to tell to lock, unlock, start etc?


(Nathan H) #15

How secure is the ST SmartApp infrastructure? I’m not sure how I like storing my SmartStart credentials considering it has access to my vehicle and its GPS location.


(JoGo) #16

Wonder if someone can throw together something to shut the trunk if being open for more than x amount of minutes. Sometimes while sitting on the couch the aux key on the fob gets pressed and opens the trunk.


(JoGo) #17

figured it out… now i wish i can do that trunk close thing
//Where do I enter my login info?


(JoGo) #18

i just got it to work with google home. changed the nikname and assigned a room “car” and saying “hey google turn on my car” does it


(Lonny Selinger) #19

I am feeling way too new :wink: How does one implement a event handler? I’m assuming I did this wrong. I imported this in as a device handler and published it through the IDE but I am having a brain fart on how to access/use it (or if I did this completely wrong. Any help is greatly appreciated!!

Edit: Ok so I added the Device Handler and tried to create a device to use it however it asks for a device network ID when creating a device so I’m still feeling new :wink:

Edit: One last one although I wont know if it worked until I get to my truck. I created a device, assigned my own network ID and then changed the login credentials etc. It shows up good so hopefully I did this right. My truck right now is 7 blocks away so I’ll verify when I leave work later.


(Ronald Baird) #20

In the meantime, you can always have your wife call you and have her put her cell phone by the car as you engage your key fob by your cell phone. The signal should open the door and/or trunk depending on the command sent.