Turn your old smartphone into a connected dash cam, your old webcam into a security camera, connect your speakers and trigger music by voice command...
In few tricks, turn your good old car into a connected car!
IoT spreads across all fields and is already reshaping the car industry with a massive implementation of sensors, connectivity and artificial intelligence in most newest models of the industry leaders. But if you cannot afford a Tesla, this kind of technology is currently out of your hand's reach.
Our goal today is to make this technology a little more accessible by offering you a way to import your smart home hub into your current vehicle and turn your ‘dumb’ car into a smart car. This project will show you the flexibility of Prota OS, that allow much more than connecting your smart devices together. Though some products with similar features already exist on the market (connected dash cams like BlackVue or RoadEyes and connected systems like Parrot Asteroid), their price range goes from $200 to $600 and make such technology an unaffordable luxury.
The option we offer you today should overall cost you around $70 only and integrate the following features:
SAFETY = allow you to monitor the inside of your car when you’re away and geolocate your car when you lost it
DASH CAM = record your daily commutes and use the footage in case of an accident
MEDIA CENTER = remotely trigger music by message command or voice command to be played on your car radio set or external speakers
BLACKBOX = save a regular visual report of your car throughout the day so that in case of any trouble you can know what happened at what time
This system can be set up in around an hour with no special tech/coding skills required. To install it in your car, you will need to find the right solution to two major requirements: finding a way to power the system and finding a way to get a constant connectivity.
The solution will depend on the particular case of your car, whether it includes an embedded internet connection and whether you can connect your smart system to your car battery. We will assume in this project that you have access to neither of the two, and we will replace them by an external battery and a smartphone with a data sim card used as a hotspot. If you’re able to connect your hub to your car battery and to your car’s WiFi, this project will be even easier and more unexpensive to put in place.
Step 1: REQUIRED COMPONENTS
Raspberry Pi (2 or 3) ~$30
16Gb SD card ~$10
Old smartphone + SIM card with data plan (depending on the country)
Car phone holder ~$10
Car phone charger ~$5
Jack cable ~$5
External battery ~$20
The total cost of the project will depend a lot on what you already have at home (battery, cable or phone holder). If you have none, the total should be around $70.
Step 2: PRIOR EXPLANATIONS
Though not complicated to set up for someone with no specific technical skills, this project needs some clarification for you to visualize how it works, before we explain you how to set up the ensemble.
This system will be as follow:
the Raspberry Pi working as a smart hub, plugged to the external battery and connected to the internet via the smartphone’s hotspot. You can either put it in the center platform of your car or hide it in the back pocket of one of the front seats.
A webcam wire-connected to the Raspberry Pi, set on the back seats and facing the front of the car. It will allow you to remotely monitor what’s happening in your car while you’re away.
A Jack cable connecting your Raspberry Pi to your radio set or external speakers.
An old smartphone on the dashboard, which front camera allows monitoring of the inside of the car while the back camera works as a dashcam. The smartphone can of course also be used as GPS device.
A USB stick on the Raspberry Pi will let you play all your favorite songs. You can easily set automation so that you can trigger the music from your phone with simple text commands (via Telegram messenger app) or with voice commands (if you have a smartphone with Siri or Google Assistant). The USB stick will also act as a ‘blackbox’ keeping snapshots from the inside of your car.