I Want Android @ Home… In My Car

Posted on 05 August 2011 by

android @ homeBack at Google I/O 2011, Google announced something called Android @ Home, which seeks to allow a huge range of accessories and appliances to interact with Android devices. I want my vehicles to be Android @ Home accessible more than stuff in my home, and I’ll tell you why.

Google did some brief demos on stage showing rudimentary integration between an exercise bicycle and a phone, and they also show how you might be able to automate your home by controlling lights, the thermostat, perhaps your coffee maker, etc. Watch the following starting at 6:15 to get a brief idea of the vision behind Android @ Home:

Where I really want to see Android @ Home though is, (oddly enough) not in my home at all, but rather in my cars.

We have 7 drivers in my family, and we’ve got three cars to get us all where we need to go. Between jobs, appointments, vacations, etc. organizing all of those cars is a serious task. It’s not fun getting off the phone with a friend and saying “sure I’ll be right there” only to go out to the driveway to find that all of the cars are gone! Then you’ve got to call around to various family members to find out who is where and who will be home first. Equally frustrating is getting into the car to go somewhere only to find that the tank is completely dry and that you’ve got to add a stop at the gas station to your itinerary. Android @ Home could easily fix all of these problems, and more.

If all of our family cars were Android @ Home enabled, not only could they report their positions to an app that everyone in the family has access to, but they could also report their gas levels.

People want their privacy sometimes, so you could always set the app to not report exact car positions, but rather just say whether or not they are in the driveway. This way, I wouldn’t have to peek inside the garage or in the driveway to see if any cars are available.

If I needed a car, I could select the car I want and query the car for its distance so I would be able to easily see which car is nearest, and who I should call to ask them to return the car.

With gas indicators within the app for all cars, you’d easily know if you needed to fill up before running to your appointment, rather than being surprised at the last minute and being late because of a surprise empty tank. Thanks to the connected nature of our devices, the app could even tell you how much gas costs at your local station so you know exactly how much cash you’ll be putting in the tank.

And who likes getting into the car in the summer and sweating until the AC really gets going, or freezing in the winter until the heat turns on? Android @ Home enabled vehicles could cool or warm the car before your morning commute.

And how about running out in the pouring rain to close those windows that you left open? This could easily be done from an app.

Ah! The possibilities are nearly endless and all very useful!

We’ve got the technology to make this happen, and Google’s Android @ Home project makes it easy to integrate. Here’s to hoping we see this sort of smart-automation at a consumer-available level in the next 5 years.

It would certainly make my life easier. How about you, what feature would you want the most from an Android @ Home enabled car? Brainstorm away!

Categorized | Opinion

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. yoyoblog says:

    You’re looking for a technical solution for what seems to be a communication problem in your family. That’s not going to work, but it’s typical für our society. I have no need for such a device, but I wish you good luck with yours.

    rabs Reply:

    You’re a bit harsh on this one. Given the exceptional context, good tools would be a real improvement, even if things can be managed roughly with a chalkboard or whatever.
    I guess companies managing a small fleet of vehicle would also like more automation, even if some workflow are already in place.

    Ben Reply:

    Yeah I’m not trying to say there isn’t another solution for this, but even if I lived alone, I’d still like some car automation for opening/closing windows, being able to make sure my car is locked when out of range, being able to adjust the climate before getting into the car, and knowing how much gas is in there.

    Harald Naumann Reply:

    Android in our cars:

    yoyoblog Reply:

    Nice. But don’t stop there. Maybe you can also adjust the suspension and the brakes with your phone, program your radio and check the view from your rear mirror. The possibilities are endless …
    Hackers will also love to fool around with your car.

    yoyoblog Reply:

    It would also be great if you could use your phone as a remote control for the car. So if your wife is not back from her shopping trip by 2 pm, as she promised, you could not only check where she is right now, but also make sure that she can only drive in one direction – straight home.

    Harald Naumann Reply:

    Tire pressure on your smartphone:

    You get what you want (sooner or later). A navigation system is already an embedded PC in your car. The only you maybe miss is the link to further information already stored in your car.

  2. Harald Naumann says:

    An Android@Home is based on Arduino or a clone of an Arduino.

    Android@Home PCB listed here:

    GPRS / GPS adapter:

    = Smart car