See what check engine warning lights mean, turbocharge navigation and find parking spots before they open up! Read more
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on November 5, 2013.
About this project
Be Smarter When Driving & Maintaining Your Car
Plug and Play device compatible with any car produced after 1995
Works in tandem with a free app for iOS or Android smartphones
AutoAide is a plug and play device for your car that couples with a free iOS or Android app to offer vehicle diagnostics, best-in-class navigation and parking support. Think of AutoAide as a docking station for your car to connect to your smartphone. *Patent Pending*
Our device improves your driving experience by showing you what that ‘check engine’ warning light means, improving Google Maps with more accurate GPS, helping drivers find parking spots before they open up and even avoiding parking tickets. With a one-time $65 cost and no subscription or update fees, AutoAide comes from the creators of Park.IT, a handy app that UrbanDaddy calls a “Parking God.”
AutoAide Key Features
AutoAide connects your iOS or Android device to your car’s computer system, enabling multiple services to help you maintain your car. These services are similar to the standard diagnostics that GM’s OnStar, Ford SYNC and Verizon’s In-Drive offer, but at a lower upfront price ($65) with no subscription or update fees.
AutoAide Diagnostics will:
- Tell you what warning lights in your car mean so you will know if the problem is critical (pull over right away!) or needs to be looked at later
- Monitor your car's battery health and tell you when a new battery is needed, rather than finding out when your car doesn’t start
- Help you be better prepared to talk with mechanics about car problems because you’ll know what specific problems caused the warnings
- Monitor your car’s mileage to remind you when scheduled maintenance is coming up (stretch goal)
AutoAide provides diagnostic support via the On Board Diagnostic port – a standard feature on all cars made in 1996 and beyond.
AutoAide improves your existing Google map navigation or any other app that uses GPS. Our system turbocharges your Google Maps app so you can enjoy the same quality navigation performance of top-level GPS systems with your smartphone! Our app turns off your phone’s GPS and automatically turns on the AutoAide navigation tool through your car, giving you more phone battery life and less to fiddle with during your commute.
AutoAide Navigation will:
- Navigate anywhere with the touch of a finger on your Google Maps screen
- See the address of a selected location (reverse geolocation)
- Reduce phone battery drainage while on the road
- Improve the performance of any app that uses GPS, such as Google Maps, Foursquare, Yelp and more
AutoAide takes away your parking frustrations, by helping you find parking and avoid parking tickets. It can also locate your car in case you’ve forgotten where you parked. AutoAide is brought to you by the creators of Park.IT, an app that “wants to help you avoid getting parking tickets,” says TechnoBuffalo.
AutoAide Parking will:
- See parking spots before they actually open up
- Know when other AutoAide users are vacating their spots (Read More about AutoAide Parking Sharing here)
- Share where people have found parking for areas you’re not familiar with
- Tell you if that open spot is legal to park in using the Can I Park Here? query
- Set up and automatically clear reminders to help you avoid parking tickets* For cities not supported yet, the set up and clear is automatic but the details must be supplied by the user
Full features are now offered in four cities (San Francisco, Santa Monica, Los Angeles and New York City), but we’re eager and excited to expand into new regions as demand increases.
- Thirty percent of metropolitan traffic and downtown congestion is caused by drivers looking for parking spaces.
- Occupancy rates for parking in major cities is often over 90 percent, which means available spaces can be pretty hard to come by.
- Drivers burn an estimated 47,000 gallons of gas searching for parking every year, a study by UCLA Professor Donald Shoup reveals.
How AutoAide Works
AutoAide allows your iOS or Android device to talk directly to your car’s on-board system and features an integrated GPS system, accelerometer and parking/driving status sensor.
Maintaining your car is a matter of education and information. AutoAide has the ability to connect your Android or iOS smartphone to your car’s systems, which helps you stay informed about your car’s health. This connection also used to enhance navigation and other GPS related apps on your smartphone.
One key difference between navigating with Google Maps compared to a TomTom, Garmin or ONStar device is GPS accuracy. AutoAide’s integrated, state-of-the-art GPS offers best-in-class GPS accuracy and is always on – so you don’t have to wait for maps to load or receive faulty information about your location when hitting the road.
How much does GPS accuracy matter?
Here are some examples:
The above accuracy data (not simulated) was taken using the MyTracks app for Android on a Samsung Galaxy S2, the myTracks app for iOS on the iPhone 4S, and AutoAide using GPS over-ride coupled with the myTracks app on an iPad 2, all running simultaneously.
AutoAide accuracy is a combination of state of the art hardware which can process GPS signals very efficiently and a chipset which can access not just GPS, but multiple other satellite systems like GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, and more. Instead of the 6 satellites normally accessible for the GPS system in the US, for example, AutoAide's GPS can access 14 or more satellites thus giving better results. Read more about AutoAide GPS Accuracy here.
AutoAide also allows you to do touch-based navigation, which can be very useful when you are close to your destination but don't know the exact address, or if you want to see the address at any location on the map.
Leveraging your Android or iOS device’s Internet access, and with enhanced GPS accuracy, AutoAide shares data for select cities (San Francisco, New York, parts of Los Angeles) with Park.IT, which powers features like Can I Park Here?. This nifty tool interprets the parking regulations for you so that you will know if that open spot is legally available for parking.
AutoAide can sense whether your car is being driven, idling or waiting for you to return after you parked. Park.IT research shows that most drivers actually spend much time in or near their parked car after returning to it. That means AutoAide can actually tell if a parking spot is going to open up before it opens! *Patent Pending*
AutoAide can also sense when you leave your car and when you come back. It automatically sets up reminders to help you avoid parking tickets and helpfully clears that information once you’ve vacated the parking space.
Our Core Team
AutoAide was conceptualized and created by Calvin Liu and Manohar Kamath, both of whom are electrical engineers in the semiconductor & EDA (electronic design automation) industries. The pair worked together at a leading EDA company in Silicon Valley managing semiconductor foundry programs and has a combined 30+ years of industry experience. The AutoAide team also consists of an app software developer.
Calvin has worked as a chip designer for AMD and as an EDA consulting architect and Japan country manager for software company Epic Design Technology, Inc. Perhaps more notably, Calvin has been living (and parking his 10-year-old car) in downtown San Francisco for more than a decade. It’s safe to say that he has firsthand experience with many of the problems AutoAide seeks to solve. Calvin is the initial source of inspiration for AutoAide and the architect behind Park.IT.
After starting out as a memory chip designer, Manohar led a software engineering team at a startup company in Silicon Valley, was a senior product marketing manager for a high profile EDA company in San Jose, Calif. and was a business development executive for a chip design and software consulting company. He’s also cofounder of Park.IT, an iOS and Android app that simplifies parking in several metropolitan regions.
Manohar drives to San Francisco quite often for business and pleasure, and every time, he drives around to find parking, constantly worries of not knowing the parking rules and invariably ends up parking in garages, which are quite expensive. In talking to people who live in or commute to San Francisco, he’s heard similar views and concerns, which got him thinking of a mobile parking solution for major metro cities.
As an expert collecting and verifying parking regulation databases for large metro cities, Manohar is involved in hardware development and plays a key role in identifying and developing early partnerships, along with marketing and business development for AutoAide.
Chirag Kathrani is our app software development partner. He works as a lead app developer at TekReliance and brings 16 years of mobile and enterprise app development experience to our team.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” Several years ago, we recognized a growing need among drivers and commuters in San Francisco and created Park.IT, an app that helps people in San Francisco find parking and avoid parking tickets.
After launching Park.IT, we noticed user interface problems and, drawing from our previous hardware experience, began conceptualizing a new product that would enhance GPS accuracy and be able to determine when users park. Thus, the initial form of AutoAide was born: an accurate GPS system with a patented method for determining parking status.
For this hardware to work, we needed a power supply. Fortunately, we found one place where there is always power: the OBDII port. Located below your steering wheel, the OBDII port is generally used by mechanics for troubleshooting and smog testing. More importantly, its power source is always on.
So, the power source problem was solved! Our next thought: since we’re connected to OBDII, why not offer diagnostics support as well? The software burden isn’t high as there are a number of free iOS and Android open source software packages on the market.
Since our co-founders are both electrical engineers, we also figured out that the OBDII interface allows monitoring of the system voltage, which allows us to easily calculate car battery strength and convey that information to drivers.
Voila! AutoAide, a three-in-one plug and play device, is born!
AutoAide, by the way, isn’t a big impact on your car battery. The overall power consumption for AutoAide at full function is 50 milliwatts, and this drops to 10-15 milliwatts when you’re not at your car (we turn off the GPS). This means it would take months, if not longer, for AutoAide to drain your car battery. Note that AutoAide is fundamentally different than many connected car systems on the marketplace - it does not include a GSM cell radio. This is why AutoAide doesn't have a monthly subscription fee.
Bringing AutoAide to Market
The manufacturing process right now is very straightforward. Many of our production and distribution decisions have been guided by our experience bringing Park.IT to market.
We identified the hardware modules that will be used for AutoAide’s core functions and tested the accuracy of each chipset extensively. The hardware assembler/system integrator we’ve focused on is ViaCont – also known as the supplier for the Clicko trigger.
Here is a look at the guts of the AutoAide prototype
Our ETA for product delivery and rewards fulfillment is February 2014.
The $50,000 goal for Kickstarter is what is needed for a minimum economy of scale - at 1000 AutoAide devices, the cost per part drops significantly.
In this era, privacy is a big concern. AutoAide won't infringe on your privacy because it doesn't track you; it is installed in your car and is only interested in when you're parking or returning to your car. The data we store for the purposes of communicating to other AutoAide users looking for parking will only consist of a parking location and a departure time - no names, UDIDs, etc.
For a one-time fee of $65, you’ll receive the full AutoAide package, which includes a hardware device that plugs into your car's OBDII port and an app that is compatible with iOS and Android phones. The price we're setting is as low as we can make it - at the per-part selling price of the components. Commercial GPS Bluetooth devices are $100 or more, and only offer a fraction of the functionality that Auto Aide does.
AutoAide setup for iOS
Plug AutoAide into your on-board diagnostics port. You can see where the port is located here. Then, go into your phone’s settings and pair AutoAide as a Bluetooth, then download, install, and open the AutoAide app.
AutoAide setup for Android
Plug AutoAide into your on-board diagnostics port. You can see where the port is located here. Then, go into your phone’s Option menu, select 'Use Mock Locations,’ then download, install and open the AutoAide app. For Android 4.2 (Samsung Galaxy S4 in particular), look here to access installation options.
AutoAide is *Patent pending*
Risks and challenges
The hardware development is zero risk. There are already hardware devices with parts of the various chipsets used in AutoAide on the market. We're just the first ones to integrate all of them together along with our proprietary sensing technology.
Equally on the software side, iOS GPS replacement is already proven and on the market. There is some schedule risk for Apple's MFI - if we have to find a manufacturer who doesn't already have MFI certification. At present we have both an MFI certified manufacturer and a low cost manufacturer - the difference will be a function of volume. Extra savings will be passed on in the form of functionality - like maybe an FM transmitter so AutoAide can play music or handsfree calls on your car speakers. As we've decided to make AutoAide equally functional for iOS and Android, the MFI schedule risk unfortunately will apply to the entire product line. The good news is, however, that you as the customer won't have to worry if you have the 'right' AutoAide no matter what iOS or Android smartphone you have (or will have).
For Android software: there is some Android version compatibility risk. Newer app+hardware solutions that we tested for GPS replacement worked very well, but the wide range of Android devices means that there is no way to guarantee AutoAide will work on all of them. Park.IT does commit to perform extensive testing before releasing the product and listing all devices on which AutoAide are confirmed working. We have performed testing with a large number of devices including: Galaxy S2, S3, S4; LG Optimus; Galaxy Note, Tab; HTC One, EVO; iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5; iPad 1, 2, and 3.
For Diagnostics, the degree of detail offered will depend on accessibility. All standard OBDII PIDs will be supported, but auto manufacturer specific PIDs require ETI or maker specific licensing which carries a significant cost. GM car PID licensing in particular is very expensive, followed by BMW. Again, a function of volume. At a high enough volume, AutoAide can be enabled even to much more.
For Navigation - the smartphone GPS replacement is well tested across many manufacturer lines and works well. However, future smartphone and Android/iOS versions may not be backwards compatible though Park.IT will work to try and minimize this.
For Blackberry OS 4.2 or beyond as well as Windows Phones, the full AutoAide functionality - including GPS replacement - is possible. However, it costs a lot to port into a new platform - that's why we ask to see how much interest there really is.
Park.IT believes the AutoAide system is the most accurate method possible as this method will 100% eliminate false positives due to GPS inaccuracy, drivers not driving but still in/near their cars, drive-throughs, waiting to pick someone up, etc etc.
There should not be any false negatives except cases like drivers losing/forgetting their cell phones - in these cases, no other solutions will work either.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The AutoAide app can't be open source because there will likely be 3rd party IP access issues (more on this later) as well as security concerns (We don't want random people to be able to access AutoAide owner's cars!). However, Park.IT is committed to providing API access for anyone interested in OBDII/diagnostics or parking status related I/O.
Send a note to feedbackATpark.it on what you'd like to do, or even if you just have questions that need to be answered before knowing what you'd like to do.
- (30 days)