Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

'Find My Car Smart' is the First Low Energy Bluetooth App for iPhone 4S

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,548
13,173



Earlier this year, Apple introduced a new version of Bluetooth in some of their products. This new version of Bluetooth is known as "Bluetooth Low Energy" or Bluetooth 4.0. The Mac mini and MacBook Air were the first to support the new standard with the iPhone 4S quickly following.

The Bluetooth Low Energy specification promises a low-power and low-latency implementation that opens the door to a number of new kinds of Bluetooth-powered devices. The expectation is that low power Bluetooth transmitters/receivers will be able to send data to and from your iPhone without complicated setup. Possible examples included a special watch that could receive notifications, proximity detectors, health monitors and more.




A company called FMC Smart has just launched a Kickstarter for the first Bluetooth Low Energy App and companion module for the iPhone 4S.

'Find My Car Smart' is a Bluetooth 4.0 take on tracking where you had parked your car. While a number of these applications already exist, those require the manual launching and marking of your car. Find My Car Smart works by pairing up against a Bluetooth 4.0 transmitter in your car and automatically tracks its last parked location.
Right now, there are apps on the iPhone that will save the location of my car, but I have to manually launch the app to drop a pin each and every time I have parked my car. Stopping to launch an app when I'm running into work or trying to catch a plane is a complete waste of time and totally annoying. So I developed an app that allows the iPhone 4S to remember the last place I parked and the only time I have to launch the app is after I've lost my car, not before.
The company posts a nice FAQ which details some of the common questions and how the product works.



You need to install a small USB-powered Bluetooth proximity adapter in your car, which pairs with your iPhone. This proximity adapter talks to your iPhone's Find My Car Smart App running in the background. When you leave your car, it remembers this last GPS location automatically. No manual intervention is required. They claim there is only a small decrease in battery life of your iPhone due to the background operations, especially if you are only parking your car a few times a day. More extensive drivers may see more of a battery drain.

Note that as a Kickstarter project, the Bluetooth dongles won't ship until they reach their funding goal, so we haven't been able to test the product nor are we endorsing it. The App Store companion app, however, has been approved by Apple and is already available in the App Store [$0.99]. We have downloaded that app which is shown above in screenshots.

We should expect to see more Low Energy Bluetooth accessories and applications in the future. For now, the iPhone 4S is the only iOS device that supports the new standard.

Article Link: 'Find My Car Smart' is the First Low Energy Bluetooth App for iPhone 4S
 

8CoreWhore

macrumors 68020
Jan 17, 2008
2,284
414
Big D
Looking forward to more products...

I take a picture of my car and its surroundings - with geotagging on. So, with a quick snap, I have an image and a waypoint.
 
Comment

JoeG4

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2002
2,725
309
Bay Area, Ca.
I try and remember where I parked my car. I can see it happening if you say, park in a residential neighborhood in a very large city and then get wasted at a party and wake up in some random stranger's living room, but I'm not that kinda person so.. NO PROBLEM!

The closest I've come to wondering where I parked my car, was in a very funny Wal-Mart parking lot. Thankfully, my car is usually the only one in the parking lot that looks like it, so a quick wander around and I'd know where I parked ^_^
 
Comment

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,442
umm... my car already has bluetooth... why couldnt i use this now?

It has to be the new Bluetooth 4.0.

http://fmcsmart.forumotion.com/t2-frequently-asked-questions

What Bluetooth Smart Tags are supported?
At the moment we’ve only tested with a BlueGiga BLED112, however any Bluetooth Smart or Bluetooth Low Energy tag should be compatible. Please note that the tag needs to be programmed with a broadcast profile in order to be used. See the Supported Devices Forum for more information.
http://www.bluegiga.com/BLED112_Bluetooth_low_energy_dongle

arn
 
Comment

JoeG4

macrumors 68030
Jan 11, 2002
2,725
309
Bay Area, Ca.
That said, the first company to stick this in remote controls and maybe keyfobs, will deserve the nobel prize XD
 
Comment

gkpm

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2010
481
4
umm... my car already has bluetooth... why couldnt i use this now?

Maybe because you car's Bluetooth is probably off when the engine is off? The Low Energy bit is the relevant one, this is the sort of thing that can be on for weeks without draining the battery.

Actually I'm involved in a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) project myself and let me tell you it's a bigger deal that most people think at the moment.

It opens up a lot of old barriers. For example you don't even need to be turning Bluetooth on and off on the phone, BLE is always there for apps to use. I'm sure we'll see a lot of very interesting devices using it on market next year.

Apple may have another winner on their hands with this thing.
 
Comment

kyjaotkb

macrumors 6502a
Nov 20, 2009
696
398
London, UK
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

So the hardware does not exist yet but you can buy the .99 app?
And your car needs to have a USB port?

I think we are still a little early...
 
Comment

thatoneguy82

macrumors 68000
Jul 23, 2008
1,895
2
Beach Cities, CA
If this is powered by the car's lighter port, then it will only work on cars where it stays on after cars are turned off. My car doesn't give power to the lighter port if the engine isn't on. How do they get around those cars? I'm sure there are many more cars out there.
 
Comment

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,650
4,442
If this is powered by the car's lighter port, then it will only work on cars where it stays on after cars are turned off. My car doesn't give power to the lighter port if the engine isn't on. How do they get around those cars? I'm sure there are many more cars out there.

It's a good question. Maybe it doesn't matter? Maybe bluetooth turning off is the same as walking away from the bluetooth transmitter?

In either case, the iPhone will remember the last time location it got a signal from the dongle?

edit: ya, seems it doesn't matter (see responses below)

arn
 
Last edited:
Comment

pgiguere1

macrumors 68020
May 28, 2009
2,157
1,082
Montreal, Canada
It has its own battery. That's the point of BT 4.0, otherwise it would run out of juice too fast unless it had a massive battery.

Your car will only recharge the battery, not power the device, so it will work for a while even if your engine is off given BT 4.0's efficiency.

And no, your car doesn't need to have a USB port, the 30$ pack includes the hardware, the app and a USB to lighter plug adapter.

Fair price, I might get one. The project will likely succeed with this media attention. I just hope the app is not too buggy.

EDIT: Actually I'm not sure about the battery part since it's not mentioned anywhere but I'm pretty sure this round flat metal thing written "Li-Mn" on it is a battery. I guess they will find a way to integrate it in a single USB dongle that they don't have images of at the moment.
 
Last edited:
Comment

gkpm

macrumors 6502
Jul 15, 2010
481
4
It has its own battery. That's the point of BT 4.0, otherwise it would run out of juice too fast unless it had a massive battery.

Exactly! The beauty of BLE/BT 4.0 is it can run for weeks on a tiny battery. The car doesn't need to power it.
 
Comment

Akarin

macrumors 6502
Oct 16, 2011
290
17
Nyon, Switzerland
Looks nice but in my 15 years of driving, I never found myself in a situation where I couldn't find/remember where I left my car...
 
Comment

Roller

macrumors 68030
Jun 25, 2003
2,642
1,620
It's a good question. Maybe it doesn't matter? Maybe bluetooth turning off is the same as walking away from the bluetooth transmitter?

In either case, the iPhone will remember the last time location it got a signal from the dongle?

arn

As I understand it from the FAQ, the tag's function is to determine when it and the iPhone are in close proximity. When you park and walk away from your car, the app assumes that you've parked and takes the iPhone's last recorded location as your parking spot. Basically, what it's doing is saving you the effort of launching an app and manually recording your car's location when you park.
 
Comment

Yuppi

macrumors regular
Aug 6, 2007
197
0
For those wondering about the power supply if the engine is switched off:
The iphone app gets notified with every BT4 broadcast of this beacon. So what the iphone app does is saving the location every time it sees the beacon. Once the beacon can no longer be seen, you either: turned of the engine, or you left the car. If you kill the engine, the car does no longer move and so it is the same as if you left the car.
 
Comment

Gage

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2011
103
0
Looks nice but in my 15 years of driving, I never found myself in a situation where I couldn't find/remember where I left my car...

Pretty much how I feel about it. Although, I could see this being useful if I have to park in huge parking lot like at Disney World, but even then I've just pushed the lock button on the key fob and listened for the horn honk.
 
Comment

Dades

macrumors member
May 24, 2010
82
2
Dublin, Ireland
I'd prefer if Apple concentrated on the mammoth task of making it easier to turn Bluetooth on and off without a unnecessarily long process of taps and swipes.

Particularly given that this is often done driving a car when people realise that BT is switched off.
 
Comment

andiwm2003

macrumors 601
Mar 29, 2004
4,346
406
Boston, MA
It seems I'm compltetely missing the point of this app.:confused:

My phone is paired to the handsfree system in my car anyway.

As soon as I walk away from my car the connection is lost and a background app could drop a pin in google maps without me doing anything anyway. Then when I want to find my car I just open google maps and get directions back.

Since I have a charger for the phone in the car anyway the power savings of Bluetooth 4 are irrelevant. My iPhones Bluetooth is always on anyway.

I just don't see what this App does that can't be done in every car anyway. Car locators for Android did this for quite some time already.

In addition can the iPhone hold two bluetooth connections? Because you would need to hold the connection to the handsfree system and the "find my car smart" bluetooth dongle at the same time. :confused:
 
Last edited:
Comment

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,929
1,239
Washington DC
I would love an app that could actually find my car, but this doesn't seem to be it. As far as I can tell it's just automating what I currently do: Recording its last known spot when I walk out of range.

That's more convenient, sure, but it's really no different than putting a pin on a map.

The times I really don't know where my car is are the times I didn't park it. Like, just recently my friend was with me downtown and we were stuck in traffic. I had an important meeting so I left him the car and took the subway. He parked it and I met him for dinner afterwards.

3 hours later he had a hard time remembering where he'd parked it. We eventually found it, but this is probably the ONE case I can think of in the past year where I'd like an app like this...and it wouldn't have been able to help me.

So...kind of cool, but not really all that exciting.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.