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'[TECH] ecoRoute hd: Transform your nuvi GPS unit i'
2010\01\08@144159 by Vitaliy

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I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner.

http://garmin.blogs.com/my_weblog/2010/01/ecoroute-hd-transforms-your-nuvi-into-a-realtime-diagnostics-computer.html

"By simply plugging the ecoRoute hd module into the vehicle's standardized
onboard diagnostics port (OBD II), safely mounting the transmitter clear of
vehicle controls and pedals, and completing the easy one-time pairing with
nüvi, drivers can start receiving the vital data from their vehicle and run
diagnostic checks through nüvi's intuitive interface before a trip to the
auto shop is necessary. Drivers also get more accurate ecoRoute data, making
fuel conservation easier than ever, and they can monitor their engine data
(including temperature, RPM, emissions) and diagnostics through the Trip
Computer screen and customizable Gauges screen. Drivers can then view
Diagnostic Trouble Codes - with on-screen descriptions of some error codes -
and reset the "check engine" light. ecoRoute hd will be compatible with many
current and future nüvi models, including 1260, 1370, 1390, 1490 and 1690. "

Sells for $150:

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=38354&ra=true

Vitaliy

2010\01\10@045857 by Peter Restall

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On Fri, 8 Jan 2010 12:40:26 -0700, Vitaliy wrote:

> I'm surprised this hasn't happened sooner.
> ...
> [snip]

So am I.  In 2007-8 I was working with a company doing very similar things but
for commercial customers - ie. fleet management.  Basically we had some
trackers with CAN and OBD support and were attempting to pull out figures for
fuel consumption, etc. as well as produce immobiliser functions for anti-theft
and a whole host of other goodies on top of the basic 'where's my truck ?'
package.  We had stuff like Dallas iButtons for driver ID so we can monitor
individual working time, drivng patterns, etc.  Unfortunately that company
went bust before it got a full product to market, but it was certainly in the
advanced stages.  Definitely one of the best places I've worked in terms of
interesting projects.

Regards,

Pete Restall

2010\01\10@164608 by Vitaliy

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Peter Restall wrote:
> So am I.  In 2007-8 I was working with a company doing very similar things
> but
> for commercial customers - ie. fleet management.

Are you at liberty to say which company you worked for?

We work with fleet management companies all the time, since it's a lot more
cost effective for them to buy an off-the-shelf OBD interface and modify it,
than to roll their own. In 2008 we also built our own ECU simulator, since
the stuff that is out there is either too complicated and costs an arm and a
leg, or is junk.


{Quote hidden}

Sounds cool. Why do you think the company went bust? VC dried up?

Vitaliy

2010\01\11@150015 by Peter Restall

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On Sun, 10 Jan 2010 14:45:17 -0700, Vitaliy wrote:

> Are you at liberty to say which company you worked for?

I'd rather not :)  It was a fairly small company over here in the UK, but
seemed to be doing very well to begin with.


> We work with fleet management companies all the time, since it's a lot more
> cost effective for them to buy an off-the-shelf OBD interface and modify it,
> than to roll their own. In 2008 we also built our own ECU simulator, since
> the stuff that is out there is either too complicated and costs an arm and a
> leg, or is junk.

We had quite a few different suppliers; I think we basically ended up with
five different brands of tracker units out in the field.  I wrote the server
to communicate with them over the air, since the MD wanted to bring all
software/IP in-house.  Fantastic project.

Each type of tracker we bought had different capabilities; some were just
plain long-lat transmitters, others were CAN-integrated.  I even wrote a
GPS service/transmitter for Windows Mobile smartphones/PocketPCs.  The last
tracker I worked with before I left was a French one - dash-mounted thing
with a big screen, ideal for taxi firms, delivery drivers, etc. which is what
we were working towards.  That was a realtime Linux-based system, but I
don't think particularly well put-together - still in testing phase I think
and the hardware didn't appear physically robust.


> Sounds cool. Why do you think the company went bust? VC dried up?

Many reasons.  The salesmen stopped selling - basically, they liked the
quick commission selling hardware brought and didn't want to sell our
software as it meant commission a few months down the line after the stuff
had been integrated with customer systems; the MD knew hardware alone was a
dead end though and the real value was in selling complete solutions, which
not alot of people were doing at the time.

It was also at the time the Credit Crunch first hit and a lot of hauliers
were going bust - even though the systems would save money in the long run
(ie. fuel and efficiency savings) they were finding it hard to justify the
up-front costs.  And those that did or were existing customers started
dropping payments, so cash-flow became an issue.

The FD had never held that sort of position before - he was a friend of the
MD and used to sell trackers for him.  The guy used to run and lock himself
in his office whenever angry customers or bailiffs used to appear, which was
a lot in the final few weeks :(

And I also seem to remember there were 6 of us freelancers, which isn't
exactly a cheap way to develop software - they could've done with a few
less of us and we'd still have been able to deliver on the workload I
reckon.  More bodies doesn't equate to more or quicker work.  Most of the
lads there were pretty sharp too - I keep in touch with most of them.

I left a bit out of pocket when they couldn't pay me; a couple of months
later they went under.  A real shame - it had a good jump on the competition
at the time, and the MD was a very good salesman able to bring a lot of
business in.  Just not too good at being an MD...:(

Some of the best projects and software I've worked on commercially though.
Very interesting, fast-paced and challenging.  A bit of a long post so I
think I'll stop there...

Regards,

Pete Restall

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