Zoe Configurator

This topic contains 13 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Trevor Larkum 4 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 14 total)
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  • #2449

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    [See the full post at: The Configurator!]

    This is a new page on the top menu.

    #2458

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    I am a software developer by trade and am currently learning Android coding with a view to writing Android apps for the ZOE R-Link system, for once I get my ZOE. I am also learning general web development to help with creating more advanced features for this website.

    I have today published the first version of my first ZOE coding – the ZOE Configurator. In this case it is a website page that I plan to develop into an Android app. For now it is a relatively simple page where you can select the colour and other options for the ZOE and it will display how your chosen ZOE will look. Next I will look to enhance with additional options plus information on the cost of your chosen configuration.

    Any feedback is appreciated – both positive and negative. For example:

    1. How well does it display for you (and what browser are you using)?
    2. If you speak French or Italian, does the multi-language feature work? Could the translations be better?
    3. How could it be improved? My current ideas are more image views (e.g. interior and rear view) plus pricing.

    I have noticed, for example, that there is a smooth transition when you select different colours when using Firefox. However the page ‘flashes’ or blinks briefly when viewed in Internet Explorer which doesn’t look so nice.

    #2486

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    I have now added pricing (for UK, France and Italy) – taking account of the choice of trim, body colour and wheels – giving a total cost for a particular choice.

    Please give it a try – some feedback would be appreciated (if only to say it works for you).

    #2529

    Anonymous

    It works well πŸ™‚ It flashes when you first change the options in Safari as well but looking at the network timeline this is because it is requesting the page, the stylesheet and the image each time you change an option. The first time you chose a new option the resources cannot be pulled from the cache and so, if there is network latency, there will be a delay in fetching the image data and you see a flash of white.

    One way to solve this would be to pre-cache all the images and switch between them only using javascript. Alternatively, you could use ajax calls to update the page data and the images so the whole page doesn’t need reloading. However, both of these shift the effort of managing the page from serverside to clientside and will increase the complexity of the page as well as requiring you to brush up on your javascript πŸ™‚

    #2531

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    farblue – thanks for the feedback (and company here!). I’m sure your assessment is right, so I’ll probably leave it as it is.

    Next I’m planning to add options to the Configurator (like the reversing camera and TomTom maps – probably not the diffuser refills!) then, or possibly in parallel, I will look into making it into an Android app (though I’m still just a beginner in Android).

    Longer term my interests are in creating Android apps for the Zoe in particular and the R-Link in general (where they are equally applicable to the Clio and other Renault cars). I’m also interested in potentially supporting the Open Vehicle Systems initiative, specifically supporting a Zoe port.

    #2549

    Anonymous

    I believe Android apps are written in Java and the usual IDE is Eclipse so all the tools you will need should be free πŸ™‚ If your app doesn’t need to be used offline, however, you could just enhance the web version for tablet/touchscreen use. That way you can update it as often as you like with new data and you won’t need to learn Java πŸ˜‰ Oh, and it will work on the iPad as well πŸ™‚

    I’d not heard of the Open Vehicle Systems initiative and some of what they are doing is interesting. A lot of it appears to be an open version of what Renault are offering anyway (with remote access to vehicle charge status and the ability to start/stop charging and control the cabin temperature). I assume the built-in R-Link has a direct connection to the CAN bus with an API which may or may not be made available to app developers (but which I’m sure wouldn’t take long to reverse-engineer!).

    I think a useful extension to the OVS hardware could be bluetooth so you wouldn’t need to run wires from the hardware adaptor to whatever in-car device you were using (but without the need to be within GSM range and with a valid data plan). I could think of lots of useful ways to combine data from the car systems with other sources – such as engine efficiency, whether you have windows open or the aircon on, car speed, gps, weather reports and traffic data to predict and log driving efficiency, mpg, estimated miles until you need to refill / recharge etc. Or how about an app that sets off an alarm if the car is started without a bluetooth dongle being within range (could Β be any bluetooth device such as your phone) and which sends location data to you – or even allows you to cut the engine πŸ™‚ Knowing where your car is could be very useful if you have a teenage daughter!

    #2557

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    I believe Android apps are written in Java and the usual IDE is Eclipse so all the tools you will need should be free πŸ™‚ If your app doesn’t need to be used offline, however, you could just enhance the web version for tablet/touchscreen use. That way you can update it as often as you like with new data and you won’t need to learn Java πŸ˜‰ Oh, and it will work on the iPad as well πŸ™‚

    Yep, I’m using Eclipse and the Android SDK. Currently I’m just learning – ultimately the aim is for dedicated apps running on the R-Link.

    I think a useful extension to the OVS hardware could be bluetooth so you wouldn’t need to run wires from the hardware adaptor to whatever in-car device you were using (but without the need to be within GSM range and with a valid data plan). I could think of lots of useful ways to combine data from the car systems with other sources – such as engine efficiency, whether you have windows open or the aircon on, car speed, gps, weather reports and traffic data to predict and log driving efficiency, mpg, estimated miles until you need to refill / recharge etc. Or how about an app that sets off an alarm if the car is started without a bluetooth dongle being within range (could be any bluetooth device such as your phone) and which sends location data to you – or even allows you to cut the engine πŸ™‚ Knowing where your car is could be very useful if you have a teenage daughter!

    Some interesting ideas there! The biggest unknown for me is currently how big is the gap between standard Android and R-Link android – and do you need to be in some Renault inner circle (or Incubateur) to get involved in programming the R-Link.

    #2565

    Anonymous

    My gut feeling is that Renault are going to try to do a Kindle Fire type setup. The Fire is basically just Android but has a different ‘home screen’ and deliberately had the Google Play libraries removed so you had to use the Amazon store. Its in Renault’s best interest to make sure they have tight control over things – not least safety, quality of experience and the ability to charge a % on sold apps like Amazon, Google and Apple do πŸ™‚

    For apps you can run when the car is stationary and which don’t use R-Link specific interfaces I doubt there will be much needed other than a vetting process. However, for any app wanting to access R-Link apis and especially any app wanting to run when the car is moving I expect the review process and the agreements you will need to sign (and maybe pay for) to be pretty strict.

    Another route, of course, is to Jail-Break the device. The limited number of them and the cost of getting hold of one (i.e. buying a car) may well reduce the interest from developers wishing to tackle the problem but, underneath it all, R-Link is ‘just Android’ and ultimately will suffer from all of the same insecurities. Jail-Breaks for the Kindle Fire were available before the official US launch of the device! Given R-Link has a ‘phone home’ setup you may well find Renault in a bit of an arms race to patch and reset Jail-Broken devices much like Apple does.

    R-Link is potentially a huge investment by Renault in a domain they don’t have much experience of and they have a lot to lose so it will be interesting to see how they behave with software updates, security, vetting of apps etc.

    I wonder if anyone will develop an iPad Mini replacement πŸ™‚ I have a lot of apps I’d like to use in the car but I’m certainly not going to go and buy them (or similar) again for Android. TBH, I really don’t think I’m going to make much use of R-Link’s apps and store at all – except possibly an app that can export log data for analysis. I don’t particularly want to pay a 100% premium for extended TomTom maps either πŸ™

    #2583

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    My interest is really running Android apps on R-Link that can get access to data that is otherwise hard to reach – something a bit like the GID meter for the LEAF. For example, I understand you get an indication of your ZOE’s State of Charge (SOC) on starting up, but if you want to see it again you have to switch off and back on again. Stuff like that ought to be available through a straightforward app.

    #2666

    Trevor Larkum
    Keymaster

    Added Options & Accessories.

    The Zen and Intens have most of these as standard anyway, so they typically apply to the Life/Expression version.

    If anyone spots any errors, please let me know. It is complicated, but much simpler I think than the Renault version.

    It’s interesting to note that the French configurator has a lot more options than either the UK or Italian versions – things like DVD, mudflaps, child seats, etc.

    http://www.renault.fr/gamme-renault/vehicules-electriques/zoe/zoe/configurateur/

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