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A modest proposal: remote steering to optimize charger utilization

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by Rwolf01, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. Rwolf01

    Rwolf01 Member

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    I'm a M3 reservation holder. I've driven but don't own a Model S. I was thinking about the problem of charger hogs, both at destination and superchargers. (where someone plugs in and wanders off longer than the car needs to charge up)

    The current solution is to simply fine the people who do this, but it doesn't actually solve the problem. It only discourages repeat offenders. A more cooperative solution occurred to me.

    This behavior is only a problem if someone else is waiting. But in this case you have a fellow Tesla owner there who could manage the situation, if only they could move your car for you.

    So why not make a smart phone app which would grant a fellow Tesla owner permission to move your car short distance and at low speed without ever unlocking it? I'm envision a tool where the person waiting for the charger could check that the other car is done charging, unhook it and then walk beside it and steer it remotely into a nearby parking space. (max 5 MPH say). (Using the accelerometers and buttons in the phone it should be easy to make an intuitive and fail-safe interface)

    There are some security concerns, so people would have the choice of either paying the fine if they misbehave or letting the person who is waiting for the charger move their car for them.

    The cooperative service would only give control of your car to someone who has been authenticated with a fingerprint scanner on the phone and with the detected presence/identification of their Tesla. The car being moved would record who moved it, and the data from the move gathered by autopilot sensors. (legal agreements would saddle the person moving it with liability for any damage caused by the move)

    After being moved for you, your car would just text you an FYI message with it's new GPS location, and the ID of the person who moved it.

    There are some trust issues in letting a known stranger move your car when you are not there, but I think the advantages out weigh the risks. By properly documenting who moved it and what happened, and acting as a reasonable 3rd party observer, Tesla could discourage people from misbehaving and mediate to resolve disputes in case of some mishap.

    The general idea is to replace competition for charging resources and frustration over foolish/inefficient use with a cooperative spirit where Tesla owners work together to efficiently solve their charging problems. Higher utilization of existing superchargers would lower costs for Tesla. Hopefully this is enough to justify developing such an app.

    Thoughts? Concerns?
     
    • Disagree x 1
  2. BerTX

    BerTX Active Member

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    The current configuration of the cars would not be able to do what you suggest. 1) nobody can remove the charge handle from the car unless it is unlocked 2) even the owner can't steer the car remotely. It goes forward. It goes backward. 3) providing a way for someone to be able to control the car remotely is a challenge to hackers to take over an expensive car, 4) speaking of expensive car -- most Tesla owners will have an absolute fit if you TOUCH their car, much less drive it around the parking lot like a radio controlled car.

    Keep thinking though!
     
    • Like x 1
  3. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    How do you know it doesn't solve the problem? It was only instituted like last month!
     
  4. Rwolf01

    Rwolf01 Member

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    Well, the problem exists because at least some owners want the freedom to plug in and walk away. They would like to return at a time dictated by their schedule, not the car's charging time. Fining them for returning late does encourage them to come back sooner, but it doesn't give them want they really want.

    It seems to me what they really want is a valet to move their car for them, when it's done charging and the guy waiting for the charger would probably be willing to be the valet, since he can solve his problem without bugging the other owner. All we would need is an easy mechanism for it.

    I know some people are very sensitive/emotional/protective about their cars or they just won't understand what I'm proposing, so I envision it as an option. People could either chose to pay the fine or enable this feature to let the next guy move their car for them.
     
  5. Rwolf01

    Rwolf01 Member

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    I realize the current software doesn't support it, but the charge lock is under SW control, right? Also, at least for cars with autopilot, the accelerator, brakes and steering are also under SW control, right? So, in principle, it should be possible to write an app to do this.

    I realize there are security concerns. That's why I proposed making it optional. Each owner could decide whether to pay the fine or let someone move the car for them.

    I'm not a computer security expert, so I won't comment on the implementation but here are factors that would in principle severely limit the possibilities for theft or hacking.

    1: The app could require fingerprint or face recognition to identify and authenticate the remote driver.
    2: The app could also require the presence of a Tesla nearby that needs a charge and is registered to the person using the app.
    (The idea is to only enable remote driving in the narrow case where it is needed, so it wouldn't be possible for some punk with a stolen phone to cause trouble)
    3: The app could be limited to walking speeds and short distances (say, max 200 meters and 10 km/hr).
    4: The car being moved could use it's autopilot sensors to veto any motion that would bump into something.
    5: The system could log all the sensor data and ID of the person moving the car, so there is a record of what happened in case someone claims their car got damaged later.
    6: The app would require that the person moving the car accepts responsible for it before giving them control over it.
    7: The app would send a text message to the phone of the car's owner including the GPS coordinates and a picture of where the car was moved to, so they can find it easily.
    8: The app could have a 'practice mode' to allow people to drive their own cars around remotely first, to gain experience and proficiency with using the app. It could even include a 'final exam' they would have to pass. (remote parallel parking, or something) before they are allowed to use the app on other people's cars.
     
  6. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Active Member

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    Oh, heh. What you are referring to as "the problem" is a different thing that most people on here were probably thinking of as "the problem". You are referring to people not wanting to be inconvenienced and being able to have something else solve their issue, so they can take 2 or 3 hours and not have to do anything about moving their car. Most other people here probably think of "the problem" as being only from Tesla's side and other drivers who are waiting to use those stalls, and who gives a flying f___ about if someone feels a bit inconvenienced about having to come back and move their car in a reasonable time.
     
  7. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    the OP really hasn't thought this through.
    the biggest issue I see it someone else gaining control of a car that they do not own. can you say liability? who will be responsible for any sort of damages you might cause moving someone else's car.
     

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