PitToCar Android Application

PitToCar‘ and ‘PitToCar Rx‘ are complimentary Android applications available on the play store. PitToCar allows you to compose and send short meaningful messages to any device running a paired version of ‘PitToCar Rx’.

Requirements

  • Two or more ‘connected’ Android (Lollipop (v5/API 21) or newer) devices

What?
Quite simply ‘PitToCar’ and ‘PitToCar Rx’ are a pair of unidirectional messaging applications. The idea being that ‘PitToCar Rx’ sits in the car over a race weekend/trackday/test allowing a team member stood on the pit wall or in a garage the ability to send short meaningful messages to it. Both devices require an internet connection, in my instance I use my personal phone for ‘PitToCar’, then a spare phone with Pay&Go/Prepaid data sim for ‘PitToCar Rx’.

The app was recently tested, and used extensively during a 12 hour endurance race with great success.

How?
Configuring the application is fairly straight forward, follow the steps below:

  1. Download ‘PitToCar‘ to ‘device A’
  2. Download ‘PitToCar Rx‘ to ‘device B’
  3. Inside ‘PitToCar’ press the Settings button found in the top right corner to display your unique pairing QR code
  4. Inside ‘PitToCar Rx’ press the Scan QR Code button in the top right corner and scan the QR code displayed in ‘PitToCar’

That’s all there is too it, and assuming both devices are connected to the internet you may now send your first message. It is possible to pair/associate multiple ‘PitToCar Rx’ applications, but keep in mind any message sent will be delivered to ALL running paired ‘PitToCar Rx’ applications.

By default ‘PitToCar Rx’ displays the current time, delivered messages replace the time for around 60 seconds before they disappear. An undelivered message has a configurable timeout which by default is set to 2 minutes. This means that any message that hasn’t been delivered within the configured timeout will never be seen by the driver. I find that a message is usually valid for a single lap of the circuit and adjust timeout based on the drivers average lap time of the circuit we’re at.

A fixed message is also configurable inside ‘PitToCar Rx’, this can be useful for displaying information that is unlikely to change during a race. Things like new brake pads, a reminder of the pit speed limit, or even just something to focus the drivers mind.

To quickly send a previously sent message again, tap your chosen message. This will populate the message box automatically, you are then able to send the message as is, or edit it slightly.

If you would like to delete a previously sent message, long tap your chosen message and press OK to the warning. If the message has yet to be delivered the driver should never see it. Hopefully it goes without saying that delivered messages cannot be unseen by the driver.

What it doesn’t do (yet)
As previously mentioned, whilst it is possible to pair multiple instances of ‘PitToCar Rx’ to a single instance of ‘PitToCar’ there isn’t a mechanism to send messages to defined devices.

The driver using ‘PitToCar Rx’ doesn’t have the ability to manually respond to a delivered message. It would be easy to implement a touchscreen response, but it’s likely that they’ll be wearing gloves, or the device will be too far away to reach. Perhaps if there is significant call to implement touchscreen responses that’s something I can look to include. Ideally I’d allow the use of physical buttons, either wired to the phone or connected via Bluetooth.

Support
If you’re struggling with any aspect of either app or have suggestions on how you believe they can be improved please contact me directly so we can discuss.

Future Development
There is scope to extend the app in a number of ways:

  • Quick message access, allowing common messages to be transmitted with a single button press
  • True multiple ‘PitToCar Rx’ support, giving ability to choose which devices to send messages to
  • Simple real time OBD & GPS based telemetry
  • Physical accept/request steering wheel mounted buttons
  • iOS Support

Disclaimer
Before using this during sanctioned motorsport events, please check local regulations to make sure the use of this app doesn’t land you in bother with organisers.

Download
Both apps are available via early access here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/dev?id=4827973786641167508