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FrankE

Some comments on Echo Auto

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I got frustrated trying to set mine up as it wouldn't pair with the Bluetooth in my Toyota Camry. The support site lists a few years of Camry that don't work and I assume this is due to specific customer complaints. My car doesn't have an audio in jack, so I started looking into a USB powered BT speaker to put in the car...

As I started testing that in my house and had some issues, but found out that my Samsung S10 phone can act as a BT speaker for the Echo Auto! That surprised me as I have always used my phone as a BT transmitter to a BT speaker.

Anyway, I now can use my phone as a speaker for Echo Auto, as it requires my phone anyway as its mobile connection and GPS.

This gives me what I'll always wanted... a hands-free Alexa app on my phone

I can have routines "speak" using "This mobile device" and Reminders speak using "Alexa on phone" 

 

Update... I recently found out that since my Samsung phone, which has always been able to Bluetooth connect to my Camry to play music and do phone calls, that this ability still works even when Echo Auto is connected to my phone as a wireless microphone.

This means that I can be listening to music through my phone on the car audio system and still do Alexa functions, even Google Maps navigation, while music is playing

Alexa/Google will only interrupt the music while it speaking, then the music continues... its really working great!!

 

The next post is about another approach using a button 

 

Frank

 

 

 

 

Edited by FrankE
updated experience

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here are the instructions and background info...

 

Background

This news article, as well as anecdotal information from friends and family, have pointed out the need for an easy to use GPS system to for person with mild cognitive decline who are capable of driving, but has found themselves at unusual location.

https://www.kcra.com/article/roseville-police-frank-anderson-missing-person/29490453

While current GPS systems in cars and phones have a way to set a “home location” and are accessible by a few clicks or maybe even a few spoken commands, e.g. “Hey Google, take me Home”, sometimes when a person is under stress, they may forget the sequence. The proposed solution can guide friends or family of the person wishing to remain living independently in easing this problem by starting the GPS with directions for home as well as sending a text message with their actual location

 

Proposed solution

The Google Maps application on mobile phones can provide great verbal turn by turn directions and could be invoked by a simple “button push” through a “Flic Button” which is Bluetooth connected to the mobile phone. Of course, this setup would to be preconfigured as shown below. The button does not have to be located on the phone, it could be placed anywhere within the car and would serve as a “Get me back home” button. Here is a YouTube video showing it in action.

https://youtu.be/W5pl3Frx_9c

Expected difficulties in implementation

·        Bluetooth connections with the car’s audio system can prove troublesome

·        In order to ensure privacy, phones require security unlock feature such as PIN, fingerprint, face ID or voiceprint which may present a problem in a stressful situation

 

Bluetooth Setup

The following was implemented on a Samsung Galaxy s10 phone and some of these features may NOT be available on other Android or Apple IOS phones. The Flic Button application on a phone is capable of starting Google maps with a predefined destination (e.g. Home) with NO confirmation required from the individual EXCEPT to unlock the phone BEFORE starting Google Maps

This phone provides a “smart unlock” feature that keeps the phone unlocked when near a “trusted device” such as the Bluetooth in the individual’s car. However, the individual MUST still tap the power button and do a simple swipe up to unlock it. This verbal instruction will be given by the Flic Button application

If the car’s Bluetooth connection is unreliable, the individual will have to manually unlock their phone as the “Trusted devices” feature would be not available UNLESS a secondary Bluetooth device is added to the car.

Phone setup

·        Setup the phone to pair Bluetooth with either the car or the secondary Bluetooth device.

·        Setup “always on” display

·        Setup “Smart Lock- Trusted Devices” to use your chosen Bluetooth device

o   This allows unlock of the phone by just a power button push & a swipe”

Google Maps Setup

·        Settings- Navigation Settings

o   Turn off all voice selection features

Flic Buttons Setup

·        Pair the button with the phone

·        Single click (some suggested text below… feel free to edit)

o   Text to Speak- “Hi Grandpa, I’ll give you directions to get back home”

o   Text to Speak- “First, unlock your phone”

o   Text to Speak- “Then, push this button for five seconds”

·        Hold button

o   Navigate to the Home address (This launches Google Maps)

o   Optional- Emergency SMS to friend or family members phone (uses phone’s text plan)

§  Can include the address & a map

 

optional text message shown below

 

 

 

 

SMS Text.jpg

SMS Text 1.jpg

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Wow.  I thought it was only my Mazda that struggled with BT connections.

 

Either way, I'm glad you've got it nailed down.  This is quite the workaround and I know someone is going to find this a month from now and be so thankful Frank.

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