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Thread: DashSketch 'Virtual Cockpit' for iOS - Beta Testers Wanted

  1. #1

    DashSketch 'Virtual Cockpit' for iOS - Beta Testers Wanted

    We're getting very close to the public release of DashSketch, our 'Virtual Cockpit' digital dash software for iOS, and we'd love to get some VWW members to help us out with Beta Testing.



    What is DashSketch?

    DashSketch is a fully featured digital dash app that runs on iPad and iPhone devices (Android version coming soon). Think of the digital dash cluster in the Lamborghini Huracan, or the Virtual Cockpit in the new Audi TT, except it runs on your iPad, connects to your VW (or any car with OBD2) and costs thousands of times less than a new Lambo.



    What does DashSketch do?

    Aside from the obvious (connecting to your car and displaying all your usual gauges - speedo, RPM, engine temps, battery voltage, boost pressure etc), DashSketch adds plenty of additional features to your car:


    • Dynamic satellite mapping with live traffic overlays
    • Global turn-by-turn navigation
    • Speed limit display
    • Real-time weather data for your destination
    • Performance timer with 0-100kph, 1/4 mile, Flying 1/2 mile and Standing 1000m timers




    We've got even more functionality coming in the next few months:



    • Specific lap-timer / motorsport displays
    • 4WD / Offroad displays
    • Data logging & playback
    • Cloud synchronisation (view live or recorded data from your car remotely on another iOS device)
    • Traffic camera displays
    • Google Calendar integration (view appointments and navigate directly to them)




    Help Us Test!

    We need your help to finish testing the app, so we can ensure we're compatible with as many cars as possible and we're displaying the type of data you want to see as you drive.

    If you've got an iPad (you'll need a Cellular model to use the navigation features as WiFi-only iPads don't have GPS) and an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter, and you want to help test DashSketch, please send us a PM or reply to this thread and we'll send you some more details.

    If you want to test but don't have an OBD2 Adapter please drop us a line anyway and we'll point you in the right direction for a compatible model.

    For more details check out the intro video on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rBI6ZkkWV4 or visit our website dashsketch.com.


    NOTE: Admin have approved this post.
    Last edited by The_Hawk; 18-02-2016 at 09:41 AM. Reason: moved post into public arena.
    DashSketch - Drive, Capture Share.

    DashSketch is a connected dashcam, OBD2 logger and turn-by-turn navigation app for iOS Devices. Available now from the App Store for $9.99 AUD - https://appsto.re/us/f_xZab.i

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    That looks awesome, just need to have some neat (and removeable) mounting bracket to get the best of both worlds (iPad for fun, stock gauges for the rest of the time).

    Sign me up, I've got an iPad Mini retina with cellular and a ODB bluetooth dongle (and also a separate WiFi one) so would love to have a play.


    If it has an engine or heartbeat it's going to cost you. | Getflix

  3. #3
    Thanks Aaron - I'll shoot you a PM to get you setup with the test build!

    For the mount, we're looking at universal mounts (like windscreen phone mounts) as well as custom mounts for specific vehicles.

    So far we've got the Mk6 Golf mount designed and built - it clips into the holes where the lower plastic fascia normally sits below the cluster, making it a 5 second operation to mount or remove the iPad. As a bonus, the back of the mount works like a desk stand. We'll be getting some injection moulded but in the mean time if anyone wants the STL files to 3D print one themselves we're happy to share.







    Last edited by HLS; 18-02-2016 at 10:37 AM.
    DashSketch - Drive, Capture Share.

    DashSketch is a connected dashcam, OBD2 logger and turn-by-turn navigation app for iOS Devices. Available now from the App Store for $9.99 AUD - https://appsto.re/us/f_xZab.i

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    I can definitely assist with the Android version when the time comes. I am an android person and done software testing in the past. I have an OBD2 Adapter & a Nexus 10. I own a B7 Passat 2011 VR6 Highline.

    I have used multiple software from the Play Store that can display car data, however there is always that small delay (lag) until e.g. the RPM is updated. So how are you handling that?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by 00100100 View Post
    I can definitely assist with the Android version when the time comes. I am an android person and done software testing in the past. I have an OBD2 Adapter & a Nexus 10. I own a B7 Passat 2011 VR6 Highline.

    I have used multiple software from the Play Store that can display car data, however there is always that small delay (lag) until e.g. the RPM is updated. So how are you handling that?
    Thanks for the offer - we'll be sure to let you know when the Android version is ready for testing in the coming months.

    As you'll know, RPM data is probably the hardest to get in a timely manner as any latency (lag) in the data coming through is more obvious than any other data. With an OBD2 dongle there's always going to be some lag, as the software makes a request for RPM, the dongle processes it and returns the RPM value to the software which then decodes it and displays on the screen. In most cars we've tested that's about 100ms (1/10th of a second) - which isn't huge but it's noticeable if you're comparing the factory tacho with the one in your app. It's far more obvious when blipping the throttle at the lights rather than when driving normally.

    There's not too much we can do about that lag itself - though we do have some clever algorithms that smooth out the needle movement to better match the data coming through from the car - but it's far more obvious in apps like Torque or DashCommand where their sole purpose is to provide gauges to map data from the car. DashSketch is designed so that the dynamic maps are the focus and during normal driving any lag in the tacho needle isn't really noticeable as you're not paying as much direct attention to that needle.

    That said, the proof is in the testing - so hopefully our testers have the same experience we think they'll have and enjoy the app!

    Thanks for your thoughts - and we hope to get your help when we are ready to test the Android version.
    DashSketch - Drive, Capture Share.

    DashSketch is a connected dashcam, OBD2 logger and turn-by-turn navigation app for iOS Devices. Available now from the App Store for $9.99 AUD - https://appsto.re/us/f_xZab.i

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Sounds great, looking forward to it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    I won't hold my breath for pre-OBD2 cars but my Nexus 7 (2nd gen) fits perfectly in my cluster so if anyone had a post '95 MK3 and a Nexus 7 they should check out your Android app.
    The WiFi version of the Nexus 7 has GPS.
    How much do you think the adapter will cost? BT 4.0 chips are somewhat pricey compared the usual BT chips that are used in these adapters. I've worked with both myself.
    I updated my BT 2.0 chips in devices to BT 4.0 so that I could use them with my iPhone easily and not just my Android tablet.

    And I'll be that guy, but what is the legality of this? If I get pulled over and a cop sees this covering my whole cluster would this be a problem? Just something to think about if you haven't already.

    Good luck and keen to see how you go!
    Past - '95 VW Golf MK3 VR6
    Present - '11 Ford Focus LW Diesel (PSA DW10C)

  8. #8
    Thanks mate - all very interesting questions and thanks for the feedback!

    Re pre-OBD2 support, you're correct that without a vehicle data connection things are far less useful. To this end we are actually working on an OBD2 'emulator' board that converts old-skool analogue signals into a format that can be read by any OBD2 compliant hardware - I'm building it specifically to be able to install one of our dash upgrades into my old Porsche 928, but the hardware should be usable across any pre-CANBus vehicle (with a reasonable amount of DIY knowhow - it certainly won't be plug-and-play).

    The requirements for Android hardware will be different to iOS, but the app requires both GPS and mobile data, so if a WiFi Nexus 7 was used with a 3G hotspot (from your phone for example) that should do the job nicely.

    We use BT 4.0 primarily for iOS support - Apple requires that Bluetooth 2.0 devices are certified under the MadeForiPod program (old name but still current and very expensive program), so the majority of BT 2.0 devices just plain don't work under iOS and we can't afford to build and certify our own adapter. BT 4.0 provides all the data throughput we need and allows us to use any BT 4.0 LE device without needing to have them certified.

    We're currently doing testing with a Jaycar BT 4.0 adapter ($69) and we're looking at selling our own 'tested & verified' adapter for around $50. AliExpress has plenty of adapters that *should* be compatible for sub-$20 USD but we've yet to test those specifically with our app.

    Our CANBus adapter will be more expensive than the OBD2 version but it's the CAN chips on that hardware that contribute most to the expense, not the BT 4.0 chip.

    As for the legality, there are a couple of aspects to that. We've reviewed the relevant ADRs and as we are reproducing vehicle functionality there is no issue from a compliance perspective - it may seem strange but you'll get into more 'theoretical' trouble changing to a larger wheel size than running an aftermarket dash. Of course the usual rules would apply in regards to interacting with the dash whilst driving, but most states have updated their legislation to make it legal to use a securely mounted phone or tablet for navigation purposes.

    Of course we have customers who prefer to mount the tablet or phone running DashSketch elsewhere in the car (just like a TomTom), or connect it so the display output appears on the factory navigation screen, so that's not as much of an issue.
    DashSketch - Drive, Capture Share.

    DashSketch is a connected dashcam, OBD2 logger and turn-by-turn navigation app for iOS Devices. Available now from the App Store for $9.99 AUD - https://appsto.re/us/f_xZab.i

  9. #9
    You might also want to check that the boost values you are seeing are in fact correct. I notice with many of the dongles applications out there are looking at either the wrong PID or the (correct) data is not available via CAN. Vagcom of course does this correctly. I've never bothered to look into it properly. P3 gauges for example mis-read by a few PSI

  10. #10

    Quote Originally Posted by parso_rex View Post
    You might also want to check that the boost values you are seeing are in fact correct. I notice with many of the dongles applications out there are looking at either the wrong PID or the (correct) data is not available via CAN. Vagcom of course does this correctly. I've never bothered to look into it properly. P3 gauges for example mis-read by a few PSI
    Boost is a really tricky piece of data to display on the VAG platform, at least via OBD2.

    The OBD2 PID Standard includes several PIDs to display Boost values (actual and requested), but VW (and the other VAG manufacturers) have chosen not to implement that PID, so there's no way to get the real Boost values via OBD2. Not even VAGCOM in OBD2 mode can obtain the real boost readings - and if RossTech hasn't reverse engineered those values I'd suspect they truly don't exist in the VAG OBD2 implementation.

    The Torque app on Android displays Boost by calculating an 'estimated boost' value from MAF values, engine displacement, atmospheric pressure and a couple of other values. It can be accurate or not, depending on how well the app is configured by the user and how close the atmospheric conditions are to what was configured.

    P3 gauges for VWs generally rely on a dedicated Boost sensor that's installed in the car at the same time as the gauge. The boost values can vary from what the car would report as the P3 Boost sensor is typically installed at a slightly different location to the factory sensor.

    DashSketch in OBD2 mode won't display a Boost value from our VWs.

    VAGCOM can pull the car's Boost value directly from the CANBus, as can DashSketch when using our CANBus Adapter and the PolarFIS+ displays.
    DashSketch - Drive, Capture Share.

    DashSketch is a connected dashcam, OBD2 logger and turn-by-turn navigation app for iOS Devices. Available now from the App Store for $9.99 AUD - https://appsto.re/us/f_xZab.i

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