The so-called start-stop system of a car is a fuel and emission reducing feature that automatically shuts down and restarts the internal combustion engine in order to reduce the idle time.
Bench tests performed on different cars and with different test cycles have demonstrated that improvement in fuel efficiency thanks to start-stop systems varies from 1 % to 14.4 %, and possibly even more variable in real world conditions. Cars with start-stop systems increased significantly at the introduction of European Emission standard, EURO 5 in 2009.
As usual when there is something “new” and non-optional features introduced to humans’ everyday life, there are concerns. Questions like: Is this really good for my car? For the environment? What about the temperature of the catalyst? Fatigue on my engine or gearbox? Or, how long shall the engine be turned off, for compensating for extra fuel consumption at the turn on? (Approximately 10 s, someone ones told me at the SAE 2012 International Powertrains, Fuels & Lubricants Meeting in Malmö, Sweden back in 2012.) Nevertheless, it is there. Whether you like it or not. Whenever you are standing still for a red light with your modern car the start-stop system will automatically turn off its combustion engine. But there is the opportunity to turn this feature off manually by a dedicated physical dashboard-switch.
For various reasons, some people do not like the start-stop system feature at all and wished the feature never existed. For example, as the reddit user CGamer_OS who for sure hated to constantly be having to switch off the start-stop system at every start of a ride. The unique solution to this inventor’s problem was solved by implementing a robot for explicitly pressing that button. A tiny configurable IoT tool dedicated for pressing buttons was installed next to the dashboard-button regulating the start-stop system.
The switch-pressing-robot was set up to be activated whenever CGamer_OS’s phone was placed in a phone mount of the car, where an NFC tag is scanned. This set up activates the robot to switch off the start-stop system by pressing the dedicated button before the car has been started.
Whether this lifehack really is cybersecurity related or not can be discussed, nevertheless it is a clever lifehack making use of a robot with no permanent modifications to the car.
Written by Joakim Rosell