Monitor Your Driveway with Python

by Gordon Meyer

In Smart Home Hacks, Michael Ferguson (creator of the Mac home automation application XTension) contributed "Hack 54 - Monitor Your Driveway" which describes his techniques for knowing when a vehicle has entered his property and when it has arrived at the house. It uses some simple, but useful, scripting along with motion detectors and a photo-electric beam.

Neil Cherry, on his Linux home automation resource list, pointed me towards an interesting alternative approach by Fred Stelter, as published in Linux Journal. Fred's techniques uses a serial I/O box, a magnetic sensor, and some clever Python scripting.

When it comes to home automation, knowing multiple approaches allows you to choose (or more likely, combine) what works for you.


Mike Perry
2006-05-02 17:46:10
Really clever would be a system smart enough to recognize particular cars and respond appropriately. When you arrive home, the garage opens. When you leave (at certain hours, the house puts itself into away mode, turning down the heat etc. When a UPS van pulls in, an announcement is made. In the wee hours of the night, the arrival of a car (or moving person) could trigger lights and a camera. Add recognition and the list of uses becomes almost endless.

--Mike Perry, Untangling Tolkien

Gordon Meyer
2006-05-02 17:51:44
Thanks for your comment. There are folks doing recognition of their own cars today, but not the UPS truck or other random visitors.

For example, when I arrive home to an empty house the lights are turned on (as appropriate) and I'm told how long I was gone and how many email messages from friends are waiting in my inbox. This isn't accomplished by tagging my car; pressing the garage door button in my car starts it all in motion. Not quite as fancy as you outlined, but it works. If it could all happen automatically that would be great, but pressing one button is a step in the right direction.