The auto-close feature is an “in case you forget” feature. We continually state this in all our communications. You should close your garage door using a voice assistant, the mobile app, a remote, or any method that can close the door while in visual line of sight.
Why can't I set an auto-close distance shorter than 250 feet?
The Tailwind app relies on your phone's GPS signals as well as algorithms to determine that you are leaving and driving a vehicle or riding a bike. GPS signals are not perfectly accurate and algorithms take a short time to establish your activity and intention. Attempting to set an auto-close distance shorter than 250 feet simply doesn't give the GPS and algorithms enough data to make sure you are actually leaving.
If you forget to close the door as you leave, Tailwind’s auto-close will detect your departure, close it for you, and notify you that it is closed. There are many technical reasons why the auto-close can take longer to close your door as you leave:
- Most people don’t realize that their phone loses internet access for a significant period of time when they leave their home WiFi. This is because many phones will try to “hang on” to the WiFi signal even though it is either gone or so weak it is practically useless. The Tailwind app requires internet access to send the close command, and generally it can’t send this command until the phone switches over to the mobile network. This can sometimes take as long as 1 minute, and you can drive pretty far in 1 minute. Even with this delay, Tailwind’s auto-close is still an outstanding security feature.
- In the case of Android phones that are using the vehicle Bluetooth connection, it can take up to 1 minute for the phone to make the connection to the vehicle, especially if the phone isn’t the default phone for that vehicle. Tailwind does not start location tracking until this connection is made, so the command to close the door cannot be sent until the Bluetooth connection between the Android phone and the vehicle has been established, and the app has gathered enough location information to determine that you are, in fact, driving away.
- Sometimes the GPS hardware in the phone can take time to “lock in” on the GPS satellites. You may have experienced this when you open a Maps app and initially there is a large circle of uncertainty around your location. The circle of uncertainty will shrink as the hardware in the phone locks in on your location. The Tailwind app is designed to ignore location information that is not reasonably accurate, so until your phone establishes your location with reasonable accuracy, the Tailwind app cannot send an open or close command automatically.
Also, please note that Tailwind sends the close command much sooner than when you receive the notification that it closed. When Tailwind sends the command to close the door, there is a 5 second delay while the warning signals are running. Then your garage door needs to completely close. Then the notification needs to be sent to your phone, which could be another few seconds. That's 20 seconds or more (probably more) after the close command is sent. At 20 MPH that's another 580 feet past when the system sent the close command. At 30 MPH that's almost another 900 feet. Add this time / distance to how long it might take for your phone to switch to the mobile network as well as any delays in connecting to the vehicle Bluetooth and you get the picture. If your phone switches to the mobile network quickly and you're using a Tailwind vehicle sensor (which connects with your phone within a few seconds), you will notice the Tailwind system sends the close command soon after you cross the exit distance threshold. It's still not "immediate upon backing out of the driveway", but that's why we always state that the auto-close is "in case you forget".
Just tell Siri, Alexa, or The Google Assistant to close it for you. Some users prefer to use the Android or iOS widgets, and others still keep their remotes in their car :)
Considering all of the technical reasons as to what would cause a vehicle to be /further/ than the minimum configurable 250 feet for auto close, then it seems like 250 feet might actually be too far and you really should consider allowing an auto close closer than 250 feet. If the purpose of this is security, just being out of site after forgetting to close your garage is in itself a security issue - if someone watches you drive out of site with your garage open this provides ample time for them to run into your garage without anyone knowing.
Correct. But there is a large technical reason to NOT close it sooner. Phones have GPS errors. The phone operating system might send our app a location update with a confidence level of 30 feet when in fact it is actually off by 100 feet. If we were to allow small distances for auto-close it will cause doors to close unexpectedly.
As we always state in all of our literature - this is an "in case you forget" feature. If you leave and forget to close your garage door, the auto-close will detect it and close the door for you.
That said, we do recognize that our customers would really like to have the door close while they can still see it close and we are working on this.
Any updates on this, Scott?
Nothing I can disclose publicly Craig. There is some intellectual property involved.
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