From left: Takahiro Yamashita (Service Development Department), Hikaru Sugiura (Electrical & Software Engineering Department)
The Model Ci has a companion app to pair users’ smartphone and device. The Model Ci iPhone and Android app allows users to view their battery charge, check their range, lock the device* and drive it remotely**, with a range of speeds. We talked to two engineers who were part of the WHILL Application Development team.
*For users who do not have a smartphone, the smart key can be used to lock the Model Ci.
**The remote control function is compatible with iOS version applications only.
The Model Ci app is very intuitive, especially for everyday iPhone and smartphone users. Selectable buttons are all blue, so that even newer smartphone users will know where to press and how to operate the app. We carefully selected the most important functions and information required by the user, arranging the app to be as user-friendly as possible. We also use icons to reduce confusion.
The popular remote control is more fun and easier to use
Like the Model A, the Model Ci can be driven remotely through the app. This feature is helpful for users when in bed or the restroom, they can use the app to drive their device closer to them, or move it out of the way. The Model Ci app features a virtual controller to drive the device that looks exactly like the actual controller. We aimed for a controller design that was responsive, but does not create handling issues when driving remotely. As a bonus feature, available only for iPhone 7 or later, to express the feeling of realistic operation, we added a little playfulness. When when the controller is tilted to the left and right, the users’ iPhone vibrates.
The app features three different speed settings. During initial app development we considered being able to customize many items such as acceleration and rotation speeds. However, with too many settings, it can overly complicate the app and degrade user experience. Our goal was to make the app as user-friendly and convenient as we could. We recognized that the needs of the app were to easily change speeds as needed, not finely configure every possible detail. Ultimately, we went with three speed settings for Model Ci app — eco, normal and sport modes.
“This visibility gives me extra peace-of-mind”
When buying an electric vehicle, both functionality and safety are top concerns. Safety was also a top priority for the Model Ci app. The app allows users to readily check battery life and the total mileage, helping to gauge when to charge or replace the battery, as well as a reminder to check the condition of the omni-wheel rubber and rear wheel thread.
*The remote control function is compatible with iOS version applications only. Android version applications support OS 5.0 – 8.0. Remote control function is not available. Depending on the Android device, the application may not be available.
Takahiro Yamashita, Service Development Department
Yamashita graduated from Waseda University, joining WHILL in 2016 from Colopra Corporation. As a part of the service development department, he worked on the creation of Web and iOS applications.
Hikaru Sugiura, Software Engineer, Electrical & Software Engineering Department
Sugiura graduated from the Faculty of Engineering Science and Engineering Systems at the University of Tsukuba. He is enthusiastic about designing robots and developing software, including participating in the RoboCup World Tournament. Sugiura joined WHILL in 2017, and is involved in software development.