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Open Source Transportation Technology Hardware

Ford and Bug Labs Shipping OpenXC Beta Kits 58

MojoKid writes "OpenXC is an open source connectivity platform developed in tandem by Ford and open source hardware maker Bug Labs. Announced this fall, the platform is designed to allow developers the ability to use Android- and Arduino-based modules to interact with a vehicle's in-car tech, such as vehicle sensors and GPS units. The OpenXC website succinctly describes the platform as 'an API to your car.' Ford announced that OpenXC beta test kits are now shipping to developers worldwide, including U.S. institutions such as MIT and Standford as well as India's HCL Technologies."
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Ford and Bug Labs Shipping OpenXC Beta Kits

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  • At the same time (I don't have the news link handy) I think I read that there's a push to make the automakers ensure their snazzy tech gadgets aren't enabled while the car is moving. Presumably to keep peoples' eyes on the road instead of a screen. I'm not sure what to think about that.
    • The new Jaguars have solved this problem with a screen that shows different stuff depending if you're the driver or passenger - so the driver sees a satnav screen, the passenger gets to watch TV (or whatever). I doubt it works if the screen is a touchscreen, but it's one idea to stop stupid crashing the weapon he's driving.

      Mind you, there is some stuff that's good to see while moving (after all we have satnavs), like SMS messages popping up in a big font - which would stop stupid from pulling out his phone

      • by mrmeval ( 662166 )

        If I inadvertently kill anyone I'd prefer to have to WATCH it, I owe them that much and I would deserve the immediate terror and the lasting emotional pain.

        I do not like the every changing blinking lights while driving whether inside the car or outside. I accept traffic lights. I will take analog displays even if driven digitally. I want a clock. I want simple buttons to select at most 10 channels on my radio. I'll accept the bizarre voice of any GPS rather than a screen I have to look at. I despise getting

  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Friday February 17, 2012 @05:59PM (#39079831) Homepage Journal

    until my car is infected with a worm that takes over GPS navigation and directs me to a pr0n store.

    and it's the wrong one

    • by Anonymous Coward

      People are already stealing them with onstar hacks. Great news, your insurance doesnt cover this if they find it was compromised via onstar.

    • Perhaps your spouse is trying to tell you something.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 17, 2012 @06:16PM (#39079969)

      Not really. Right now it's a one-way data comm device - the OpenXC box sits on the vehicle CAN bus, picks out some info (gear, engine speed, vehicle speed, windshield wipers, etc...) and forwards it over USB bulk transfers formatted as JSON. Writes don't do anything that I know. The available API requires an android phone with USB-host support.

  • MS sync + ford? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I thought ford was all about Microsoft. They used to run ads all the time about MS Sync. Many parts of syncmyride.com crash in chrome with .NET errors.

  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Friday February 17, 2012 @07:34PM (#39080729) Homepage

    Will they make the engine/... diagnostics available through this API ? Currently they charge the repair garages a lot to have the software to be able to see why that fault light is lighting up on the dashboard. The effect is driving small repair shops & one man bands out of business -- good for Ford since it keeps their expensive dealerships in business.

    I expect not, they would not do anything genuinely useful if it damaged profits.

    • Is that not already available through OBD2?

      • From what I understand, there is the OBD2 standard, and then there proprietary extensions to it that can only be read or interpreted by the dealership for a particular make of car. These extensions are extras and non-critical I believe. But they do provide a tech advantage to help daignose a problem.

        • I think ABS and airbag aren't in the base OBDII code set. I understand they did that on purpose, but wouldn't call those non-critical.

          Very annoying if one of those lights comes on.

  • Part of the brilliance of the OpenXC strategy is that not only is Ford effectively getting free R&D from the open source community, by letting developers in locales far-flung from Detroit have a go with the system, Ford will learn what consumers want and need in a variety of geographic regions.

    Ford would be doing a great disservice by disregarding the desires of those in the US market. Oh, wait, they already are given their un-American car lineup.

  • Does this mean I have some hope of replacing the utter garbage currently installed in my wife's Ford (Microsoft Sync, I'm looking at you). The car itself is pretty good, but the phone/music/voice control system is like some sort of retarded throwback to the '90s, and I'm actually genuinely worried it'll reduce the resale value of the car in a few years.

  • My first app would switch to recirculating air whenever I go near one of the local sewage treatment plants or enter a tunnel. (Or any rectangle I can define via a pair of GPS coordinates, and of course the smell map will be a downloadable crowd-sourced database.) Upon exiting the smelly zone the vent mode returns to whatever it was set to prior. Right now I have a subroutine running on base-brain to handle this task which works well for the frequently travelled areas. But if I forget when driving near t

  • It's just a thing that plugs into the OBD-II connector and translates some of the CAN bus signals to JSON over USB. It's read-only (probably a good thing). All you currently get is vehicle speed, powertrain torque, odometer, ignition status, door status, steering wheel position, fuel level, fuel consuption, and latitude/longitude (if available). You don't get any internal engine information, diagnostic codes, or maintenance info.

    Compare the Scantool which plugs into the OBD-II connector and gives you f

    • Since we're already talking about cars, I'll have to resort to a phone analogy.

      The smartphone equivalent is that "all" this does is provide an API for smartphone apps to access GPS location, tilt sensor data, and battery SOC and drain rate. But really that's pretty huge in itself, it's enough to enable search based on location (be that Yelp, Opentable, or just Bing). It's enough to create crowd-sourced traffic maps, and it might even be enough to do Slashdot style moderation of nearby drivers.

      But yeah I'd

  • I wouldn't trust a company named "Bug Labs" to produce hardware and/or software or my car. That would be kinda asking for it.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern