Monday, March 10, 2014

Ford Invites Open Source Community to Tinker Away

EE Times (02/27/14) Junko Yoshida 

People will be able to customize and tinker with their Ford Motor vehicles using the automaker's OpenXC open source platform. OpenXC works like an application programming interface for cars and combines open source hardware and software in a way that will enable enthusiasts to extend their vehicles with custom applications and pluggable modules. OpenXC uses standard, well-known tools to open up a wealth of data from the vehicle. The idea is to make the car as easy to program as a smartphone. Ford engineer Zachary Nelson has used OpenXC to re-task the motor from a Microsoft Xbox 360 game controller to create a shift knob that vibrates to signal gear shifts in a standard-transmission Mustang. The prototype uses the OpenXC research platform to link devices to the car via Bluetooth, and shares vehicle data from the on-board diagnostics port. "We designed the platform such that people can have real-time access to the vehicle data and they can do whatever they want with that data," Nelson says. He also notes that people with smartphones can use OpenXC to connect with real-time vehicle data.