Posts with «car» label

Reverse Engineering the Smart ForTwo CAN Bus

The CAN bus has become a defacto standard in modern cars. Just about everything electronic in a car these days talks over this bus, which makes it fertile ground for aspiring hackers. [Daniel Velazquez] is striking out in this area, attempting to decode the messages on the CAN bus of his Smart ForTwo.

[Daniel] has had some pitfalls – first attempts with a Beaglebone Black were somewhat successful in reading messages, but led to strange activity of the car and indicators. This is par for the course in any hack that wires into an existing system – there’s a high chance of disrupting what’s going on leading to unintended consequences.

Further work using an Arduino with the MCP_CAN library netted [Daniel] better results, but  it would be great to understand precisely why the BeagleBone was causing a disturbance to the bus. Safety is highly important when you’re hacking on a speeding one-ton metal death cart, so it pays to double and triple check everything you’re doing.

Thus far, [Daniel] is part way through documenting the messages on the bus, finding registers that cover the ignition and turn signals, among others. Share your CAN hacking tips in the comments. For those interested in more on the CAN bus, check out [Eric]’s great primer on CAN hacking – and keep those car hacking projects flowing to the tip line!


Filed under: car hacks

Newsflash: A Bunch of Arduinos is Not an Autonomous Car

Nobody’s perfect. Sometimes you’re up late at night writing a blog post and you stumble upon an incredible story. You write it up, and it ends up being, well, incredible. IEEE Spectrum took the bait on this video (embedded below) where [Keran McKenzie] claims to have built a self-driving car for under $1,000 AUS with Arduinos.

The video is actually pretty funny, and we don’t think it’s intended to be a mass-media hoax as much as a YouTube joke. After letting the car “take over” for a few seconds, it swerves and [Keran] pretends to have hit something. (He’s using his knees people!) There are lots of takes with him under the car, and pointing at a single wire that supposedly makes the whole thing work. Yeah, right.


We were a bit bummed, though. We don’t think you can even reliably interface a sensor system with the steering wheel, accelerator, and brakes for as little as one grand, but we would have been entirely happy to see it done. We’re not saying that the software to run an autonomous car is the easy part, but we’d love to have a hack at it if the hardware were affordable.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a real autonomous driving experience, we recommend starting by hacking RC cars and giving them substantially bigger brains than an Arduino. Once you’ve got that working, making progress to a real car is doable, but expensive. And it helps to be [geohot].

And lest you think we’re all holier-than-thou, check out our most embarrassing post ever. We could just curl up and die. Feel better soon, IEEE Spectrum!

Thanks [jpiat] for the tip!


Filed under: Arduino Hacks
Hack a Day 19 Oct 18:00

Arduino + Software Defined Radio = Millions of Vulnerable Volkswagens

As we’ve mentioned previously, the integrity of your vehicle in an era where even your car can have a data connection could be a dubious bet at best. Speaking to these concerns, a soon-to-be published paper out of the University of Birmingham in the UK, states that virtually every Volkswagen sold since 1995 can be hacked and unlocked by cloning the vehicle’s keyfob via an Arduino and software defined radio (SDR).

The research team, led by [Flavio Garcia], have described two main vulnerabilities: the first requires combining a cyrptographic key from the vehicle with the signal from the owner’s fob to grant access, while the second takes advantage of the virtually ancient HiTag2 security system that was implemented in the 1990s. The former affects up to 100 million vehicles across the Volkswagen line, while the latter will work on models from Citroen, Peugeot, Opel, Nissan, Alfa Romero, Fiat, Mitsubishi and Ford.

The process isn’t exactly as simple as putting together $40 of electronics and walking away with a vehicle. The would-be thief must be close in order to detect the fob’s unique key — although they only need to do so once for that vehicle! — as well as reverse-engineer the other half of the code from the vehicle’s internal network. Exploiting HiTag2’s vulnerabilities to unlock the vehicle can be achieved within a minute by a well-prepared thief. [Garcia] and his team note that only the VW Golf 7 has been spared from this exploit.

If thievery is not your thing and you’re looking to white-hat hack your vehicle, Volkswagen still has the best option in the form of the loveable Beetle.

[Thanks for the tip therafman!]


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, hardware

Tricking an Ancient Protocol To Play Tunes

A lot of technological milestones were reached in 2007. The first iPhone, for example, was released that January, and New Horizons passed Jupiter later on that year. But even with all of these amazing achievements, Volvo still wasn’t putting auxiliary inputs on the stereo systems in their cars. They did have antiquated ports in their head units though, and [Kalle] went about engineering this connector to accommodate an auxiliary input.

The connector in question is an 8-pin DIN in the back, which in the days of yore (almost eight years ago) would have been used for a CD changer. Since CDs are old news now, [Kalle] made use of this feature for the hack. The first hurdle was that the CD changer isn’t selectable from the menu unless the head unit confirms that there’s something there. [Kalle] used an Arduino Nano to fool the head unit by simulating the protocol that the CD changer would have used. From there, the left and right audio pins on the same connector were used to connect the auxiliary cable.

If you have a nearly-antique Volvo like [Kalle] that doesn’t have an aux input and you want to try something like this, the source code for the Arduino is available on the project page. Of course, if you don’t have a Volvo, there are many other ways to go about hacking an auxiliary input into various other devices, like an 80s boombox or the ribbon cable on a regular CD player. Things don’t always go smoothly, though, so there are a few nonstandard options as well.


Filed under: car hacks, digital audio hacks

New Project: Build Your Own Android-Powered Self Driving R/C Car

Learn how a team of students created the first Google Android-based autonomous R/C car, able to detect lanes, avoid obstacles, self-park, and more.

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The post Build Your Own Android-Powered Self Driving R/C Car appeared first on Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers.

Self-Driving R/C Car Parks Itself Just Like a Lexus

Self-driving cars are in the news almost daily, but they are not exactly in my automotive budget for this decade. Today, that has changed. While this car might be smaller and not capable of giving me a ride, it’s still autonomous and, best of all, it is a project that I […]

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The post Self-Driving R/C Car Parks Itself Just Like a Lexus appeared first on Make: DIY Projects, How-Tos, Electronics, Crafts and Ideas for Makers.

Instrument Cluster Clock Gets The Show On The Road

While driving around one day, [Esko] noticed that the numbers and dials on a speedometer would be a pretty great medium for a clock build. This was his first project using a microcontroller, and with no time to lose he got his hands on the instrument cluster from a Fiat and used it to make a very unique timepiece.

The instrument cluster he chose was from a diesel Fiat Stilo, which [Esko] chose because the tachometer on the diesel version suited his timekeeping needs almost exactly. The speedometer measures almost all the way to 240 kph which works well for a 24-hour clock too. With the major part sourced, he found an Arduino clone and hit the road (figuratively speaking). A major focus of this project was getting the CAN bus signals sorted out. It helped that the Arduino clone he found had this functionality built-in (and ended up being cheaper than a real Arduino and shield) but he still had quite a bit of difficulty figuring out all of the signals.

In the end he got everything working, using a built-in servo motor in the cluster to make a “ticking” sound for seconds, and using the fuel gauge to keep track of the minutes. [Esko] also donated it to a local car museum when he finished so that others can enjoy this unique timepiece. Be sure to check out the video below to see this clock in action, and if you’re looking for other uses for instrument clusters that you might have lying around, be sure to check out this cluster used for video games.

The mechanics in dashboards are awesome, and produced at scale. That’s why our own [Adam Fabio] is able to get a hold of that type of hardware for his Analog Gauge Stepper kit. He simply adds a 3D printed needle, and a PCB to make interfacing easy.


Filed under: car hacks, clock hacks

Replace Your Car’s Clock with an On Board Diagnostics Display

If you’re a car lover, or simply someone who is bothered by not knowing what’s going on in your “machine” at all times, you might be interested in having a customizable diagnostics display. If so, you would probably like it to look as close to a stock part as possible. […]

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MAKE » Arduino 31 Oct 18:01
arduino  car  display  

The blueShift Custom Tachometer

Not satisfied with the stock tachometer on your car? You could buy an aftermarket kit, but for something truly unique, Pete Mills decided to design and build his own. He calls his creation “blueShift,” which, although possibly optimistic about the speed he will be able to achieve in his Ford […]

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Car alarm remote control repurposing

A while ago, I got hold of a car alarm unit and its two remote control fobs. When i hooked it up to 12V I realized that it didn’t  work, not responding to any of the commands from the two fobs even though their batteries were OK. Naturally, I opened up the unit to start harvesting parts and noticed the RF module within (the one that sticks out perpendicularly) and I figured it shouldn’t be too hard to use the module with an Arduino.

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Let's Make Robots 30 Jan 19:50