Until fairly recently car manufacturers have been extremely controlling over the hardware and software components in their vehicles.
In a highly competitive industry that may have been understandable in the past, but in a world where we’ve become accustomed to plug-and-play capabilities on all of our devices it was inevitable that car manufacturers would have to follow suit eventually.
In 2013 Ford Motor Company, apparently seeing the writing on the wall, introduced a new open source platform that would be accessible to developers and consumers alike called OpenXC.
Using a plug-in piece of hardware on compatible Ford cars anyone can use this platform to expand the capabilities and interaction with their car.
Essentially, how you communicate with your car is potentially only limited by your own imagination or the imagination of third-party developers. The only caveat being is that this is a platform developed to work in concert with the Android environment – so if you’re a fan of the Apple iOS at the moment you’re out of luck.
Perhaps the most obvious potential use for an open source platform that can communicate with your vehicle is the ability to upgrade your infotainment system. The explosion in technological integration in vehicles has a lot of upside but it still has certain limitations. Car infotainment systems are notoriously difficult to upgrade and if you keep your car for a few years it’s bound to become outdated.
The great advantage of a system like OpenXC is that this no longer has to be the case. You or a qualified developer can develop the software that will enable you to quickly upgrade your system and bring it in line with any modern developments.
Car infotainment systems are notoriously difficult to upgrade and if you keep your car for a few years it’s bound to become outdated. The great advantage of a system like OpenXC is that this no longer has to be the case. You or a qualified developer can develop the software that will enable you to quickly upgrade your system and bring it in line with any modern developments.
While that may be one of the most obvious uses for this type of system the actual potential use for an open source software platform that works with vehicles is really only limited by your imagination.
One example the OpenXC team uses on their own website is an app that actually paints a picture based on every turn of your steering wheel. That may seem like a pretty far out concept, but it gives you an idea of just how far you can go with the system.
Improve Your GPS
Another great thing that a tech savvy individual could use this software for is to improve the GPS capabilities of their car.
You might use it to enable an app that can help you find where you parked your car, or simply to improve the GPS accuracy of your cars navigational systems. GPS has a lot of potential uses that we’re only just starting to tap into these days, but this open source system can allow us to potentially maximize its potential.
One of the neatest things about the OpenXC system is that it’s fully transferable, or if you prefer it’s plug-and-play. That means when you buy a new vehicle you don’t have to start from scratch if you’ve developed a custom system that you really like.
You can quickly transfer the system to your new vehicle and take advantage of all the custom software you’ve developed or had developed for you. Let’s say for example you’ve developed an app that always notifies you when
Let’s say for example you’ve developed an app that always notifies you when your windshield wiper fluid is getting low and you want to take that functionality to your new vehicle – that’s not a problem with this open source software.
You’re Only Really Limited by Your Imagination
Every once in a while, a technology comes along that sort of makes you sit up and take notice and OpenXC is one of those types of technology.
This is a real game changer that’s bound to push Ford’s competitors to follow suit which means a lot more choice for the consumer. In the past when you purchased a car you were essentially stuck in a time warp until you bought a new one – it never really changed. That’s not the case anymore.