I attended Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire last weekend and was quite impressed by Ford's OpenXC project: "an API to your car".  I'd read about project earlier this year but talking to the Ford engineers helped me understand the potential:


The current prototype uses a PIC32-based chipKit MAX32chipKit MAX32 board with the Network shieldNetwork shield to provide a full solution for listening to the CAN bus in the vehicle via the ODB-II port.  The real power of OpenXC comes when an Android device is connected via USB.  This allows Android apps to read many different signals in real-time as this demo shows:



One of the Ford engineers also showed me an interesting app which highlights instances where one's driving behavior has a negative impact on gas mileage.  The idea is that reviewing this data would allow one to optimize their driving habits.


I also saw their latest prototype which uses the ARM Cortex-M3 mbed dev boardmbed dev board along with a Microchip CAN transceiver:


Another prototype on display was this solar-powered heads-up display unit which can indicate system status and events via 5 LEDs reflecting on the windshield:


The OpenXC team will also be at Maker Faire Detroit at the end of July, so I look forward to catching up with them again there.