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Open Source Software Transportation Hardware

The Era of Open Source Cars 31

An anonymous reader writes: An article at Ars Technica details how open source is slowly but surely working its way into the automotive manufacturing industry. A company named StreetScooter is flattening the design process, having designers and engineers work directly with suppliers right from the get-go. Another company, Local Motors, has built an open source community that's 50,000-strong, whose members include everybody from hobbyists to industrial engineers. Even the existing auto-giants are getting in on it: Ford has created OpenXC, a platform that is attempting to standardize how to get data out of a car's computer. The article concludes, "These various automotive open source advocates come at the topic from different backgrounds and with different approaches, but they can all recognize we've entered an era for open source cars that simply didn't exist before."
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The Era of Open Source Cars

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    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Sique ( 173459 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:43AM (#50529979) Homepage
      I don't know about the U.S., but in regions with sane laws, there is a rule: If something is only "licensed" and not owned, the license giver is fully responsible for keeping things in order, and he's not even allowed to bill you for repairing it, except he can prove negligence or misuse on your side.
  • by FullBandwidth ( 1445095 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @07:56PM (#50528697)
    Hopefully they know the lesson we've learned in aerospace (e.g. ARINC-653), to partition critical and non-critical assets into separate computing units (hardware and/or software). That way some yahoo can't hack your in-car Facebook app to disable your brakes. Don't these guys watch Battlestar Galactica?
    • For the most part, yes. The recent hacks were really hacks of the firewalls between the two networks. There is an Entertainment and ODB-II network, and a control and engine network (CAN-BUS), and they typically have firewalls between them that are varying levels of secure (mostly by attempted obscurity).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... as long as they don't use systemd.

  • Yeah, but will these cars be allowed on the road without full safety and emissions tests and certification? Certainly not in my country. Will they be able to be insured?
  • Open-source in cars (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @08:11PM (#50528763)

    Open-source engine management is alive and well and has been for at least 8 years. I think you have screw loose if you drive a car with closed, proprietary systems in the wake of the On-Star/NSA police alliance, and all of the other privacy-invasive intrusions into your car and your life.

    How many /.'ers practice what they preach WRT to their vehicles?

    • You sound pretty driven. But even if you run open source on the car, the real question is, "Are the drivers open source?"

    • Most seem to think driving is evil and should be completely computer controlled.

      You're right though, open source engine management has been a thing for awhile now. I've grabbed a reverse engineered system out of a junkyard to retrofit into my older car, big difference in gas mileage as well.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    People have been building their own cars for decades and decades. Go get yourself a Jegs catalog. How about a Year One Catalog too. Go buy a kitcar magazine. Get yourself a welder. Kids these days. is everyone a moron now?

    Afraid of laws or insurance? Buy a cheap donor car from the junkyard and strip it to the frame.

    • People have been building their own cars for decades and decades. Go get yourself a Jegs catalog. How about a Year One Catalog too. Go buy a kitcar magazine. Get yourself a welder. Kids these days. is everyone a moron now?

      Afraid of laws or insurance? Buy a cheap donor car from the junkyard and strip it to the frame.

      Some of us actually like the new-fangled safety systems such as airbags. As far as I know, there is no DIY airbag system.

      However, the guy below was able to retrofit ABS breaks into a '69 Camero... But it sounds like he had to do a lot of research and find equivalent parts that matched what was on the donor vehicle.

      http://www.hotrod.com/how-to/c... [hotrod.com]

  • Open source works for software, surely we can open source cars and underwear and _____ and it will be awesome just like how Linux rules over Windows, right? I'm guessing that's what the tool who wrote TFA (which I didn't read) is thinking.

    Cars are not like software. Start-up costs for Linux was zero. Start-up costs for an automotive factory is so stupendously large it's laughable to think you can crowdfund this. The design cost of the car you're driving is tiny, most of cost is labor, raw materials and capi

    • Not to mention all of the certifications. The argument forming here against that seems to be along the lines of kit car analogies, but if I wanted to build my own car I already would have. Open source has no impact on that. I'm expecting to buy an open source car from someone already built at a steep discount over that of a manufacturer with all of the same warranties and features. How that magically will occur without incurring liability and regulation is seemingly... well, magic.
      • You expect it to be cheaper? You are funny.

        Are open source laptops cheaper than Windows laptops?

        • They used to be until MS cut their prices. That is, with the exception of the agreements MS had preventing commodity PC vendors from selling systems without Windows.
    • To produce cars quickly in high volume, the costs are high.

      To produce a car over a long period: use 3D printers, local fitters and turners, suppliers for some pre-arranged COTS items, and a lot of your own time. Cost considerably reduced.

      Cost savings: don't pay for large auto company's executive salaries, legal departments, marketing, shipping across the world, dealership networks, dealership marketing, ...

      It is just the natural evolution of the kit car industry. If it wasn't viable, they would've died out

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Tuesday September 15, 2015 @09:59PM (#50529167) Journal

    Will someone please make a systemd joke?

  • ... there will never be a production car with an open source ECU. Until then, lots of reverse engineering is in order.

    http://s4wiki.com/wiki/Tuning [s4wiki.com]

  • tell me... (Score:4, Funny)

    by PhantomHarlock ( 189617 ) on Wednesday September 16, 2015 @03:04AM (#50529919)

    Would they come with that GNU car smell?

  • "Even the existing auto-giants are getting in on it: Ford has..."

    Let's wait for their reaction when the first garage shop is 3d-printing body parts cheaper than theirs, before we celebrate their open-mindedness about Open Source.

  • Is it cost effective to actually build your own car?

Nondeterminism means never having to say you are wrong.