Electrified Vehicle Hackathon in SF Bay Area, Sept 6-8




So what is it that OpenXC offers that OBD doesn't?


I notice the ad welcomes "hardware hackers and software developers." But not software hackers. They're evil.


The technical details are, frankly, over my head, but they address that question here:

I can tell you that the folks at our hackday who had prior experience with OBD were very impressed by what OpenXC could do.


If I'm reading and interpreting that correctly, OBD devices aren't given access to everything they could be given access to because car manufacturers like to keep things secret. They don't want to give access to all the raw data flying around and every manufacturer has their own data format. OpenXC is intended to read that data and present it in one format. I bet that's what the intention of OBD was in the first place, but they couldn't get the manufacturers to agree to everything.


OBDII outputs a lot of data, some of it in publically-available standard formats, but a lot of it is super seekrit codes which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. They’ve been leaked and reverse-engineered, of course, but the manfacturers’ idea was apparently to encourage you to go to the dealer whenever the Check Engine light comes on. Some makes require not just that the underlying condition be fixed, but also require a special black box — available only to dealers and licensed service providers — just to turn off the idiot light.

This openness by an automaker to hacking their software is pretty much unprecedented afaik. Hopefully it’s not just lip service. I’ve never been a Ford guy but between this and them not needing bailout money they’re starting to look pretty good.


Maybe because it’s a derail? Like using a post about the technical infrastructure behind Virgin America’s seatback entertainment system to open a debate about commercial air traffic’s contribution to air pollution. It’s not that they’re invalid questions to ask, it’s that you’re asking them in the wrong place.


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