Cellular Vehicle Information And Control

This hardware, which was built as a Computer Engineering project by [Bryon] and his classmates, gives you feedback and control of a car though a cellular phone network. It uses text messages to communicate with a control device. This can be pretty much any cellphone, but in the clip after the break they show off an Android app which puts a pretty GUI in front of you and abstracts away the tedium of specially formatted messages.

At the heart of the system is an Arduino Mega board. It has a cellular shield with an external antennae for connectivity. A GPS device, relay board, and ODB-II module provide feedback and control to the system. The relays allow the car to be started and the doors to be locked. The GPS and ODB-II module can send back location and vehicle information (anything available from the car’s sensors). There were some issues with the text messages being blocked during testing. The team thinks that the automated back-and-forth triggered some kind of spam filter from the telecom.

There’s still more work to be done if they want to actually drive the car via remote control.

14 thoughts on “Cellular Vehicle Information And Control

  1. i am so glad to see a cellular ol’ dirty bastard interface, usually these guys just put together something that plugs into the on-board diagnostic port but now we have control of big baby jesus II

  2. Just goes to show that all the fancy gadgets on James Bond (like the remote-controlled BMW in Tomorrow Never Dies which happens to be on TV tonight) eventually become real :)

  3. Many network providers limit the number of SMS messages sent per minute. The limit is usually 6. I’m currently doing some Android development with SMS remote control features.

    1. I believe its actually a limitation in the cellular modem, the carrier might throttle but the modem can only do 6-10 per minute unless its in GPRS mode, but then some carriers might block GPRS depending on plan

      I worked with hundred or so cell phone makes and models, carriers and gsm and cdma sms modems

    2. We had the arduino sending the messeges as fast as it could, about ever couple seconds. After about 10 messages it stopped sending and we had to wait a little bit before it would work again. When we hooked it up to the computer it sayed something about the network not responding.

      1. that rather depends on the car.

        I know that my car, (and presumably all cars by the same manufacturer (peugeot) made in the last ten years can all have their diagnostic interface, (lexia) connected. where I can test actuators. (locks, windows etc).

        any car with keyless start, or fob start would be much the same.

        relying on a switch signal on the BSI to tell either the engine, body or comfort bus what to do.

  4. I remember when these guys were demoing their senior project at my school. I remember giving them a hard time about using Arduino rather than a PIC or AT µC. Still, it’s a really cool project.

    Off hand, if you want GPS tracking for the car and you could use an old android phone (if you have one) and where’s my droid. You could then use that phone to add a permanent wifi hotspot to your car. Oh, then you could use their kit with a web interface rather than SMS. Anyway, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.

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