The Raspberry Pi JavaFX In-Car System (Part 1)
By speakjava on Apr 25, 2013
Here's a picture of the device:
And here it is plugged into the service port located near the pedals on my car.
The only downside is that the orientation of the socket means that you can't see the status lights when it's plugged in (at least not without a mirror).
My initial thoughts were to look at what kind of data could be extracted from the car and then write some software that would provide realtime display of things that aren't shown through the existing instrumentation. I thought it would also be fun to record journey data that could be post-analysed in much the way Formula 1 uses masses of telemetry to let the drivers know where they could do better.
Since I wanted to use embedded Java the obvious choice of processing unit was the Raspberry Pi. It's cheap, I have a whole bunch of them and it's got plenty of computing power for what I have in mind. It also has some other advantages:
- Low power consumption (easy to run off the 12V cigarette lighter supply)
- Support for JavaFX through some nice touch screens from Chalkboard Electronics (so I can go wild with the interface)
- Easily accessible GPIO pins
Having studied physics at university (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) I vaguely remember that if I combine acceleration data with the mass of the car and things like engine speed I can calculate the horse power of the engine as well as the torque being generated. Throw that into the mix and this could make a really fun project.
As further inspiration I came across this video recently:
There's also an interesting one from Tesla who use a 17" touch display as their cemtre console.
In the follow up parts to this blog entry I'll detail how the project evolves.