User Interface, Integration, and Automation


This is the basis behind my dev project. I understand the very basics of bus systems and the function they play in cars, however I know nothing about programming and talking to it.

I am learning the languages necessary to talk to the car as well and the language to program Linux and Android to serve as a replacement for my head unit. I plan to make it 4g enabled and completely integrate into my vehicle. I should then be able to control my vehicle via my phone or any other android/iPhone/Linux device. The platform I intend to use is raspberry pi.

I look forward to working with you all and sharing this project.


You may find the Raspberry PI to be somewhat under powered for such a venture. You COULD grab a higher end ARM based board that would do a much better job while still staying low energy.

Freescale (Now owned by NXP) has some development boards that can be useful. While most of these have the 2515 Canbus chips onboard they also have SPI and other interfaces available to be able to connect to a device such as the M2 and other devices. You COULD actually connect an M2 as a serial device to one of these boards as well. A number of these boards are available with such items as built in 3d graphics accelerator, 1g lan networking, up to 4gig ram, Sata connector etc. These are SIGNIFICANTLY more powerful than a RPI and are the basis for the new Cadillac VUE system which has surround video on some models as well as many other features you will find the RPI under powered for.

I have MX6 and MX5 boards in my possession and they smoke the RPI… Cost a little more but depending on how built out you want them they can do a considerable amount.

I personally have 3 of these boards:

If you look on their site they have a number of other products that are much more powerful. I assure you that you won’t regret using them. I plan to use up all of my current cards in projects.



Under-powered? Even the original rPi’s CPU runs circles around the M2’s CPU? 700 MHz ARM11 vs. 84MHz Cortex M3, and the rPi-3 is 10x faster than the original.

If you just used the M2 ODBII interface board w/CAN interfaces tied to a rPi-3 you would have everything you need.

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That’s fine but he wants to create a full head unit out of a RPI. Depending on what he wants to do with it a RPI won’t be able to handle the load of the processor boards I listed. If he is going to do anything like playing music, do navigation, real time diagnostics on his vehicle etc all at same time a RPI won’t be able to keep up. RPI as far as I have seen doesn’t have the video hardware to be able to play a movie while doing other stuff where as a dev board like the one I mentioned would be able to process video, display on up to 4 screens with full motion video and do much more… Not a full blown i7 by any means but certainly better at doing multiple things.

The RPI has its place and not trying to bash it. I have 2 RPI 2B’s and a RPI3B. They are great special purpose units but will bog down if you try to do too much with them.


Better look again. The rPi3 is more than capable of handling a system like the VUE. In fact, Microsoft just released Windows 10 for the rPi3, which includes full support for various video codecs. However, that has been possible using several of the Linux OSs.


Not going to get into a “this computer is better than that” argument. The RPI is a fine unit and can do many things but it does not have the support hardware nor the high performance data channels that the board I pointed out has. If the OP is happy with what the RPI can do then so be it. But why not use something designed for this type of work that won’t even be breathing hard instead of a RPI where you will be very limited. And by the time you figure out the cost difference of adding all of the components needed to try to do the same things the cost of running the RPI will be getting very close and still won’t have the support hardware.

Personally I would not even try to use the RPI, I have other boards that are much better for this. But then again I also have an i5 based computer with 16 gigs ram and 250 gig HD installed in my truck to do development and reverse engineering with so I would rather be over powered than under powered.


I may go the carputer route. I have A LOT to figure out before i get to that step though. I do like the idea of having a powerhouse living inside the car to ensure i can do any and all things i think of. That way i can scale as large as i want or back off. Thanks for the input!


If you do decide to go the carputer route there are a number of options and power supply options as well. Most these days grab one of those all in one little boxes, add a touch screen to it and an ignition sensing power supply and call it a day. I bought my setup before those came out and the case mine is in fits where the factory BOSE amplifier was and the screen I have fits perfectly in the console. I have a module to interface into my truck as well as add some additional sensors. When I have the time I will be able to do some OpenCV training and such then move it down to a smaller Armed based computer. But the M2 will be the heart beat of my system…



What does it run? Windows or Linux?


Currently the i5 based machine will run Windows 10 but will likely be running Android for one of the screens either directly off an ARM board or emulated from the i5 machine. I will be running Linux on any of the arm based machines.

Could run something like QNX or something but I am familiar with Windows, Linux and to a lesser amount Android.