So I've had my Raspberry Pi (Model B) for quite a few years now, and until now it has been used for one project or the next, without realizing it's full potential in a permanent setup. Having just recently purchased a used 2008 Buick Lucerne CX however, (which, though nice, lacks some of the features that have become more or less standard in modern cars) I do believe time has come to give my Pi a permanent home and take on a project that has intrigued me for some time, a full featured on board automotive computer.
Granted there are many approaches I have considered in the past for automotive computers that were more full featured in terms of system specs, but while a micro itx board with an x86_64 family processor and 8 or more gigs of ram would be nice, the need for such a system in my daily commuter isn't exactly warranted. I probably do not need to be playing high req PC games while stuck in traffic anyway (and it's probably not a great idea to make that an option...)
The concept in itself is simple, the Raspberry Pi will take the place of my cars normal stereo functionality, and provide me with some cool features and tools that your standard system just doesn't provide. At it's base level it clearly needs to fulfill the role of media center for the car, and while I've seen some solid projects featuring popular raspberry pi media center solutions ported into vehicles, the need for advanced functionality makes that an insufficient stand alone solution.
The more complex features include microphone inputs and Bluetooth voice connections to support hands free functionality, a GPS module with corresponding software to solve for navigation, a Bluetooth OBD II module to provide performance data, as well as a custom head unit that will completely replace the current stereo system and undoubtedly require it's fair share of specialized or custom adapters, to ensure that it works seamlessly with the existing steering wheel control inputs and speaker outputs.
I do realize that there are some prepackaged solutions available as well that seem to meet these requirements, however they are more closed ended than I would prefer and I wouldn't draw nearly as much satisfaction as I can from designing and building the system myself. While these solutions are great as a reference for some things, at the end of the day, the ultimate goal is to have a design tailored to my needs that maintains it's ability to be extended to more diverse applications over time.