For the dashboard itself we will be looking at doing a 12” screen. While we can not achieve the nice contoured styling that LCD Dashboards in production cars have, putting our screen on a black background should still allow a beautiful aesthetic. Using this display and the Pi Zero, we will be able to have a virtually unlimited number of dashboard layouts. If you desperately want to know everything the car is sensing you can display that. Or if you want to focus on fuel economy you can display gas mileage information and range estimates. Maybe you’re on a track and are more speed and performance oriented so you display the tachometer and lap time information big and bold. Or maybe you are looking to jump back to 1985 so you change your dashboard to match the DeLorean skin currently on your center touchscreen.
Just as you have complete customization of the dashboard, you also can control the layout of your center controls. Inspired by the Tesla Model S’s 17 inch center display, replacing the entertainment system and climate controls with a 16 inch touchscreen allows for an optimization of both appearance and functionality. It allows us to decide what we want the focus to be on. It can help to seamlessly mesh music, phone controls, and mapping into one, easy to read system.
Behind all of the GUI interface and shiny touchscreens is the real brawn of the system. As mentioned, we would like to run the dashboard screen off of the PiZero, but beyond that we will read input from the OBD II CAN bus and both the bluetooth and cellular boards. Using the bluetooth board will allow for a smartphone or even a smartwatch to function as your standard car key would. When you approach the car the doors unlock and when you sit in the car you can start it with a icon on the center display. The cellular module will allow for more distant access. This will allow for remote starting of the car in the cold Minnesota winter and control over climate control so that it is nicely heated by the time you reach the vehicle. It can also serve to send updates about the current state of the car and any Service Engine Soon lights that have occurred.This also means that from a phone you can allow access for other people. If someone wants to borrow my car I can simply unlock it and allow it to start from my phone, or even add their phone as a trusted device.