Kickstarting a car-hacking tool that lets you take control of your own vehicle

The fully-funded Macchina project on Kickstarter is an Arduino-based, "open, versatile" gadget that bypasses the DRM in your car's network, allowing you to configure it to work the way you want it to, so you can customize your car in all kinds of cool ways.

The project's founders have partnered with Craig Smith, of the Open Garages network, who wrote the amazing Car Hackers handbook. The Macchina ships with copies of the Handbook and Smith is part of the developer network. They're also soliciting designs for a project tee whose proceeds will be donated to EFF so it can continue to fight for right to repair legislation.

Prices start at $45 for a bare interface board and go up from there: $79 gets you a complete unit.

A couple years ago, a few of us got together to work on a fun side-project: we turned an old Ford Contour into an electric car. We replaced the existing gasoline motor with an electric motor and the fuel tank with batteries. Rather quickly we realized that a major obstacle was convincing the various computers within the car to not be too upset after its engine had gone missing. We wanted the gears in the automatic transmission to shift at the ideal time, the fuel gauge to display battery capacity and generally wanted our “new” car to perform exactly how we wanted. Our challenge stemmed from the closed, unpublished nature of modern-day car computers. We started Macchina to solve this problem.

Eventually, we realized that others might benefit from a product like M2, not just for electric car building but for more general applications. Thankfully, several of us worked in the consumer electronics industry and already knew how to take an idea through prototyping and into production. We launched a business to focus on production and further development. Earl and Josh run the show. Josh manages technical developments, while Earl manages everything else.

Macchina: The Ultimate Tool for Taking Control of Your Car! [Macchina/Kickstarter]

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