In 1991, The Simpsons episode called Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? aired, in which Homer becomes an auto-executive and designs a car that is used to show why American auto-manufacturing had failed: now you can own that car. Read the rest
Mitsubishi has admitted that it cheated on emissions standards tests for a quarter of a century, and it admits that this affected 600,000 cars, but the company says that the cheating cars were only sold to Japanese people. Read the rest
Reuters reports that VW is about to tell the federal judge in San Francisco in charge of its case that it will offer to buy back nearly half a million of its diesel vehicles from owners who were deceived about the cars' emission standards and performance when the company engineered its cars so that they would act daemonically, performing differently based on whether they were being tested or not. Read the rest
The internal Volkswagen investigators who are trying to figure out who knew what, when, about the company's illegal, lethal practice of programming its cars to cheat on emissions tests say they've been slowed down because the company assigned dozens of secret code-names to the software, such as "acoustic software." Read the rest
More proof that all devices in the modern world are just computers in fancy cases: the FBI's joint warning issued with the DoT and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration tells drivers that they're at risk of local and remote hack-attacks against their cars, and tells them they have to keep their cars' patch-levels current or they'll be in serious danger. Read the rest
Barcelona design firm Bel & Bel makes chairs out of the front farings of old Vespa scooters, with the option of working turn-signals (no side-mirrors in sight, alas). Read the rest
The 2016 Car Hacker's Handbook expands on the hugely successful 2014 edition, in which the Open Garages movement boiled down all they'd learned running makerspaces for people interested in understanding, improving, penetration testing and security-hardening modern cars, which are computers encrusted in tons of metal that you strap your body into.
No Starch Press has taken on the task of turning The Car Hacker's Handbook into a beautifully produced, professional book, in a new edition that builds on the original, vastly expanding the material while simultaneously improving the organization and updating it to encompass the otherwise-bewildering array of new developments in car automation and hacking.
Author Craig Smith founded Open Garages and now has years of experience with community development of tools and practices for investigating how manufacturers are adding computers to cars, the mistakes they're making, and the opportunities they're creating.
The Handbook is an excellent mix of general background on how to do threat-modelling, penetration testing, reverse engineering, etc, and highly specific code examples, model numbers, recipes and advice on how to put a car up on a bench, figure out how it works, figure out how to make it do cool things the manufacturer never intended, and figure out how to understand the risks you face from people doing the same thing without your best interests at heart.
A lot of the advice is theoretical, but there are a bunch of highly practical projects, from improving and customizing your in-car satnav and entertainment system to tuning your engine performance. Read the rest
Last summer, security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were so alarmed at the terrible state of information security in cars that they demo'ed a hack that let them take over Chrysler Jeep Cherokees over the public Internet, controlling the steering and the brakes and the acceleration. Read the rest
The remote access Leaf app has been recalled by Nissan, more than a month after researchers went to the company to report that they could remotely drain the battery and download the log of all the car's movements. Read the rest
In Mumbai, cab drivers vie to make their vehicles stand out from their competitors', decorating them with exuberant expressions of the driver's personality. Read the rest
Luc Pauwels from Belgium's VRT News took his Vauxhall (GM) Opel Astra in for service, and a mechanic there disclosed that Vauxhall had asked him to flash the firmware of any diesel Opel Zafira to remove a defeat-device that caused it to emit 500% of the legal NOx limit -- an order that came down right after the Dieselgate scandal broke.
The company makes ignition interlock breathalyzers that are mandated by courts as a condition of driving after DUI convictions. Read the rest
In my latest Guardian column, The problem with self-driving cars: who controls the code?, I take issue with the "Trolley Problem" as applied to autonomous vehicles, which asks, if your car has to choose between a maneuver that kills you and one that kills other people, which one should it be programmed to do? Read the rest
Ben Rose was in the middle of a game of Fallout 4 when an uninsured driver in the parking lot outside his Irving, TX apartment building hit the accelerator instead of the brakes and crashed straight through another apartment, then through his living room wall, straight into Rose, fracturing one of his vertebra and nearly severing one of his tendons. Read the rest