Ford and Bug Labs Shipping OpenXC Beta Test Kits to Devs and Universities

OpenXC is an open source connectivity platform developed in tandem by Ford and open source hardware maker Bug Labs. Announced this fall, the platform is designed to allow developers the ability to use an Android- and Arduino-based module to interact with a vehicle’s in-car tech, such as vehicle sensors and GPS units. The OpenXC website succinctly describes the platform as “an API to your car”.

Ford announced that OpenXC beta test kits are now shipping to developers worldwide, including U.S. institutions such as MIT and Standford as well as India’s HCL Technologies. The press release specifically mentioned Weather Underground, as well.

Further, at the NASSCOM India Leadership Summit, Ford is debuting the first app to run on the platform, an as-yet-unnamed tool that “would allow a driver to provide selected personal contacts with an automatic location update during that driver’s travels.” Practical examples include the app sending an automatic email or text to a waiting colleague if the car senses you’re running late or notifying a loved one upon your safe arrival at a destination.

CAN Translator Module

Part of the brilliance of the OpenXC strategy is that not only is Ford effectively getting free R&D from the open source community, by letting developers in locales far-flung from Detroit have a go with the system, Ford will learn what consumers want and need in a variety of geographic regions.

Let the tinkering commence.