We’ve previously covered Macchina M2 OBD-II dongle based on an Arduino compatible MCU, and with 4G LTE support for the maker market, and iWave Systems OBD-II dongle with 4G LTE and LTE running Linux on NXP i.MX6 for the B2B market, but so far I had not seen an hackable OBD-II dongle running Linux for the maker market. AutoPi dongle fills that void as it is based on Raspberry Pi Zero W board, runs Raspbian with Autopi software (AutoPi Core), supports 4G LTE, GPS, etc,.. and connects to your car’s OBD-II socket.
- SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARN11 Core processor @ up to 1 GHz
- System Memory – 512MB LPDDR2 SRAM
- Storage – 8GB micro SD card
- Cellular Connectivity
- 4G Cat 1 modem with 3G/EDGE fallback working worldwide (but region locked)
- 4G bands – Region specific
- 3G fallback (WCDMA) – B1, B2, B4, B5, B8
- EDGE fallback – B3, B8; quad band
- micro SIM card slot
- GNSS – Integrated GPS + A-GPS
- Wireless Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1 LE
- USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports
- Video – mini HDMI output up to 1080p60
- Audio – Built-in speakers
- Car Interface
- STN-2120 OBD-II, SW-CAN, MS-CAN to UART Interpreter IC
- Supported Protocols: ISO 15765-4, ISO 14230-4, ISO 9141-2, SAE J1850 VPW, SAE J1850 PWM, SW-CAN, MS-CAN, ISO 15765, ISO 11898 (raw), K-Line, L-Line
- Expansion – 18x unused GPIO pins
- Sensors – 3-axis accelerometer
- Power Supply – Via OBD-2 interface; built-in power management to avoid draining the car’s battery
- Dimensions – 90 x 45 x 25 mm
The dongle comes pre-assembled with an OBD extension/relocation cable, a case with all electronics including RPi0 W, a micro SD card with AutoPi Core, and some Velcro strips.
Setup is pretty easy with 5 steps:
- Insert your micro SD card
- Insert the dongle into your vehicle’s OBD-II port
- Connect to AutoPi WiFi access point
- Configure the device with APN string and AutoPi key
- Connect to AutoPi cloud
The cloud platform allows you to remotely monitor your car, and the customizable dashboard gives access to an history of trips, car data, OBD commands, IFTTT, custom Python code development, terminal access, and a REST API is also available to develop your own web app.
A lot of different features are possible thanks to AutoPi dongle and cloud platform, such as voice commands to control windows and aircon in your car, theft detection and tracking, remote start, crash detection with SMS alerts, auto lock/unlock from a smart device, and so on. All is supposed to be done securely, but the company did not provide that many details about that critical part for a such system.
AutoPi’s developers have launched a Kickstarter campaign aiming to raise at least DKK 475,000 (~$76,000). If you live in Europe, you can pledge ~205 Euros to get an AutoPi from the batch to be delivered in January 2018, others can pledge ~$261 to get a sample from the second batch in March 2018. Note the software will improve overtime, and while all models will be upgradeable, AutoPi dongle with the fully implemented firmware and software will be delivered in the third batch and beyond starting from May 2018. Shipping adds ~$9.60 to Europe, and ~$14.4 to the rest of the world. You may want to visit AutoPi.io website for many more details about the solution.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.