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What can CANBUS control in cars?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by Lightning, Oct 30, 2015.

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  1. Lightning


    Oct 12, 2013
    Hey Everyone,

    I'm doing some research into electronic alternative controls for cars as part of a university initiative.

    Despite my research, there is a massive hole of knowledge about in-vehicle networking. I believe that CANBUS is used as standard in all EU and US vehicles as part of their on-board diagnostic requirements (OBD/OBDII/EOBD standard).

    Basically I would like to know what is possible to access/control with the in-vehicle networking (CANBUS) if I was to create a network interface node and plug it straight into the car?

    Ideally I would like to control all secondary functions such as headlights and indicators plus I am also curious to know how much of the primary functionality of the vehicle I could control; accelerator, ABS etc (I don't think clutch is possible).

    Any help would be appreciated as I am quite in the dark and I would like to have a solid basis before I go and stick my head in the engine compartment of all the vehicles at work and realise I know nothing!

    Thank you.
  2. Memory_Leak


    Oct 27, 2015
    I think the answer depends quite a bit on what kind of car you choose
  3. Minder


    Apr 24, 2015
    You would need to modify the firmware, this is in the memory IC that you swap when replacing the computer.
  4. shumifan50


    Jan 16, 2014
    All bus protocols are designed to control the flow of data, either as a bit stream or as (very few these days) a parallel byte stream. What is carried on this protocol is decided by the designer of the software, unless a standard software protocol is used. A while back I was reading about vehicle control while searching for a totally different solution (I sidetrack easily) and seem to remember that there are some good specifications for in-car control.
    I would not recommend accessing the manufacturers implementation(s) as you may not be aware of time-critical messages or safety/fallback implementations in their firmware - unless you can lay your hands on their full specification.

    I would also recommend caution when interfering with things like accelerators, brakes etc, as failure of these can lead to casualties.
    Tha fios agaibh likes this.
  5. Gryd3


    Jun 25, 2014
    I would encourage you to look online and google 'car hacking'
    There are a number of resources available that show which models are vulnerable, and which services you can control.

    This is actually quite a large topic lately... as software and security can have a direct impact on lives.
    You will find that some vehicles are already able to manipulate a vast number of resources in a vehicle as soon as you gain access to the network. Many are non encrypted due to the requirement of requiring physical access to the network... but you will also find a couple models that are vulnerable to remote manipulation. Usually by gaining access to the car's multi-media devices and installing an alternative firmware or malware that allows you to bridge the gap between the harmless network responsible for dome-light and media, and the 'protected' network responsible for ABS, self-steering, engine control etc.
    KeithM likes this.
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