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Russians Hacked A Car So It Can Be Driven By iPad

If we hear anything from Russia about cars these days, it's typically followed by the words "dash cam." While this car has a dash cam, everything else is different. That's because these enthusiasts found a way drive it with an iPad.


I could call this the iCar, but I'm not going to be that lame and I won't do it.

Illustration for article titled Russians Hacked A Car So It Can Be Driven By iPad

The base for this iPad car is an Opel Vectra, which the creators call the "James Bond car" after Bond's BMW driven by a cell phone in Tomorrow Never Dies. They had already created scale RC cars that worked through the internet, and now they wanted to move up to full size.

To start, they fixed all the mechanical issues that the car had and then got to switching out the electrics. It wasn't an easy task.

Not everything went smoothly during the first trial – all systems except the acceleration control collapsed. Therefore, Uncle Vasya had to sit behind the wheel, after which I had “successfully” bumped the car into a snow pile. We had some hard time coordinating our efforts, when I was accelerating and Uncle Vasya was steering and braking. But it was fun!

That led to a number of changes to the car. They added a new actuator for the brakes, new motors for the steering, and the ability to shift gears instead of having to get in and out to do it.

The car is run by an app on an iPad 3. It doesn't seem like it could be all that precise, since the controls look to be a steering wheel (which would provide analog control), brake and gas pedals, and buttons to shift gears. It doesn't appear that the pedals can do anything other than be full on or off, so I'm sure that makes for an interesting driving experience.

Illustration for article titled Russians Hacked A Car So It Can Be Driven By iPad

But what they also did was create a universal solution. That means that the system can be transferred to nearly any car with an automatic gearbox, so long as it has straight gates.


iPad driven Bentley Continental GT? Sign me up!

The issue with the iPad setup isn't with the iPad or the car, it's actually with the weather. Since it's cold in Russia (shocking, I know), and the iPad has to be used with bare skin, which was causing the operators to become really, really cold.

Illustration for article titled Russians Hacked A Car So It Can Be Driven By iPad

Cold weather has also made it hard to see out of the car, with snow accumulating and frost on the windshield. And on the last test, well, the car kind of broke. The ultimate plan is to make the car operate via the internet, but they're waiting for the weather to warm up before they take on the next stage of the project. That way they won't freeze while fixing it and can test it outdoors without getting frostbite.


Photo Credits: virt2real

(Hat Tip to Conor Nevins!)

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Just wear your damn mask...

Neat, but is this in fact "hacking"? "Hacking" to me denotes circumventing or defeating something in an effort to gain access or change a configuration or usability. This seems more like a modification.