Driving a car with an iPhone. A freaking car. For reals.

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Energy & Sustainability Robotics
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John Boiles, who earlier this year showed us how to control an RC car using an iPod’s internal accelerometer (and also how to control the lights on a dance floor in more or less the same way), is a member of Austin, TX, based engineering collective Waterloo Labs, who have up-gunned his iPod technology to control steering, brakes, and acceleration on a full-size automobile. Definitely not the safest hack I’ve ever blogged, but probably the most impressive. Great work, lady and gents. [Thanks, John!]

18 thoughts on “Driving a car with an iPhone. A freaking car. For reals.

  1. tekel says:


    1. Sean Michael Ragan says:

      Oops. Thanks!

  2. Ray Cedar says:

    It’s cool.. But I don’t want to try myself.

  3. simon says:

    They just banned mobile phones while driving down here. Wonder what they’d make of this!

    With these chain driven steering systems (they used them on Mythbusters too) I guess you loose the self centering effect of the car steering castor?

    When you control the steering this way do you constantly need to make adjustments to keep it centered?

  4. Anonymous says:

    This has been done before, we used to drive around our Darpa Challenge vehicle with wireless crap. Unfortunately your doesn’t look to have any safety or reliability built it where ours had various things done so it was fail safe, not fail and then you get killed.

    How fast do you think that car could go with you standing on it’s hood and what do you think it would take to stop it if it was out of control? I guess it could just hit that school in the background?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @anon: Check out their backing documentation. They used network watchdogs and limited the gas pedal so that it could accelerate beyond a certain rate.

      1. Anonymous says:

        I mean “could not”

  5. Eiki Martinson says:

    Bah – Dr. Horrible did this a long time ago! Seriously, cool hack.

  6. krononaut.myopenid.com says:

    These two teams need to meet each other.


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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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