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University Final Project
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This project is an investigation into the feasibility of replacing the copper wiring of automobile exterior lights with wirelessly connected microcontrollers, similar to the fly-by-wireless concept, currently being developed for aircraft. Currently, a significant proportion of expensive issues with cars (especially newer one) are related to the car’s electronic wiring. Replacing the complex wiring looms with a number of individual modular devices increases the theoretical simplicity of the car's electrics, reducing the potential for faults. Furthermore, having "smart" peripherals would allow error logging to take place, which would make fault finding easier, because faults would be logged centrally, and a service could be provided to give the car's user, or mechanic, detailed and specific fault information. In addition, if this information were available to the car owner, the cost of having a garage's diagnostic tool used to find issues is mitigated. The system should allow any number of physical peripheral devices, such as light clusters, to be controlled by a sender device (for example the indicator stalk), communicating via Bluetooth Low Energy. There will be a central controlling 'server' - a Raspberry Pi for prototyping - which will receive commands from sender modules, and distribute the commands to all connected nodes. This means that a single sender module can send a signal to any number of peripheral output nodes. Each output node (e.g. light cluster) would be programmed only to respond to certain commands. Peripherals should be able to be added and removed at will, with minimal setup. This would provide potential for expansion, for example when a trailer is attached to the car, the only wiring needed would be power for the trailer peripherals. Ignoring power differences, it would also theoretically allow peripherals to be swapped between different cars - reducing the requirement for expensive manufacturer-specific parts. In addition, a controlling mobile application is planned, which would facilitate pairing of the Bluetooth devices, and also provide an interface through which logging information can be displayed. Whilst out of scope for this project, this system could potentially allow over the air updates to fix any non-hardware issues and theoretically increase performance.