SEMA 2007: Revisiting the DashDAQ

Last year at the 2006 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, we reported on a unique piece of hardware called the DashDAQ. It looks like a third-party sat nav, but it's actually an open source Linux-based computer that suction cups to your windshield. Commenters at the time went ga-ga over what could be done with the DashDAQ after plugging it into their OBD-II port. Unbeknownst to us, the company was listening and returned to SEMA in 2007 with the actual product that just went on sale a couple weeks ago.

Called the DashDAQ Series II, the $695 production model walked away from this year's SEMA Show with nine new product awards. The DashDAQ is still as open source as it was last year, but has grown up a bit and added more processing power and more inputs in the form of two serial connecters, two USB ports and an SD card slot. Any type of sensor can be plugged into the unit and its data displayed as long as you've got drivers for it. Out of the box, though, the DashDAQ can display a gauge cluster in a variety of skins, display and clear diagnostic codes, and show you data points from any of your car's sensors while simultaneously logging them for future analysis.

One of the big knocks against the DashDAQ last year was that despite looking for all the world like a navigation system, it didn't have the hardware or software to perform that function. Well, it still doesn't, but they have addressed the issue by making it simple to plug in a third-party GPS unit. A company named Elektrobit is currently developing sat nav software for the DashDAQ, but you can of course use other Linux-based GPS programs. Since it's open source, just imagine the possibilities. You could have your car's true speed or even lap times clocked accurately via GPS just like the pros, but for thousands less.

We're going to have one of our more computer literate bloggers take a DashDAQ Series II for a spin in the near future. In the meantime, the company, its engineers and software designers are listening, so tell them you think.

[Source: DashDAQ]

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