Arduino in Automotive Use?

Hi folks, complete novice here, zero experience etc.

Being the owner of an older car with few amenities I plan on adding electric windows and central locking in the future. I was wondering if there was anything that could be done with an Arduino in an automotive context? I'll list some examples below but sorry if any or all of them are completely impossible.

For example;

  • Making electric windows one touch
    Press the button once and the motor keeps turning until the window is fully open or closed

  • Audio system modifications
    It would be cool if I could have the standard radio in the car for listening to the radio but a smaller device for auxillary input

  • Low fuel warning light
    I'm not sure how this could be done but I'm sure some of you guys would know better

  • Stop start system
    Stops the engine when the car has been still for X seconds and starts again when the clutch is pressed or the car is put into gear.

  • Automatic headlamps
    So they come on when outside light is low enough.

Anything else that might be possible?



A car is a noisy environment. The Arduino is not shielded for such use, and the inputs are not protected for large voltage peaks.
To do something with the motor could be dangerous. You don't want your car to start driving on its own, because of a bad program or a broken Arduino.
But also using the Arduino for lights and windows could be dangerous.
If something happens while you are driving, and it could be related to the Arduino, the insurance and the police would not be happy with it. My advice is to stay out of jail and not to change anything to the car, or buy things from a good brand and have it built into the car by a qualified company. If you want to make something yourself, use a toy RC car.

complete novice here, zero experience

Start with teaching yourself some basics. Programming, electronics.

You will want to learn interfacing with switches (eg. to push that button for the windows), motors (to make the windows wind), lights (for the lighting), sensors, etc.

It's all good building-block stuff. Master the basics and then you'll understand how you can apply them.

google the ruggeduino - it is electrically more robust and imho a more serious candidate for automotive.