Automotive Ultrasonic Hacking HowTo

Understand the Existing System

The first step in the process is to understand the existing system on a vehicle that is equipped with “Park Assists”. Just for background information, the term “Park Assist” was chosen for a reason. GM will tell you very quickly, this is NOT a safety device. This is for parking ONLY. Their fear is some bonehead will back over someone and claim the backup sensors never warned them. Not being considered a safety device made our lives much easier. That was good news since we had such a terrible time anyway. I could write a book about EMC testing!

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Hacking GM Ultrasonic Park Assist Sensors

GM Ultrasonic Sensor

Abstract: A few years ago I worked on an ultrasonic park assist system for General Motors. We were awarded a small piece of business in early 2006. Our first modules and sensors made it into production in early 2008. Those two years were pure hell. I learned a lot about ultrasonic backup systems in those two years. My contribution was to develop all the embedded software for the control module. Our little company was eventually acquired by one of the big suppliers in mid 2008 (more stress – launching product while being taken over by a big fish at the same time.) By the end of 2008 I was totally burned out and left the automotive business. I’ve since moved on to start Powerhouse Electronics.

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