Nissan LEAF connected car birthday party projects “excited” feelings on the road

NissanLEAFTo commemorate the 5th anniversary of the Nissan LEAF, the company produced a special version of the electric car that allows people to “see” what the driver is thinking and feeling projected into words and visuals on the road like cartoon thought bubbles. The thoughts are read through a headband that monitors brain waves.

We find the idea very interesting because the Nissan LEAF looks more like a Japanese cartoon Anime vehicle than any other car on the road. When the drivers are elated their thoughts show on the road.

This project offers a visualization of drivers’ experiences when handling the EV at night on a school course. The fun experienced by the driver is conveyed in eye-catching visuals, so that even those outside the car can share the excitement.

The car used in the “THE ELECTRIC CARtoon!” project features a driver’s headset that reads and analyzes brainwaves produced while driving. There are 33 visual patterns used to express the drivers’ various states of mind. Driver brainwaves and projected animations are automatically matched, and visualizations are in a cartoon-style with speech and thought bubbles. The car exterior also has a unique design, taking inspiration from Japanese animation, which is now popular across the world.

In this project, the brainwaves of 30 men and women were measured while driving the Nissan LEAF in various situations. In brain science, alpha waves are emitted when the brain relaxes and concentrates, while beta waves are produced when the brain feels tension or is excited.

In this project, alpha waves were defined as brainwaves emitted when the brain is in a conformable state, and beta waves as those when the brain is in an excited state. As a result, about half of those taking part emitted beta waves when starting the EVs and more than 90 percent emitted a significant quantity of alpha waves when turning road corners. In this experiment, we confirmed that those taking part were in “a comfortable state” or “an excited state” while they were driving EVs.

The idea seems fun when you see only the thoughts of young Japanese people who are enjoying their Nissan LEAF driving experience. If the drivers in Los Angels traffic were to do the same thing the words would have to be censored.

Nissan Leaf connected car features hacked on web – climate, seats, battery & trip logs

2013NissanLeafResearchers used a web browser to hack into Nissan controls that are available through the LEAF Nissan Connect app. Nissan is aware of the situation and is working on a fix.

Troy Hunt, a security expert, met a LEAF owner at the NDC conference in Norway who helped him discover the code behind the app using a proxy to see all the requests the app made.

“The API can be accessed anonymously. It’s a GET request so there was nothing passed in the body nor was there anything like a bearer token in the request header. In fact, the only thing identifying his vehicle was the VIN,” wrote Hunt on his blog.

The team was able to access the battery status, turn on heated seats, activate climate control and make VIN numbers until they found another owner’s LEAF VIN number.

To demonstrate the problem, a YouTube video shows Scott Helme in north England, while his LEAF features are activated from the web with software used by Troy Hunt in Australia. Hunt was able to see Helme’s recent trips, how far he drove, dates, times and number of trips.

One programmer noted “I found out that the whole API is unauthenticated and only requires the VIN to target a vehicle. To add insult to injury those action are from simple http Get request.”

The good news is that the Nissan Leaf doesn’t have features like remote unlock or remote start, like some vehicles from other manufacturers do, because that would be a disaster because it was so easy to hack.

Helme notes that a malicious hacker could cause a great deal of problems for owners of Nissan LEAFs. Being able to remotely turn on the air conditioning could put a significant drain on the battery over a period of time because the attacker can keep activating it. It could drain the battery overnight.

Helme’s main concern is that the telematics system in the car is leaking all of his historic driving data. It could easily be used to build up a profile of his driving habits, considering it goes back almost 2 years, and predict when he will be away from home.

Hunt contacted Nissan starting on January 23 and was asked not publish the article yet. We contacted the Nissan PR rep received this a statement via email:

Nissan is aware of a data issue relating to the NissanConnect EV app that impacts the climate control and state of charge functions. It has no effect whatsoever on the vehicle’s operation or safety.

Our global technology and product teams are currently working on a permanent and robust solution. We are committed to resolving the issue as a matter of priority, ensuring that we deliver the best possible experience for our customers through the app now and in the future.”

Update 6:29 pm PST the CARWINGS app is now grounded.