A real Aston Martin DB5 will set you back an unimaginable amount of money, and won’t even have changing number-plates as standard. If you’re happy with something a little smaller, cheaper, and a bit more eco-friendly, The Little Car Company has a solution for you: the Aston Martin DB5 Junior No Time To Die Edition – which uses some Raspberry Pi magic behind the scenes.
“As we needed to control two screens, Raspberry Pi 4 was a logical choice as it has dual HDMI outputs,” Simon Richardson, Senior Electrical Engineer at The Little Car Company, tells us.
Those two screens? The changeable, digital front and rear number-plates of the DB5 Junior. Luckily, it’s not a real car, so you get authentic licence plate numbers from the films. Raspberry Pi also controls hidden mini guns behind the headlamps.
Small but mighty
Even though it’s not a proper road car, it is still quite a lot of car. With a 21.5 bhp electric motor, it can reach top speeds of over 45 mph, and has an array of driving modes for more advanced control. There’s even a skid mode for if you want to do some cool doughnuts or other theatrical evasive manoeuvres.
As for extra gadgets, there’s a working smokescreen that can be ejected from the exhaust, and it’s all controlled by a hidden control panel.
“When the guns are activated, Raspberry Pi activates relays that control the linear actuators and monitors the limit switches so that the power is cut when the actuator reaches the end of its stroke,” Simon explains. “Raspberry Pi controls the sequence of movement so that the guns cannot move unless it is confirmed that the lights have been lowered. The lights will not raise unless the guns are confirmed as having retracted. Raspberry Pi also plays the machine gun recording when the guns are ‘fired’, and an LED in the gun lights up.”
Licence to thrill
It’s a fairly simple setup, requiring a Raspberry Pi 4, an I/O extender, and some timer chips – although Raspberry Pi can handle much more than it’s used for.
“As a demonstration of the system’s capabilities, I coded it to show the movie trailer on the front screen when the licence plate button was pressed and held,” Simon mentions. “This included playing the audio too. It also played the audio of a theme tune when another button was pressed and held.”
The car has appeared on TV in the UK and in the USA, and according to Simon, it’s the most interest they’ve ever had for a product.
You can also get a regular version of the DB5 Junior if you don’t fancy the extra gadgets, but where’s the fun in that?