While some automakers are trying to convince the U.S. government to let them block access to their cars’ computers, some tech-savvy Tesla enthusiasts are rewriting code in their Model S to make their cars do some interesting stuff. The Palo Alto-based electric vehicle maker is yet to open up its software to outside programmers. But some Model S owners have written code to create custom programs.
Tesla user decodes the protocols
For instance, San Carlos-based Joe Pasqua has decoded the protocols Tesla uses to communicate between the official Tesla iPhone app and the company’s servers, reports Will Knight of MIT Technology Review. Pasqua has created an app called Visible Tesla. This app uses the official app’s protocols to monitor the status of Model S systems over time.
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Pasqua said you can also use Visible Tesla to schedule commands. He told Knight that people can do “all the basic control functions” using this app. The program runs on a PC, but it can also be configured for access via the Web. Dozens of Visible Tesla app users share data on how different driving habits affect their cars’ batteries.
Visible Tesla can be configured for a variety of features
The app can also add new functionality to a car by giving commands based on a number of factors such as location and time of the day. Pasqua has configured his Visible Tesla app such that when he goes to his grocery store parking lot, he gets a text message, “Remember your bags.” Pasqua is not the only one tapping into Model S over the Internet.
Edward Arthur, who lives in southern Massachusetts, has written a program that would check whether his Model S’ battery was charging at 9:30 AM. He would get a text message if he had forgotten to plug it in. The Palo Alto-based EV maker may offer a software development kit for Model S or its future cars. But there are certain issues. It may make cars a target for hackers.