Last month Tesla released its latest ‘Autopilot’ update (v7.1), which we covered intensively on Electrek, but if you are not up-to-date with Tesla’s latest software, the Model S’ Autopilot now includes a new feature called ‘Summon’, which allows Tesla owners to remotely move their vehicle without anyone in it.
At the moment, it is primarily used to get the Model S in and out of a garage easily, but in the future, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says you will be able to summon your car from across the country and it will come meet you while charging at Tesla Superchargers along the way.
Tesla is moving away from an SDK and instead planning to allow app mirroring from iPhones to center consoles
Since Tesla launched the Model S in 2012, the automaker has been talking about releasing a software development kit (SDK) to create a full third-party app ecosystem for its 17-inch touchscreen, which acts as a center console for the Model S and X, but despite several inquiries from eager app developers, there has been little communication about the project until now.
A new video posted to YouTube today has demonstrated what is almost certainly the first Apple Watch app capable of remotely controlling most of the functions of Tesla’s Model S. In the video (which you can watch below), developer Allen Wong shows off a Glance that views an overview of the car’s status before launching into the main app to review its capabilities.
Through the app, Wong is able to issue a series of commands to the vehicle, ranging from rudimentary options like honking the horn or flashing the lights, to bigger settings such as full panoramic roof control (something not even Tesla’s official app offers yet) or controlling the car’s charging state and port.
Tesla Motors, known for changing the automobile industry with its innovative electric cars, will update its Model S firmware in the coming months to allow owners to start and drive the Model S with only an iPhone. While it isn’t yet exactly certain how this will work, there is speculation that it will involve Touch ID and may coincide with the launch of iOS 8 next month. The above screenshot of Version 6 is said to be in late beta stages and being finalized for full rollout now.
Tesla’s iPhone app won our 2013 app of the year and the ability to start the car and drive it would continue down that same innovative road. Other systems for starting a car and driving it from a mobile phone already exist for 3rd parties like Viper and others.
Tesla has been busy snapping up Apple employees over the past year. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, Tesla snapped up Director of Manufacturing technology Rich Heley. Then security researcher Kristin Paget joined in February. Also, much of Tesla’s UI design team comes from Apple.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also spotted at Apple last year and while speculation was that Apple was considering a buyout (shot down) or becoming an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory, perhaps Musk was simply looking to better integrate the iPhone with his cars.