Hacking Your Tesla? There's an App for That

As cars are becoming increasingly automated, expect to see more side projects popping up like the free open source app VisibleTesla. The app, created by Joe Pasqua, an engineer based in San Carlos, Calif., lets Tesla Model S owners track the status of their vehicle's systems and schedule automated commands.

In an interview with the MIT Technology Review Pasqua said VisibleTesla allows you to unlock the doors, control the heater and air conditioner, open the sunroof, control the car's charging function, and gather GPS information. The software runs on PC but can be configured for Web access, allowing Telsa owners to use it from their car's onboard web browser. It works similarly to the official Tesla iPhone and Android apps.

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VisibleTesla has already spawned a devoted online community that shares aggregate data about their vehicles such as how weather conditions affect their battery life. Users have reportedly been able to program their Model S to turn the heat on a specific time so their car is warm when they get in or to notify them via text if they forget to charge their car.

Pasqua describes one handy function he's created:

"Our grocery store doesn't give out bags anymore," [Pasqua] said. "With VisibleTesla I can bring up a Google map, draw a circle around a certain area, and say, 'Send me a text message anytime I go in that area, and here's what I want it to say.' So when I go to my grocery store parking lot, I get a text message that says, 'remember your bags.'"

Though Pasqua's software isn't supported by Telsa he told the Review he hasn't encountered any resistance from the manufacturer yet. Telsa has said in the past it is considering releasing a software development kit for the Model S but hasn't released any concrete details.

Would you drive around in an open-source car? What functions would you hack your vehicle to perform? Let us know in the comments section below.

Some Tesla Owners Pimp Their Rides with Code | MIT Technology Review

Chris Wiltz is the Managing Editor of Design News

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