Tesla Update Could Let Owners Start Cars With Only An iPhone

A document reportedly detailing an upcoming firmware release suggests Tesla's iPhone app could start the Model S car.

An upcoming firmware release to Tesla's Model S electric sedan could allow owners to start the car with an iPhone app.

9to5Mac spotted a document reportedly detailing the electric auto maker's v6.0 update for the Model S. The following passage (emphasis ours) reveals enhanced capabilities to its iPhone app.

With this release, we are now offering Model S owners an enhanced navigation system that incorporates real-time traffic, and a new Calendar app that allows you to view and navigate to events from your phone's calendar. In addition, owners will be able to name their car. Finally, there are new power management options and further maps improvement. The new Calendar app also requires use of a new Tesla Mobile App (currently available for iPhone only)—which also has new notifications functionality and the ability to start your car (in case you forget your keyfob). A new Tesla Android app will be available in a few weeks.

Some of these features—the ability to name your car, enhanced navigation, and calendar integration—were alluded to by CEO Elon Musk at the company's annual shareholder meeting in June. But there was no such mention of its iPhone app being able to start the Model S. The technology for this isn't completely new. At CES last year, a company called Delphi showed off an app that can unlock doors, pop open the truck, sound the alarm, and start and stop the engine of cars that use its onboard diagnostics tool.

9to5Mac's screenshot doesn't contain more information on how this technology will work, but the blog speculates it might use Touch ID. More details may arrive with the iOS 8 launch in September. Such a feature could make Tesla's cars susceptible to security vulnerabilities. Earlier this month, the company said it was looking to add 30 full-time hackers to find security flaws in its cars.

[Image: Flickr user Thomas Leth-Olsen]

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