Car Culture

Call your Tesla to heel, KITT-style, with Amazon Echo (and a lot of code)

Tesla's own Summon sure as hell can't do this on its own, not without tons of help.

Sarah Tew

One of the neat things about modern cars (or terrifying, depending how you look at it) is that, with a load of know-how and a bit of trickery, you can get them to do some very interesting things.

Jason Goecke posted an interesting article to Teslarati, wherein he explains how he was able to hack his Model S to initiate its Summon feature with voice commands. Summon means you get out of your Tesla in front of your garage and the car opens the door, parks itself and closes the door -- and can do the reverse when you leave. But it doesn't currently respond to your voice.

To fix that, all it took (bear with me) was a hacked Tesla API that allowed access to vehicle functionality, an Amazon Echo microphone, the Golang programming language and Amazon's AWS Lambda, which lets you execute code on Amazon's capacious servers. Eight seconds after he speaks to Alexa, Goecke's hack kicks into motion:

Here's how it works: When Alexa picks up on Goecke's keyword (in this case, the "Knight Rider"-themed "Ask KITT"), it sends data to AWS Lambda, which executes the Golang code that Goecke uploaded. That code then calls to the Model S' API, which uses Homelink to open the garage door and Tesla's own Summon system to drive the vehicle out. Easy-peasy, right?

Just wait until Goecke figures out how to shove Mr. Feeny's voice into the Echo. That's when things get ubernerdy.