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Third-party App Support/SDK

147

Description

Offer the ability to download third-party Android apps to run in one or both display panes.

Apps might be limited to those validated by Tesla and only available from a Tesla marketplace.

Offer developers support with:

  • An SDK to read select vehicle information (speed, location, status, power state, etc.)
  • Allow side-loading apps (to a developer’s vehicle) for testing and validation
  • Emulator package for Android

Competitive/Pricing/Notes

This is a new area. We are unaware of any vehicle manufacture offering third-party developer support.

Status

Elon Musk stated this will be available in 2015 (from the European tour video, February 2014)



Category: Tags: entered 3-Dec-2012
Moderator
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6 Comments

I believe Tesla has publicly said that this would be offered...I have several apps ready to develop!
We also would love to develop apps for Tesla's vehicles, but realize they likely need quite a bit of work to pull this off. In addition to the API, SDK, emulator and related  documentation, they will need an internal app validation system similar to Barnes & Noble and Amazon. These systems require considerable development and continuing staff resources.  I think the software team may be too loaded right now to focus on these needs.

As for the validation system, they would need to have some guidelines as to what will be accepted. For example, one of our apps is a party strobe - something that would be a really bad idea to allow installed on the Tesla's screen!  I'm sure we can think of others that just don't make sense or perhaps require some special API limits. If I sell a game app, I'm not sure I'd really want it to run while the car is in motion, so as the developer I'd want a hook to limit operation to when the vehicle is stopped to reduce my company's liability.  Other developers may not care or have not thought of some of the unique issues apps that operate in a car present.

Thinking more about liability, this may be the one reason Tesla (or any other car company) may not allow third-party apps or may be very restrictive. When something goes wrong, who is going to be blamed (or sued)?  Tesla for hosting and/or approving an app? The app developer?  Sadly, it could be a legal risk that no one wants to take, at least here in the USA.  I would hope there would be some way around this, such as the app purchaser agreeing to all liability from using a given app, but I don't know if this could be implemented or would hold up in court.

 
It looks like Tesla might be using the Qt toolkit for their display (from the browser ID). It should not be all that difficult to write applications using that toolkit but I would imagine that Tesla would need to validate applications before making them available to others.

I have also heard that at least one manufacturer is going to allow 3rd party apps (either Ford or GM).
Support for Miracast would make an easy way to allow virtually any app to work from a phone supporting this standard, though preventing video might be tricky.
Fix the legal issues and Tesla would be again lead an industry revolution.
I get in my car to go somewhere - not to play games or be entertained.  I sit at home in front of a computer for those things. While driving, I need to be alert and driving. This is a wonderful theater, but what is being played should be driving related (camera, blind spot, sensor output) and not some fancy/flashy distraction.  Somebody can get killed by distracted or bored drivers.

 

[its april fools day - imagine some pop up display that scares the driver with a big Boo!! - perhaps an innocent prank, perhaps more sinister.  Don't even put in this hook]