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Why won't Elon Musk let us be geeks?

kirkbauer

Member
May 31, 2015
623
242
Atlanta, GA
I'm a very happy MS owner, but as a geek, and as somebody who knows Elon is a geek, my biggest complaint is that Tesla won't let us geek out with our car. I like a few of the Easter Eggs but otherwise I'm a bit disappointed.

First, note that many (most) owners are tech-savvy and/or the type of person who likes to know and understand things. Second driving a Tesla today already assumes a greater level of personal responsibility than many vehicles, partly because of the available performance that needs to be used wisely, and partly because of the risk of running out of energy on long trips. You can't just hop in the car and start driving like you can with an ICE, you have to pre-plan at least a little.

I also like that there is a REST API but I don't like that it isn't documented and officially isn't supposed to be used.

So my big asks of Tesla/Elon are:

  1. Provide an expanded and documented official REST API to allow for more 3rd-party desktop and mobile apps
  2. Create an SDK and provide some sort of app marketplace for third-party in-car apps

I think this would really create an explosion of neat new things for our Teslas without Tesla having to write everything on their own. Secondly I'd love to see more techie stuff in the car (which could be done by third parties if we got #2 above):

  1. Autopilot info/debug screen in instrument cluster (as we have already seen a screenshot of, obviously used by Tesla when testing)
  2. Car info/drivetrain info screen on center console, showing energy flow (my 2010 Lexus Hybrid had that), and perhaps other things like G-forces, etc.
  3. Center console app that shows the Mobileye video feed (if that's even possible) and highlighting what it sees (again, if that's possible) like the MobileEye development footage you can find on Youtube.
  4. Ability to select reduced or, if possible, even turn off traction control, so that we can have fun on the track or wherever we want to try things out. Personally the extent of reduced power on my P85D while in a turn is very frustrating.

For all of these simply hide them unless you enable a "Geek Mode"... so yeah, I want a Geek Mode.
 

gizmoboy

Member
Jul 2, 2015
700
38
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Probably a combination of three factors:

1. Don't want to give competitors too much Intel.

2. Don't have the resources to provide that cleanly.

3. Don't want to get sued over some bug or extra information.
 

Ldub22

Member
Mar 1, 2015
174
132
Kirkland, WA
It's one thing to geek out a computer, another thing altogether to geek out a 5,000 lb missile. If they had an SDK, they would have to create a whole department just to deal with people who wanted to "chat" or offer their "input". Their plates are full enough with people freaking out over the definition of "horsepower" and "semi-autonomous" and "quality control".

I love my car. However, I would like to keep it like my phone: un-jailbroken.
 

jerry33

(S85-3/2/13 traded in) X LR: F2611##-3/27/20
Mar 8, 2012
19,740
22,857
Texas
Doesnt Tesla promote the adoption of EVs and didn't they "open source" their patents in that spirit? And aren't other competitors reverse engineering the Model S anyway?
Open sourcing the patents is not the same thing as giving access to the internals of the system. There is a lot of work between the patent and a working system.
 

kirkbauer

Member
May 31, 2015
623
242
Atlanta, GA
It's one thing to geek out a computer, another thing altogether to geek out a 5,000 lb missile. If they had an SDK, they would have to create a whole department just to deal with people who wanted to "chat" or offer their "input". Their plates are full enough with people freaking out over the definition of "horsepower" and "semi-autonomous" and "quality control".

I love my car. However, I would like to keep it like my phone: un-jailbroken.

That's the point of an SDK and limited access and an official app store, the apps can be limited on what they can control, what they can access, etc.
 

rjcbox

Member
Sep 4, 2013
543
189
PA, USA
Don't think they'll allow jailbreaking anytime soon, too many issues/potential complications from this move. Yes, there's some benefit since some ppl want it. However, much more potential downside than any increase in sales benefit
 

HankLloydRight

No Roads
Jan 18, 2014
12,959
10,991
Connecticut
Don't think they'll allow jailbreaking anytime soon, too many issues/potential complications from this move. Yes, there's some benefit since some ppl want it. However, much more potential downside than any increase in sales benefit

Nobody is advocating jailbreaking here.* We just want a development sandbox to allow us to develop "read only" apps that have no access to anything critical (BMS, motor, inverter, steering, braking, etc), but does have access to read all kinds of sensor data (BMW, motor, inverter, steering, braking, wheels, direction, speed, temps, etc) so we can deliver apps that run on the touchscreen, but don't pose a threat to the operation of the car.


*Apple doesn't allow jailbreaking either, but it still happens. ;)
 

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