Tesla Motors, known for changing the automobile industry with its innovative electric cars, will update its Model S firmware in the coming months to allow owners to start and drive the Model S with only an iPhone. While it isn’t yet exactly certain how this will work, there is speculation that it will involve Touch ID and may coincide with the launch of iOS 8 next month. The above screenshot of Version 6 is said to be in late beta stages and being finalized for full rollout now.
Tesla’s iPhone app won our 2013 app of the year and the ability to start the car and drive it would continue down that same innovative road. Other systems for starting a car and driving it from a mobile phone already exist for 3rd parties like Viper and others.
Tesla has been busy snapping up Apple employees over the past year. Only weeks after poaching Apple Mac Hardware Vice President Doug Field to run Vehicle Design, Tesla snapped up Director of Manufacturing technology Rich Heley. Then security researcher Kristin Paget joined in February. Also, much of Tesla’s UI design team comes from Apple.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk was also spotted at Apple last year and while speculation was that Apple was considering a buyout (shot down) or becoming an investor in Tesla’s battery Gigafactory, perhaps Musk was simply looking to better integrate the iPhone with his cars.
Musk also got into a heated debate with an iPhone engineer at a recent energy forum in San Francisco.