The autonomous driving features in the Tesla Model S have allowed the car to be summoned from its parking space for several months now, first via the keyfob, and then with an unofficial Apple Watch app. But now it’s time to let another device do the summoning for you — like Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant in the Echo connected speaker. That’s exactly what developer Jason Goecke has done, allowing him to tell his car to pull out of the garage with voice commands.
Just to be clear, like the Apple Watch method, this is not an official feature supported by either Tesla or the Amazon Echo. Goecke says he used an unofficial Tesla API and a bit of programming to get Alexa to understand and follow the right keywords.
The whole thing works perfectly, as demonstrated in the video below. Goecke simply says to Alexa “Ask KITT to pull out of the garage,” because every self-driving car should be named after the show Knight Rider. From there, Alexa responds with “I will now pull your Tesla out of the garage; keep an eye on it,” then the garage door opens, and the Model S rolls out.
Goecke adds that this was just a “fun weekend project” for him, but notes that there are too many security vulnerabilities for it be released in its current state. For example, voice biometrics would need to be added Alexa, or else anyone could order the car around. But he also hopes Tesla will open up its developer tools, so that the community can make use of the API in a safe way to create apps the car company hasn’t thought of.