Tesla confirms third-party app support for Model S

In-car computer to build a development community for add-on apps.

18 Mar 2011
Tesla confirms third-party app support for Model S

Tesla Motors, creator of all-electric vehicles and the company behind the impending launch of the Model S high-tech electric car, has confirmed that its upcoming vehicle will support third-party applications on its on-board computer system.

According to comments by chief executive Elon Musk at a press conference in San Francisco late yesterday, the car maker is looking to build up an ecosystem of third-party developers for the in-car computing platform to be built into the Model S - in much the same way as Apple and Google have built up strong development communities for their respective iOS and Android operating systems.

"We want people to develop car-specific applications," Musk told the attendees during the question and answer section of the conference.

"Text-to-speech technology can address some of the issues with driver distraction."

This is a major concern for any complex in-car computing system, where traditional graphical user interfaces can draw attention away from the road and down to the dashboard.

Prototypes of the Model S have revealed much about the plans Tesla Motors has for the in-car computing system: a gigantic 17-inch touchscreen interface is embedded into the dashboard, offering the largest commercial in-car computer display yet available - a draw that third party developers are likely to find extremely tempting, and one that could revolutionise in-car navigation systems that have, until now, had to squeeze their information into relatively small display sizes.

Musk did not, sadly, announce when the Model S would be entering production.

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