Hack The Planet! By "The Planet", We Mean The Tesla Model S

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
hack the planet by the planet we mean the tesla model s

What runs NFS, X11, and a thirteen-second quarter-mile?

In the past decade, there’s been a quiet but significant shift in the way most electronic devices work. The explosion in available computing power means that a lot of things that used to have embedded, proprietary operating systems now use less efficient but more flexible choices, like Windows CE, QNX, or some variant of the GNU/Linux/Android framework. Inevitably, therefore, this leads to people “jailbraking” or “rooting” these devices to have full control of them beyond the parameters envisioned by the developers. Sometimes the entire operating system is replaced, as with the old Linux On The Linksys hack.

As you might imagine, Tesla owners have been eager to take a shot at meeting the operating system behind the curtain, and now they are closer to making that goal happen. It’s now possible to connect to three different servers within a Tesla Model S via Ethernet. Will this eventually lead to all sorts of changes in the way people use Teslas, from unlocking additional power delivery and reserve capacity to “theme-ing the desktop”? Probably. Will it lead to people “bricking” their Teslas? Without a doubt. Is the next generation of electric-car pioneers curled up in the passenger seat of his mom’s Model S right now, hoping he doesn’t get caught as he reconfigures it to flash “takedown lights” whenever it hits 88mph or above? We’ll have to wait and see.

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5 of 22 comments
  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Apr 06, 2014

    //“bricking” their Teslas Heh... more like briquette.

  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Apr 06, 2014

    "bricking" already happens with everyday cars when some tunerZ mess with the ECU and they don't know what they're doing.

  • Mcs Mcs on Apr 06, 2014

    The most interesting and useful area of vehicle hacking is to fake out the radar on other vehicles active cruise control and collision avoidance systems. Doing little things like slowing down other vehicles to facilitate last minute merges or to assist in getting around left lane bandits. Want to leave a 911 behind with a beat-up B segment Toyota - no problem if you convince the 911's PAS system that there's a brick wall in front of it. Radar jamming isn't difficult and I suspect the designers of these systems didn't take precautions against it.

    • JimC2 JimC2 on Apr 06, 2014

      I like where your mind is going with this. "Radar jamming isn’t difficult..." Barrage jamming (make enough noise to drown out the real radar signal) isn't difficult. Technique jamming (receive the signal and create a fake return to trick the radar), however, is more challenging- although with the computing power available to consumers nowadays it may not be so difficult. Road rage might get very interesting. How might the next left-lane-hog SUV lady vs angry-redneck pickup truck gentleman confrontation turn out?? :)

  • The Heisenberg Cartel The Heisenberg Cartel on Apr 06, 2014

    1) hack a Tesla 2) Install Android or iOS 3) Play Flappy Bird and Clash of Clans 4) ????? 5) PROFIT!!