Musk Confirms That Tesla Will Add Apple Watch Support in Future Update

By Not a Tesla App Staff
Tesla App on Apple Watch concept by Naher94
Tesla App on Apple Watch concept by Naher94
Naher94/Reddit

Tesla is finally getting ready to release support for the Apple Watch and presumably Android wear devices. It’s anyone’s guess if development for smartwatches has been in the works or if the Tesla team found out at the same time as the rest of us. Despite this request being made several times before, Elon Musk recently responded to the request with a simple “Sure.” Although the response is short, Musk has a good record of delivering on items he has said “sure” or “okay” to on X/Twitter. A few examples are agreeing to add WiFi garage door support, a glovebox PIN feature, disabling mirror auto-dimming, and many others. When Musk responds to these requests, in all likelihood, they’re already on Tesla’s product roadmap.

The days of living in fear of your phone running out of juice and not having your key card may be numbered. X user @dani_elle831 described that exact situation: “well it finally happened. my phone died & I got locked out of my tesla thankfully the massage place let me use their phone & hubby unlocked it from his phone not sure why the car can’t be unlocked using an Apple Watch or other smart watch. any chance this could be incorporated @elonmusk?”

Phone Key Support on Watch?

One of the big advantages Apple Watch and Android Wear support could bring is the ability to use your watch as a vehicle key. From the context of the post on X, it’s not clear whether this will be included, as the post simply talks about unlocking the vehicle when you don’t have a working phone on you. It could mean having full-fledge key support on your watch, or simply being able to unlock and start the vehicle over the internet like you can already do through the app when you’re outside of Bluetooth range.

There’s no doubt that having ‘phone key’ support would be the best option, as it would work seamlessly and not require an internet connection, although it’s not clear what Tesla’s intentions are. Tesla has not added support for Apple’s CarKey and is unlikely to add it at this point. However, Tesla could add phone key support in the same method they already support on iPhones and Android devices.

Phone key leverages Bluetooth to unlock the vehicle when it’s nearby, and Tesla recently added ultra-wideband support, which brings even more precision to phone key. However, ultra-wideband is only available on newer devices, such as the iPhone 11 and later, some Samsung Galaxy 21 devices and later, as well as select other models. It also required a new Model 3, Cybertruck, or a newer Model S or X, with these sensors built in. Unfortunately, the previous generation Model 3 and the current Model Y do not include ultra-wideband support.

It is interesting to note that the Apple Watch has had ultra-wideband support since the Series 6, including the new Ultra models. Hopefully, we’ll be in for a treat and will see full phone key support through Bluetooth and Ultra-wideband, but either way, it seems like we’ll at long last be able to unlock the vehicle from our smartwatches in some form.

From Widgets to Watch Support

Tesla added lock screen widgets to the iPhone back in 2022
Tesla added lock screen widgets to the iPhone back in 2022
Not a Tesla App

Tesla rolled out lock screen widget support on iPhones in app update 4.14, and we’re likely going to see these same lock screen widgets supported on the Apple Watch and possibly on Android Wear devices. Tesla has two lock screen widgets that display relevant vehicle information. The larger one displays the range left on the vehicle, the name of the vehicle and a progress bar showing the charge level. If you have more than one Tesla, you’ll need to choose which vehicle is displayed in the widget, however, you can have multiple instances of the same widget. There is also a smaller widget that is half the size and simply displays the vehicle’s state of charge. Both of these would adapt well to ‘complications’ on the Apple Watch..

Smartwatch Support Expectation

Another concept of a Tesla app on the Apple Watch by @niccruzpatane
Another concept of a Tesla app on the Apple Watch by @niccruzpatane
@niccruzpatane

We don’t know what Tesla is developing and it could be anything from a full-fledged Tesla app for smartwatches that allows you to access most commands available in the Tesla app such as charging, unlocking, starting the climate, setting charge level (as shown in the concept above), and even include full phone key support. However, it could also be a slimmed-down app that introduces watch widgets and allows you to access the most important commands and information about the vehicle, such as seeing the vehicle’s range, unlocking it, and starting a charge. Smartwatch support has been a long time coming, and even if Tesla releases the latter, it will be a great addition.

Other Manufacturers

Tesla's development of smartwatch apps is a welcome step, but surprisingly a step behind the competition, which is unlike Tesla in terms of software. Companies like Porsche, BMW, Dodge, Toyota, and Ford have already introduced support for smartwatches. These apps offer a range of features such as remote engine start and stop, door lock and unlock, car finder, vehicle status, and parking meter assistance.

Timing is Everything

Tesla's consideration of a smartwatch app comes at an intriguing time, closely following Apple's announcement to cancel its electric vehicle project, which would’ve competed directly with Tesla. It’s likely a coincidence, and it could have more to do with the recent addition of ultra-wideband, as this new tech provides significant improvements in energy usage and precision. We should find out more soon, so stay tuned.

Tesla Vehicles Spotted With LiDAR: What Do They Use It For?

By Karan Singh
Not a Tesla App

Tesla recently hit the news for purchasing approximately $2M in LiDAR sensors from Luminar, one of Tesla’s long-term suppliers. You’ve probably seen photos of Tesla’s Semi and various Tesla models, including the Model 3 and Model Y sporting LIDAR equipment on the roof. These cars drive around with manufacturer plates scanning streets and highways.

However, many people confuse Tesla’s purpose in purchasing LiDAR equipment with using it for FSD versus testing. So, let’s look at what LiDAR is, and why Tesla uses it on its Fleet Validation Vehicles.

What is LiDAR?

LiDAR stands for Light Detecting and Ranging – essentially using lasers to measure distances. A laser pulse is sent out, and the time it takes to return is measured – providing extremely accurate distance measurements.

Some companies working on self-driving vehicles, including Waymo and BYD, use LiDAR as part of their self-driving suites, but Tesla is one of the few stand-outs that does not. Even Rimac’s “Verne” Robotaxi – which uses self-driving technology from Mobileye, also uses LiDAR.

While LiDAR can produce extremely accurate and high-quality 3D environments, it comes with its downsides as well. Not only is LiDAR costly and requires large gear strapped to a vehicle, but it also can not be used in bad weather and can have interference issues if there are other strong light sources present.

Why Does Tesla Use LiDAR?

A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
A LiDAR rig mounted on a Tesla Semi for testing FSD.
Not a Tesla App

At Autonomy Day in 2019, Elon Musk mentioned that LiDAR isn’t the solution for self-driving cars – it's just a crutch. Thus, Tesla hasn’t used LiDAR for any production self-driving software.

Instead, Tesla uses it exactly how it's described – they use it to gather ground-truth data. This data is then used to feed Tesla’s Full Self Driving system – which helps validate its vision-only system's accuracy. LiDAR provides very accurate measurements to help ensure that FSD’s perception of space is accurate – and is only used by Tesla to ensure that its AI technology which is the brains of FSD is capable of accurately interpreting depth from just visual data.

Tesla’s vision-only system has been seen to be extremely accurate, with Vision-only Autopark being able to park in even narrower and tighter spaces faster than the previous version that relied on ultrasonic sensors.

We’ll likely continue to see Tesla purchase LiDAR systems, as well as use them for validation well into the future.

Tesla's Upcoming Robotaxi Event in August Delayed, According to Bloomberg

By Karan Singh
Sugar Design

In a report from Bloomberg, it is claimed that Tesla will be delaying its much-anticipated 8/8 Robotaxi event by two months to October 2024.

While sources other than Bloomberg haven't confirmed this report, Bloomberg has a positive track record of reporting on financial decisions. We’ll be sure to update the article if there is confirmation on X from Elon Musk or another Tesla senior official.

Tesla’s stock has dropped nearly 8.5% over the day, ending back-to-back gains over the last two weeks. It closed yesterday at $ 241 after hitting a peak of $270 earlier in the day before the news broke.

Why the Delay?

The delay – of approximately two months – has been communicated internally, but not publicly announced just yet. Bloomberg goes on to mention that the design team was told to rework certain elements of the Cybercab, necessitating the delay.

If Bloomberg’s report is correct, it sounds like Tesla’s unveil event will be largely focused on showing off the vehicle, instead of demoing how it will work. Of course, it could still be both, but given past events, Tesla has always shown off the vehicle years before it hits production.

Rimac recently showed off their version of robotaxi vehicle named Verne, and surprisingly, it could almost pass for Tesla’s own robotaxi. A lot of design cues in Rimac’s version are elements we have already seen or expect to see in Tesla’s autonomous taxi.

A recent Tesla patent revealed that Tesla is incorporating a sanitation system into their robotaxi that will be responsible for analyzing and cleaning the vehicle’s interior, although the delay itself is likely tied more to a physical feature rather than software.

Another element we know almost nothing about is how Tesla plans to charge these robotic taxis. Will they rely on the existing charge port and adapt a solution like the robotic charging arm (video below) we saw almost eight years ago, or will wireless charging or a dock finally become realized?

While the delay for Tesla’s event appears to be related to the vehicle’s design itself and not further development of FSD, Tesla is wasting no time in getting FSD working for the upcoming vehicle. Model 3 vehicles have already been spotted with camera locations that resemble a robotaxi.

Is the Delay Accurate?

We expect that this delay might actually be true – Elon Musk usually takes to X within hours of such news breaking if it's false to refute it and hasn’t done so yet.

Tesla has delayed several of their events in the past, and a delay of a couple of months seems plausible. We should hear from Musk himself soon on whether this report is accurate.

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