The software running on in vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems is often custom-made by the car maker, and it’s usually not very good. A lot of the OSes you’ll found in cars have their roots in Automotive Grade Linux, though Tesla, the most popular electric car maker in the U.S., made its own homebrew Linux distro for its infotainment system. In lieu of using the IVI, many users project their phone’s software onto the infotainment system’s screen, but Tesla’s vehicles don’t support that. Although Tesla’s software is quite good, there are some cases where Android Auto or Apple CarPlay would be preferable. Fortunately, an enterprising developer has managed to get Android Auto working on a Tesla, albeit it’s in very, very early stages.
XDA Recognized Developer Emil Borconi took to Reddit a few days ago to show off this proof-of-concept. For those of you who don’t know, Emil is the lead developer of the AAGateWay app and is one of the leads behind the AAWireless project, so if there’s anyone with the know-how to make this work, it’s him.
Right now, he’s working on improving the performance. In one comment, he said he got this working through two drives lasting about 60km each but had to lower the resolution to 480p to have it working without huge delay. Microphone input seemed to work as well as scaling. The video embedded below demonstrates Android Auto on Emil’s Tesla. As you can see, this project is far from ready, but Emil hopes he can iron out any remaining issues soon before a proper release.
Emil also shared two additional videos with us: The longer one was with the resolution set to 720p, while the shorter one was with the resolution set to 480p.
There’s an app on Google Play called TeslaMirror that lets you mirror your entire phone screen to your Tesla, but Emil’s solution, once finished, would be superior as you’d get the car-optimized Android Auto interface and apps rather than the phone-optimized apps you’d get through TeslaMirror.