While Elon Musk early on tweeted that he was considering adding support for Apple CarPlay to Tesla’s electric cars, it’s clear that the expected update isn’t coming any time soon.
It is reported that Apple’s in-vehicle connection protocol is based on Wi-Fi (rather than Bluetooth), and Tesla has provided the basis for this. But if you can’t wait, a Polish developer named Michal Gapinski has already introduced a “Tesla Android” solution based on the Raspberry Pi.
According to the description on the project’s official website, Tesla Android uses a customized version of Raspberry Pi + Android 12 that supports LTE connection to introduce the CarPlay function into Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles.
Although it is still in the alpha testing stage, friends with strong hands-on ability can move to GitHub to get the public preview version. Hardware-wise, Tesla Android uses a Raspberry Pi 4 with at least 4GB of RAM to run the Android mobile operating system.
Another Raspberry Pi (at least a Raspberry Pi 3) is used to enable Linux and handle network transactions. There’s also an HDMI capture module, an LTE modem, and a network cable. If possible, you can also change the connection to a wireless connection, and Michal Gapinski recommends adding appropriate cooling components.
However, having said that, it is still much more difficult to tinker with software than hardware deployment – at least you need to have familiar with computer operation and certain programming skills.
The installation process is as follows:
- First download the Tesla Android project source code from GitHub, and then flash the custom image to the SD card through ADB.
- After inserting the SD card into the Raspberry Pi 4 and popping up the bootloader, the user needs to manually verify the pairing through the fastboot command.
- After extracting the necessary files and executing the command list, you have to update the driver before executing the entire script.
- The Android Auto settings will flash on the screen during this time, and the user must use the Ethernet port to establish a connection.
- After bypassing Google Play’s device authentication module with the ADB tool, you have to start the Linux interface on another Raspberry Pi (again, a rather long waiting process).
After the CarPlay interface is successfully installed, the system may be stuck due to hardware limitations. If you can overclock the Raspberry Pi module running Android OS, the problem may be alleviated. But the current Tesla Android project is far from perfect, and if you need audio navigation, you’ll have to sacrifice microphone support for calls.
The developer has committed to a future fix to remove this conflicting limitation. But if you really don’t have such a strong hands-on ability, you should wait patiently for Tesla to officially push the CarPlay update.