Support for CarPlay is one of the most requested upgrades from Tesla drivers, but Elon Musk’s clean driving machines don’t play well with it.
Michał Gapiński stepped in to change that by turning the browser into an interactive Android tablet, giving drivers access to every Apple app. Meet Tesla Android.
What is CarPlay?
It’s an Apple standard that enables a car radio or head unit to be a display and a controller for an iOS device. CarPlay allows you to use Siri, make phone calls, send texts, find your way to any location, listen to playlists, and access your calendar without taking your hands off the steering wheel.
How does Tesla Android work?
The in-car browser talks to a Raspberry Pi and asks it to display the CarPlay interface on the Tesla’s screen. Apple apps, including Maps and Apple Music, are now available to the driver. The system works while driving, and can also be controlled with the media buttons on the Tesla’s steering wheel.
The first version took six months of work to get off the ground, and this updated second release came about in June of this year.
- Raspberry Pi 4 (the “main” Raspberry Pi running Android)
- Raspberry Pi 3 or any newer model (the secondary Raspberry Pi running Linux to handle all the video and networking)
- Geekworm HDMI-to-CSI adaptor board for Raspberry Pi (for video capture)
- Short micro HDMI-to-standard-HDMI cable (connects video out to HDMI-to-CSI adapter board)
- Short Ethernet cable (connects the two Raspberry Pi boards)
Michał is still finessing the design, and hopes to be able to drop the requirement for two Raspberry Pi boards in the future.
Want to code your own CarPlay stand-in?
This is quite a tricky build, but Michał has pulled together a comprehensive step-by-step installation guide. And most of the software components are available on GitHub. Ideas for improvements are also invited via GitHub pull requests.