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Tap to start - Telsa Motors hooks up iPhone app

Published:Sunday | September 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM
The Apple iPhone 5S.

Chad Bryan, Star Writer

American company Tesla Motors will soon be employing a nifty cell phone feature, in conjunction with electronics company Apple. It will enable Telsa's vehicles to be turned on with a tap on a smartphone screen, should the driver lose his or her key.

Tesla is rolling out an operating system 6.0 software update for its model S vehicles. Among the notable features in the update log is a keyless entry and ignition start for iPhone users, which will enable them to unlock and start their cars in case they forget or misplace the regular key fob.

An update for Android devices is also said to be in development.

While details of the system have not been publicised, a few somewhat similar set-ups already exist. These include an app developed by Lexus and a third party app called Viper, which is not to be confused with the muscle car.

If a vehicle has a Viper remote system installed it can be configured to hook up to an iPhone. Once this is done, the vehicle can then be switched on using the phone.


The Viper iPhone app can also be used to lock and unlock the vehicle remotely. Viper calls the technology virtually unlimited.

One advantage of using the phone to unlock a vehicle is that its range is much larger than the regular key fob. On the other hand, however, misplacing the cell phone or falling prey to theft would leave the user at a decided disadvantage.