Apple CarPlay is a great way to bring the dead-simple smartphone experience to your car’s dashboard. While it’s become ubiquitous in new cars, Tesla never jumped on the bandwagon, so there is no official way to bring CarPlay to Tesla vehicles — official being the key word.
A post on MacRumors brought our attention to a YouTube video from developer Michał Gapiński, who created a system that allows Apple CarPlay to run on Tesla’s infotainment display. The latest update claims to bring “100% functional CarPlay integration for any Tesla,” and the video shows Gapiński fiddling with CarPlay inside a Tesla, in addition to watching YouTube and using what appears to be an Android-based interface.
That’s because this is no mere CarPlay upgrade alone. In order to make this work, Gapiński had to install several pieces of additional hardware. His website lists the full hardware requirements, which includes two Raspberry Pi computers, an LTE modem, an HDMI-to-CSI-2 adapter for processing video streams as data, as well as cables linking everything together. It’s not so much an Apple CarPlay emulator as it is an entire Android tablet emulator, although a version that runs Linux is also available.
Installation is not for the faint of heart, either. You’ll have to be comfortable with executing terminal commands to get Linux or Android 12 installed on the first Raspberry Pi, and you’ll have to fiddle with some more things to get CarPlay running. Gapiński recommends a small fan to help keep the computers cool, especially if they’re stored out of sight in the center console, so expect a little noise from that, too.
Meanwhile, for those of us with a car running CarPlay natively, we’re in for quite a treat in the near future. At WWDC 2022, Apple, which will reskin the entire vehicle operating system. It’ll also be customizable, letting users pick from a variety of styles that best suits their preferences. Automakers will need to opt-in for this level of integration, but a number of OEMs have already signed on, including Ford, Honda, Nissan, Porsche and Volvo.