Why it matters to you
Want to check if your Tesla’s doors are locked? Just ask a new Facebook bot to do it for you.
The car of the future can not only transport you from Point A to Point B, it can now converse with you, too. Well, sort of. Thanks to a new chatbot from SmartCar, you can now talk to your Tesla with TeslaBot. The virtual assistant is synced with your Tesla Model S or Tesla Model X by way of the car company’s open APIs, and mimics Tesla’s native app in many ways. But unlike the existing Tesla app, this new bot will let you interact with your car on a desktop, whether it’s a Mac or a PC. And if you’re on your phone, you can use your voice to control your vehicle as well.
You can actually glean quite a bit of information from TeslaBot. Once you’ve opened the chat, you can simply type things like “vehicle info,” and the bot will spit out your car model name as well as its VIN (vehicle identification number). If you type in “odometer,” the bot will tell you how many miles you’ve traveled in your Tesla, and if you inquire about the climate status, the bot will let you know what your car’s temperature is set to, and whether the system is currently on or off.
You can even order the bot to do things for you, like lock your car, vent your sunroof, and more. And according to SmartCar founder Sahas Katta, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the company plans on doing. “We used a Machine Learning engine to train it to the thousands of ways people may ask something,” he told Electrek. “We’re excited to see what developers will build on the SmartCar platform in the future.”
Already, the bot can be pretty clever. Telling TeslaBot “I’m bored,” for example, will get you plenty of the type of amusing responses that you might expect from your dorky dad (much as we love him). And of course, as folks keep experimenting with the bot, it’s sure to reveal even more of its personality.
SmartCar is already working alongside Hyundai on the carmaker’s Ioniq platform, so we’ll soon be able to see what these bots can really do.