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IoT in Tesla: Applications, Benefits and Potential Risks

  • Harina Rastogi
  • May 05, 2022
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"We could definitely make a flying car – but that's not the hard part. The hard part is, how do you make a flying car that's super safe and quiet? Because if it's a howler, you're going to make people very unhappy." 

- Elon Musk


Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things are two separate concepts. But when mixed together they can create wonders. Together these two are now called the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT)


“AIoT” works on 5 elements which are- Data, Connectivity, Insight, Action and lastly Things. Till now there are so many big companies that have implemented IoT in their products and revolutionized them. Be it Apple, Google, Amazon or Nest Labs.


But one company that has made the future a reality now is Elon Musk’s venture “Tesla Motors”. Being beyond a vehicle manufacturer, Tesla has given the world a new hope by launching its EV’s, solar powered cars and so much more.


It has truly utilized the power of AI and IoT in its cars. In this blog you will learn about the Applications of IoT in Tesla and how people are adapting to this new and modified version of normal cars.



Applications of IoT in Tesla


One of the users on Twitter once suggested to Elon Musk that in future he would like to sit in his car and tell the location and let the car drive him. In return, Elon Musk CEO of Tesla tweeted that-


“It won’t even need to ask you most of the time”


Confident of their purpose, Tesla has set up an exclusive range of self-driving cars, its vehicles making a thorough use of IoT based applications. These applications have allowed the cars to be customized as per customer needs. 


These cars have the upper hand from normal cars as they can respond and react in real-time on the basis of events. So, if there is a possibility of an accident then Tesla can take precautionary measures itself. 


But the power of IoT is not limited to this. There are multiple applications of IoT in Tesla. Let us learn some of the most exciting ones from them.

Applications of IoT in Tesla :1. Autopilot Mode 2. Updates 3. Connectivity 4. Mobile Application

Applications of IoT in Tesla


  1. Autopilot and Self Driving Mode


Tesla has a software that enables autopilot mode and self driving mode in its cars. Advanced Driver Assistance System i.e. ADAS helps the drivers by reducing their manual tasks. It helps improve both safety and convenience. This special IoT feature helps the driver by taking control of the car in mishaps and non-idealistic situations. 


If we talk about the latest models of Tesla then the current one comes with 8 cameras for external views, ultrasonic sensors, onboard computers etc. These help the driver deal with all kinds of situations.


  1. Updates


One of the applications of IoT in Tesla vehicles is the over-the-air update system. Normally cars are updated in dealership stores. As time passes by, cars depreciate and the whole system becomes complex. 


Because of this it is very difficult to take the car to the dealer for upgrades. But the updating system of Tesla is quite different. You do not have to take the car to the dealer at all. The car fixes itself. 


You can do what you want and the car will update itself. Amazing, right? The Tesla S model was the first of its kind that updated itself via the on-air updates. 


Just like your mobile phones, S Model downloaded the update and new software was installed which had new functions, errors and bug fixes etc. This is the power of AI and IoT which Musk has synthesized optimally in his cars.


  1. Connectivity


Tesla has WiFi connectivity only. You have multiple features to enjoy like music, movies, getting traffic details over bluetooth and other streaming options as well. It has premium connectivity. 


You can also use cellular networks apart from WiFi. One of the perks of AI is that you can do anything you want anytime and anywhere. With such great IoT features in your car, you can enjoy a lot.


  1. Mobile Application


You also have a Mobile app through which you can access multiple features of the car with a single click. Like flashing lights, locking and unlocking the car, horn etc. It is similar to the functions of IoT in your home appliances. 


There is a special summon feature in the app. If you use it then you can move your car out of a tight space. All this is done through a mobile app. 


It is just 2022, imagine how much more you will be able to do by 2030 or maybe 2035. IoT has not only offered benefits but opened the doors to new possibilities for all.


Also Read | IoT in Interior Design


Benefits of IoT in Tesla


IoT has been very well used by Tesla Motors in their cars. We know that for IoT we need “a thing” and here a car is that thing. With the help of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning Tesla has been successful in analyzing and predicting the behavior of people and cars in multiple scenarios. 


Elon Musk once said that all the cars in Tesla operate via a network. This network is so strong that if one car adapts to something new then all the Tesla cars adapt to such change. 


In 2015 Musk also said that Tesla’s autopilot feature is evolving due to machine learning algorithms


You can imagine how many improvements must be done till now! Since we have already talked about the multiple applications of IoT in Tesla, let us discuss the benefits of IoT in Tesla :


  • Tesla is operated at ⅓ cost because of electrical production and this car has absolutely minimal ecological impact as compared to the other cars. In fact, IoT has made it cost efficient. You get the best models at great prices.


  • Because of IoT we can manage, find and operate the car in any setting as it is so convenient and user-friendly.


  • IoT has enabled network updates and it saves a lot of time and money for the user unlike regular cars.


  • The overall efficiency of the car also increases because of IoT.


  • Due to IoT enabled sensors, the safety of Tesla is much better than regular cars. It updates safety patches itself, signals the driver about the risks and potential reasons of accidents etc.


Also Read | Can Electric Vehicles save the Overall Environment?


In 2014, Tesla owners had received a recall notice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration informing them that a  “charger plug” needed to be fixed as it had been discovered to be the reason for triggering fires. This was when IoT played the savior owing to which Tesla was able to fix around 30,000 of its cars by just a software update. 


Can you see how much damage control was done by just a single software update? All this was possible because of the over-the-air update application of IoT in Tesla. This was just a single incident that showed the importance of IoT in Tesla.


In fact many such bugs and fixes are done via single updates like suspension setting changes etc.



Potential Risks associated with IoT in Tesla


Even though IoT and AI have made huge improvements in every field, there are certain risks associated with it. Talking about Tesla Motors, we are aware how it has perfectly merged “Internet of Things” and “Artificial Intelligence”. 


Yet there are some known and unknown risks that must be kept in mind. There have been many incidents where people have tried to hack Tesla and have succeeded in doing so. One such case was in 2017 where Keen Security Labs were successful in hacking the S Model of Tesla


There were some vulnerabilities in the system that Keen labs used. It had the access of the whole system of Tesla S and they were in full control of the vehicle while it was moving. Obviously Tesla was successful in removing those weak areas within the span of 10 days. 


But the main question that still remains is- In this fast moving tech-savvy generation, how can we protect the connected vehicles against all sorts of remote attacks? No matter how wonderfully IoT based applications fit in the vehicle, if it gets hacked then the whole operational control will be in the hands of someone else.


“The ability to cause public safety risks while you’re hacking a car or power plant or even a medical device is a completely different spectrum from hacking a mobile phone.” 


This above statement was given by the director of IoT security of Entrust Datacard, Ranjeet Khanna. 


It is not only about hacking the cars. There are multiple other IoT related risks in any connected car or automobile including Tesla such as: Personal Data Theft, Vehicle Theft, Manipulation of Systems, Failure to Upgrade with the latest technology etc. 


Every vehicle that works on a connected network will have certain vulnerabilities that hackers will use to either steal your car or your data. Imagine losing control of your vehicles while driving? It sounds unrealistic but with IoT enabled cars like Tesla, this is totally possible. 


Back in early 2016, there was a Nissan Leaf case where security testers showed how easily they got access to a connected car and controlled the system of steering wheels, seats and even the fans. Imagine the helpless situation one would face if their car was controlled by someone else. 


Therefore, IoT has a lot of potential risks and it might take a lot of time to overcome them.


Also Read | AI in Tesla


Tesla is definitely a miracle in the world of cars and IoT. The engineers have successfully transferred human habits in it. How we walk on streets and avoid people, all this is added to Tesla via IoT. 


But the real challenge is also IoT, because it is a heavy concept and there are constant improvements that Tesla Motors have to keep up with.

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