Watch Amazon’s Echo Pull a Tesla Model S Out of the Garage With a Voice Command

May 1, 2016, 6:44 PM UTC
Tesla Model S sedan garage
The Tesla Model S sedan.
Courtesy of Tesla Motors

A Tesla Model S owner named Jason Goecke has put together a demo giving us a small taste of the future. Using his Amazon Echo, he can ask his Tesla Model S to open the garage door and autonomously pull out of his garage. Here’s the quick video:

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Goecke explains in a post at Teslarati that he did it using a series of cloud applications and command toolkits, or APIs. Amazon’s Alexa Skills Kit let him program a keyword for accessing the Tesla—of course he chose KITT. The Echo command goes through Amazon (AMZN) Web Services to access an unofficial Tesla (TSLA) API that Goecke put together and recently published. Finally, of course, all of it relies on the Model S’s autopilot system.

In his description of the project, Goecke nudges Tesla to publish its own public API for these kinds of projects—but even such a risk-hungry company might balk at setting that kind of power loose in the world. So for now, tricks like this remain in the hands of elite coders like Goecke, whose day job is as general manager at the cloud-based communications platform Tropo, which is owned by Cisco (CSCO).

For more on Tesla’s autopilot, watch our video:

While convenient, pulling a car out of a garage remotely isn’t in itself world-changing. But it’s a great example of that old adage about a journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step: Elon Musk has repeatedly said Tesla users will someday be able to summon their cars from across the country, and those cars will have to get themselves outside first.