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Did This Man Hack His Tesla Model S to Play Pokemon Go?

Bay Area hacker claims he can capture Squirtles from his car's touchscreen.

Unless you’re sitting on a couch staring at Gran Turismo, playing video games from behind the wheel is a terrible idea. Seems obvious, but that did not stop one California man from hacking his Tesla Model S to play Pokemon Go directly through his car’s infotainment system. On the bright side, however, he can’t do it while going very fast; he claims he can only play when the car is in reverse.

Jeff Chiarelli said he used his hacking skills to turn his Model S into a Pokemon-catching machine. Chiarelli hacked his car up so the app would play on the 17-inch touchscreen, and connected the software to the car’s rear-mounted parking camera to enable Pokemon Go‘s augmented reality functions. The Tesla’s GPS was also put to use, enabling the app to place the Tesla on the map in relation to all those Pokemon bouncing around the street.

Chiarelli told PinkJava, the middle-aged women’s lifestyle website where he works, that there are some imperfections to his setup. The app can only be used in reverse, as that is the only way he was able to make use of the car’s rear-mounted camera. Additionally, Chiarelli explained that the touchscreen cuts off some of the app’s display, a problem he has not yet found a fix for.

Fortunately for other motorists, Chiaraelli said that he does not intend on performing the mod for other Tesla owners—but the hacker does claim to have other automotive-themed projects on the horizon. When asked about his future undertakings, the hacker said he wanted to make it so he could use his car’s turn signals to control Tinder. (Now that’s innovation.)

Though questions have arisen as to whether this Pokemon Go Tesla hack is a fraudElectrek explains this kind of hack is theoretically possible using the not-yet-activated Tesla app-mirroring feature. Also, a GIF included in the original post from PinkJava shows the app operating on the Model S’s touchscreen—though it could be Photoshop trickery, a clip of the app running on a smartphone overlaid on the Tesla’s display.

Whether Chiarelli’s claims are true or not, we at The Drive firmly believe Pokemon Go-ing while driving is a bad idea. As we have seen before, it can lead to some of the worst kinds of distracted driving. For example, smashing into a marked police vehicle. Or driving directly into a tree.