We at Y Media Labs love Teslas.
We don’t just think Teslas are good for the environment, or that they’re the future of transportation. We also think Tesla cars are redefining drivers’ holistic user experience, comfort, safety and habits.
Tesla’s motto is “not to let the perfect be the enemy of the better.” That may be the case with the company’s new venture into the autonomous car market, but when it comes down to the user experience inside the car, we think we can aim for perfection . . . or at least simplicity.
Or maybe both!
Many developers struggle with finding the perfect balance between simplicity and functionality. In general, most struggle to achieve this noble goal and end up sacrificing one for the other, for good reason! Allowing users to complete a wide variety of tasks while keeping the overall experience simple and intuitive is no small feat.
With Kontrol for Tesla, we really wanted to achieve both – and we are confident that we did.
The Innovation Labs program at YML is responsible for identifying new and exciting ways to leverage existing technologies to make people’s lives better, easier and, yes, more fun! Every month we turn our attention toward inventing or improving a mobile user experience, and releasing the resulting apps for free. This month’s subject is Tesla.
Kontrol for Tesla: New app, endless opportunities
Our creative and development teams joined forces to build and launch Kontrol for Tesla, a new mobile application available today in the iOS App Store that Tesla owners all over the world can use to make their driving experience easier, better, more convenient and more efficient.
Kontrol for Tesla delivers all the features already available in the current Tesla app, plus a few more.
And because we’re such huge fans of Tesla, the app is completely FREE of charge for all those Tesla lovers out there to use!
A mobile experience to match the grace of the vehicle
We wanted to design an app that the Tesla community would love. Tesla is an amazing brand with cutting-edge products, so it wasn’t difficult to find a creative direction in line with what the company offers to their customers.
The design was inspired by simply sitting in a Model S and feeling that the app should represent the vehicle it is controlling: it should be sleek, intuitive, and follow clean lines.
We also wanted to give the app a new, modern and uplifting makeover, which is why the app interface looks like this:
When iterating on the UI, we selected a dark color palette. Color was stripped away from the surface to make important information like battery charge levels and temperature controls pop out. The app was designed to be highly functional, yet feel upscale at the same time, just like a Tesla. We wanted to create an app with an easy balance between functionality and modern aesthetics.
What’s new with Kontrol for Tesla: Simple interface, Touch ID car start, smart venting, 3D touch car unlock, honk and battery status
First and foremost, the Kontrol for Tesla app keeps all the current functionalities of the Tesla app it got its inspiration from. If you start using our app, you will not lose access to any of the current benefits of the original version.
Kontrol for Tesla allows you to do all these amazingly cool things that you are already familiar with from Tesla’s own signature app:
- Check charging progress in real time
- Change the temperature in your Tesla before driving
- Locate your car and track its movement
- Flash lights and/or honk to find your car in a parking lot
- Vent or close the panoramic roof
- Lock or unlock car
But why create just a clone of the app? Instead, we wanted to wow you with additional functionalities as well, which is why Kontrol for Tesla gives you access to these new and exciting features only available on our application:
- Start your car with Touch ID – you won’t need to type in your password every time.
- Smart Climate - remotely heat up your car to your desired temperature before you even leave the house.
- Unlock, Honk and Check Battery Status with 3D touch or through the widget. No need to ever log into the app.
- Smart vent the car when it gets too hot! We’ll detect the temperature differentials between the internal cabin and the external environment to adjust the sunroof for you (this feature will only be enabled for Tesla models that have a sunroof).
Kontrol for Tesla: Our process for handing best-in-class mobile app security protocols
We take privacy and security very seriously, and we understand that the data we are handling is very sensitive and NOT owned by Y Media Labs.
So here’s what we did to ensure that our beautiful application is completely in line with the best mobile app security practices, giving customers complete peace of mind while using our product:
Our app does not store the user’s credentials (username and password). Instead, this information is stored on Apple’s iOS Secure Keychain. Data stored in the iOS keychain cannot be accessed by other applications installed on the phone.
Additionally, we never use user credentials while communicating with Kontrol for Tesla’s server, unless we are communicating directly with Tesla’s API Server. Even when the app is running, we do not save / store the user credentials. Lastly, the app uses Touch ID authentication before accessing our users’ credentials from iOS’S Secure Keychain.
HTTPS and Apple Transport Security (ATS)
From iOS 9.0 onwards, Apple requires apps to use a technology called Apple Transport Security, which enforces all the client-server communication to be made securely through HTTPS protocols. Our app adheres to this practice.
Anytime our application communicates directly with Tesla’s API Server, the server will provide a certificate to the app. To evaluate the legitimacy of the communication we adhere to the following steps:
- The app first evaluates the certificate provided by the Tesla server to check if the certificate is signed by a Certificate Authority (CA).
- We check that the certificate provided by the server contains the Tesla API domain in the response.
- Finally, if these two steps are validated, we match the certificate provided by the server and the certificate shared with our app.
- If the user's device is jailbroken, we prevent the user from using the app while clearing their credentials, session token and local preferences.
The Road Ahead
More awesome features coming your way on Kontrol for Tesla
Did we mention we love Tesla???
We mean it.
We love it so much that we will not stop with the first iteration of our application. In fact, we are already thinking about another helpful feature that we want to build for this app:
- Tracking personal versus business miles while driving your Tesla
We fully understand that many drivers use their car for both personal and business reasons. For now, there are no integrated features allowing Tesla drivers to easily track miles that are used for business purposes. Through this feature we will remove the hassle of noting down the personal and the business miles. Instead, the app will do it for you.
We are confident that Tesla is the future of driving in the US and abroad, and we are happy to contribute in any way we can to these exciting developments in personal transportation.
Download the Kontrol for Tesla app today to enjoy the free benefits of our apps. You’ve earned it by investing in the automotive innovation of the future.