For obvious safety reasons, most jurisdictions across the US and the world prohibit someone from driving a car if a “video monitor” is clearly visible from the driver’s seat. Hence why even though Tesla’s 17-in center display could certainly be capable of playing videos, the automaker disabled any video playing capabilities other than the video feed from the rear camera.
It didn’t stop a hacker who recently managed to install Gentoo, a Linux-based operating system, in her car and can now play videos directly from her Model S’ 17-in display.
I am using ‘her’ here because the hacker is staying anonymous but goes by ‘Hemera’, the Greek goddess of daytime.
Earlier this month, Hemera started a blog to share her effort to hack the Model S. Just a few weeks ago, she explained in a post how she gained a root access to the center touchscreen and this week she published a video to prove that she installed Gentoo.
Hemera explains in a blog post:
“Some details, this is running a Gentoo arm system, cross-compiled using a qemu-user chroot environment. Yes, that’s right, Gentoo, running on a Tesla. All those USE flags, CFLAGS, and optimizations are going to add speed to my car. My 5 second 0-60 will be faster than your 5 second 0-60!”
The anonymous hacker enlisted Arnold’s help to demonstrate her Model S’ new OS:
It makes for a very interesting media center. Since it’s illegal and potentially dangerous, we wouldn’t recommend using it while driving ( Yes, even with the Autopilot), but it makes for a fun feature to have when parked.
Our new favorite hacker shared her first impressions:
“The car would make an amazing media center. Holy crap it sounds amazing! The video player I’m using here is SMplayer. The performance was far better than I thought it would be, even with the wonky EGL and codec situation I’m currently in.”
You can follow Hemera on Twitter for more updates on her Model S hacking.