Tesla hacker finds hints at 5G connection and hotspot in software

Tesla hacker “green” has found some indications in Tesla’s latest software update that points to the automaker including a 5G modem and hotspot capability in its vehicles.

Connectivity has been a flagship feature of Tesla’s offering in the auto industry.

It not only enables several fun and useful features for customers, but Tesla has also been using the connectivity to collect data from the fleet and improve features — mainly Autopilot.

When releasing an Autopilot update in 2017, Tesla asked owners for the authorization to collect videos from the Autopilot cameras.

After that, Tesla opened the floodgates of Autopilot data gathering, and the automaker gain recently made use of data collection as part of its Full Self-Driving Beta program.

Now we are getting indications that Tesla might be updating the connectivity capacity inside its vehicles, based on new info found by “green” in the latest 2020.44 software update.

Green, who has a great track record with finding unreleased features by snooping in Tesla’s software updates, released his findings on Twitter:

Here’s what Cypress has to say about its CYW89359 system for the automotive industry:

The new Cypress CYW89359 combo solution is the industry’s first to implement Real Simultaneous Dual Band (RSDB) technology, which enables two unique data streams to run at full throughput simultaneously, by integrating two complete Wi-Fi subsystems into a single chip. The solution’s advanced 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth coexistence engine delivers optimal performance for 2.4- and 5-GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi and dual-mode Bluetooth/Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) simultaneously.

The company unveiled the chip in 2018:

Green also found hints at a possible hotspot capability coming to Tesla vehicles:

And then there’s additional bandwidth usage monitoring added and a curious mothership option to ask cars to ‘collect hotspot info’ – hotspot might really appear in foreseeable future?

That has been something that has been rumored for years, but it has yet to be confirmed.

For the longest time, all of Tesla’s vehicles came with internet connectivity included (first 3G and later 4G LTE) — something that is often a premium option in the industry.

The automaker made extensive use of that connectivity in many of its features — including driver assist features to help develop its Autopilot system.

In 2018, Tesla indicated that it would be introducing different tiers of connectivity with the more data-heavy features moving to paid subscription service.

Electrek’s Take

Connectivity inside vehicles is only going to get increasingly more important, and Tesla knows that.

With self-driving, time spent inside vehicles is going to change, and people are likely going to have to want to use more features that require bandwidth.

Tesla is already getting ready for it with “Tesla Theather” allowing people to watch moving inside the vehicles but only when parked.

It’s easy to imagine Tesla enabling the feature to work when the car is driving under its “Full Self-Driving” system in the future when approved by regulators.

At that point, there might be demand for better connectivity inside Tesla vehicles, but it is likely going to come at a premium.

Hotspot capability could also be useful to share the connection with other devices inside the vehicle like laptops.

However, some predict a future where the other way around happens, and people use their phones to create a hotspot and give the vehicle connectivity.

That way, users only have to pay for one data plan.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading Electrek— experts who break news about Tesla, electric vehicles, and green energy, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow Electrek on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our YouTube channel for the latest reviews.



Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

Fred is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Electrek.

You can send tips on Twitter (DMs open) or via email: fred@9to5mac.com

Through Zalkon.com, you can check out Fred’s portfolio and get monthly green stock investment ideas.