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Who Needs Keys When Siri Has Been Hacked to Start Cars?

Last week we showed you how a developer had hacked Siri to operate his internet-connected thermostat. But that's not cool. Starting your car using Siri, now that's cool.

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Actually, that's a bit unfair. Because the thermostat hack by @plamoni last week was more a proof of concept than anything else: it demonstrated the power of using Siri to communicate with a proxy server, which could then be used to control any number of internet-connected devices.

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It was only a matter of time before other people started trying to control devices more exciting than a thermostat. And here's the first. Developer Brandon Fiquett has managed to use a similar trick to enable Siri to communicate with his car and remotely start its engine. Fortunately, this hack doesn't look like a hoax.

When Fiquett asks Siri to start his car, his iPhone sends a message to a proxy server hosted on his own website. From there, the server sends a message to his Acura, which is fitted with a cellular-connected Viper Smart Start system. Bingo: the engine turns over, and Fiquett looks like the mac daddy.

As well as merely starting the car, he can pop the trunk, lock and unlock it, and — perhaps most importantly if he's just showing off — stop the engine, too.

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Now, it's worth pointing out that this hack is hardly child's play, and required coding up using Ruby and PHP. But then, nor is it insanely complex, as a lot of the time and effort had already been put in by Viper, whose Smart Start system already allows smart phone control of ignition systems. There's no denying that voice commands make it way cooler, though.

We can expect to see more and more of these hacks in the coming months, and as they become more common they'll no doubt become easier to use. Here's hoping. [fiquett.com via The Verge]

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DISCUSSION

IceMetalPunk
IceMetalPunk

I have a problem with these custom Siri proxy hacks. The main selling point of Siri is its NLP (Natural Language Processing). It seems like these hacks process the commands on the proxy's end, and as such don't have any NLP at all. They're just command-based. And preset voice commands have been around for ages and are nothing special.

If they could hack it somehow to send custom commands to the cloud for NLP, and get the "meaning" back, then I'll be impressed. Until then, it's just basic macros.