Developer hacks Siri to start car engine

By Lee Kaelin on November 29, 2011, 9:30 AM

Apple's iPhone 4S launch in October saw the beta release of the company's new voice assistant, Siri. Since then developers have been working away releasing all kinds of weird and wonderful hacks for the new voice service. Among the many different uses people seem to have found for Apple's Siri service, the latest addition to its "powers" repertoire stands out -- Siri can now start your car's engine, and even turn it off.

Developer, engineer and self-proclaimed tech enthusiast Brandon Fiquett has found a way of using Siri to execute voice commands controlling his Acura TL. In a blog post on his site, he detailed how it all worked: "I created a new ruby plugin that is used by plamoni's "Siri Proxy", a proxy server for Apple's Siri assistant. This proxy server allows for the creation of custom plugins that can intercept recognized speech and perform virtually any function imaginable (programmable, scriptable)."

"The Siri Proxy plugin I wrote handles interaction with a php script that runs on my web server. The php script, which I developed months ago for personal use, allows me to send commands to my car which has a Viper SmartStartmodule installed," he explained.

So assuming you have a Siri-enabled Apple device, Viper's SmartStart installed in your car, and some patience this should be possible for all. The current commands Siri accepts are "vehicle arm, vehicle disarm, vehicle start, vehicle stop, vehicle pop trunk, and vehicle panic."

It works by sending the voice request from Siri to the Viper server, which is then relayed to the cellular connection in the car. From there it broadcasts an update by RF to the remote control activating the requested function.

Piquett has made the Siri proxy plugin and the SmartStart php script available on Github for those that are curious of how it all works, or want to try it out for themselves.

A couple of weeks ago hackers reverse-engineered the Siri voice assistant making it work on almost any device with a valid Apple unique identifier, which is required in order to identify the device on Apple's dedicated Siri servers.

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