Tesla hacker retrofits classic P85 with fully-functional autopilot module


There are people like white hat Tesla hacker Jason Hughes who like to take challenges and then come out winners. Jason Hughes aka wk057 renowned for tinkering with Tesla cars is back with one of his most impressive projects where he has retrofitted a classic Model P85 (VIN P28xxx) with autopilot sensor and parts to actually make the old version work most effectively. The transformed P85 is Hughes says is a proof-of-concept and a souvenir for his wife who wanted a Tesla that would automatically steer down the highway without having to trade off her prized P85 for a new model.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk first introduced autopilot to the world in 2014. Tesla announced back then that every car manufactured hence would feature autopilot hardware module comprising a forward-looking camera, 360° ultrasonic sensors, digitally controlled brakes and radar. Tesla owners before the update have repeatedly wanted the company to retrofit their cars with autopilot, but Tesla has turned down all retrofit options claiming that it’s more economical to trade off the old Tesla for an updated Model S featuring autopilot suite.

When Hughes realized Tesla is not going to be of help, the hacker discretely planned at ‘retrofitting all it takes to make his wife’s 2014 P85 autopilot capable.’ Initially when he broke the idea, many people termed him crazy, saying it would be too costly for the efforts required, or may not even be possible. Hughes accepted the challenge and got down to retrofit the car in his garage.


Using parts purchased from Tesla and some salvaged through other sources, Hughes at the cost of $9,000 and 50 hours of labor (spread over a week) was able to turn an ordinary Tesla into one with effective autopilot module.

According to Hughes’ blog skie.net, he

Replaced the steering control stalks, steering wheel buttons, instrument cluster, brake booster, ABS/ESP (traction control module),all  four wheel speed sensors, windshield, rear view mirror, parking sensor ECU, all of the parking sensors and parking sensor wiring, the entire rear bumper cover, and thermal controller module. Added front radar and all related mounting including the forward camera assembly.


I also modified the front bumper cover and wheel arch liners to accommodate the new ultrasonic sensors.


Hughes understands his project will likely impact the P85’s warranty, but takes heart from the fact that the major components – motor and battery are unchanged, which probably keeps their warranty intact (there’s no word on how Tesla would react to this DIY autopilot model or to its parts and warranty).

If you want to learn more no how Hughes has executed the project, you can visit his blog where he has detailed the entire process step-by-step.

Check out video of the newly tinkered Tesla P85 with autopilot self-parking itself.

Via: Teslarati



Bharat writes about latest gadgets, toys, robots and new technologies across various platforms. In addition to reporting and reviewing new products and technologies, he spends too much time digging the internet for endless questions. He's a die-hard football fan and a big foodie who wants to host Man v. Food some day.

Related Stories...