Kia, Hyundai and Tesla drive in-car smart home control forwards with SmartThings tie-in

Kia SmartThings
(Image credit: Kia)

Users of Samsung's SmartThings platform will soon be able to control more IoT connected devices from the car, so long as they own a Kia, Hyundai or Tesla vehicle.

Tesla and Samsung’s recent integration announcement focusses on energy management via its Powerwall and Solar Inverter technology, allowing users to receive notifications surrounding home power management on a Samsung TV, tablet or smartphone. 

A 'Storm Watch' feature will warn of any incoming extreme weather patterns on selected devices, so users can prepare for power outages, while general information on the amount of power being produced by Tesla products can be viewed in the SmartThings app and on any device running it.

The service is being shown at this year's CES 2024, with a blog post from Samsung suggesting that a customer-facing version is "targeted to launch" in the second quarter of 2024.

Similarly, Kia and Hyundai have both also announced a SmartThings deal that will allow owners of any connected Samsung device to check on a status or operate it from the vehicle's infotainment system, thanks to a dedicated in-car app.

Hyundai Motor and Kia say owners will be soon be able to remotely control digital appliances via touch and voice commands. Conversely, it also allows for remote vehicle control via AI speakers, TVs and smartphone apps, making it easier to ask a smart speaker for the status of EV charge or remotely heat the cabin, for example.

The South Korean automaker gives examples of setting routines for hot summer days, where air conditioning is turned on at a certain time or when the vehicle reaches a certain geolocation. Also, an 'Away Mode' could turn off all house lights and fire up the robotic vacuum cleaner. 

However, the service appears to still be in an early developmental stage, as Kia and Hyundai state that the pair will develop "stable service-providing infotainment systems" and subsequently provide these features through "over-the-air (OTA) and USB-based updates even for existing vehicles".

Smart cars for smart homes

Tesla Samsung SmartThings

(Image credit: Samsung)

Although this is the first time technology giant Samsung has announced partnerships with those automotive brands, controlling the smart home from the car isn’t a completely new idea. BMW drivers can control Bosch Smart Home devices via the German marque's in-car operating system, for example.

Apple's HomeKit can also be accessed via pretty much anything running Apple CarPlay, with drivers able to ask Siri a number of queries, such as "turn off the lights" or "open the garage door", without needing to physically interact with the infotainment system. It’s a similar story on Android Auto, too.

"This collaboration will enable communication from Home-to-Car and integrated home energy management services that are optimized for future lifestyles," said Chanwoo Park, Executive Vice President at Samsung Electronics. 

"By connecting the SmartThings platform with vehicles, we’ll be able to significantly enhance the customer experience in both the home and the car."

Further proof, if it were needed, that we are rapidly entering the era of Software-Defined Vehicles, where more of your digital life will be incorporated into future cars. Let's just hope OEMs don't charge us an arm and a leg for the privilege. 

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Leon Poultney

Leon has been navigating a world where automotive and tech collide for almost 20 years, reporting on everything from in-car entertainment to robotised manufacturing plants. Currently, EVs are the focus of his attentions, but give it a few years and it will be electric vertical take-off and landing craft. Outside of work hours, he can be found tinkering with distinctly analogue motorcycles, because electric motors are no replacement for an old Honda inline four.