Tesla has recently announced plans to include YouTube and Netflix streaming services in their vehicles. Cars are no longer an interest reserved solely for petrol heads. They’re now the staple of techies the world over.
Automakers have long been lauded for introducing various features to their vehicles, since the first cars in the 19th century to the driverless vehicles we see more and more of today.
The radio, cigarette lighter, CD player, on-board diagnostics and airbags were all ground-breaking innovations in the personal automobile, no matter how commonplace they seem today. Each one making the life of the user a little more convenient and much safer.
With each new feature and each new innovation, the motor vehicle has gone from simply transporting people and things to the stuff of sci-fi; packed with interesting, down-right weird or useful features.
One automaker not short of attention for their cutting-edge features is Tesla.
Autonomous vehicles push the boundaries of innovation
Headed by Elon Musk, the mercurial entrepreneur behind SpaceX, the Boring Company and now Neuralink, Tesla has become synonymous with autonomous vehicles. Like Hoover is a catch-all term for vacuum cleaners, Tesla is the first name that comes to mind when thinking about driverless cars.
Recently, Elon Musk announced plans for Tesla’s integration of two of the web’s most visited sites for streaming videos; Netflix and YouTube.
In a tweet, Musk said: “Ability to stream YouTube & Netflix when car is stopped coming to your Tesla soon!” He went on to describe the “amazingly immersive, cinematic feel,” owing to the surround sound audio and comfortable seating.
To allay many commenters’ fears, Musk followed up with another tweet: “When full self-driving is approved by regulators, we will enable video while moving.”
It is believed that the feature will be rolled out in August, packaged with Tesla’s V10 software, which will include more “games & infotainment features, improved highway Autopilot, better traffic light & stop sign recognition & Smart Summon.”
This feature, however hotly anticipated it is, pales in significance to some of Tesla’s most ingenious additions over the years, without even mentioning the pioneering developments they’ve made with Autopilot.
Ludicrous+ mode, a tongue in cheek nod to the 1987 film Space Balls, allows users to supercharge their Tesla. Drivers can select the Ludicrous+ acceleration setting to go from 0-60mph in under 2.4 seconds. Upon choosing Ludicrous+ the car asks the driver if they’re sure they want to “push the limits.” You can then either chose between “No, I want my Mommy” or “Yes, bring it on!”
The addition of a web browser was received well by many owners but failed to impress for its slowness and failure to render websites. It seems out of place in a Tesla, many noted, as it doesn’t work that well. However, the introduction was bold and Tesla are now working on improving the browser experience by integrating Google Chromium, signalling a more well-rounded smart vehicle experience.
Imagine heading into the supermarket, then, hours later when you emerge, the heavens open and your arms are loaded with shopping bags.
Over-the-air updates were a masterstroke from the American automaker. In 2018, a report found that the braking distance on the Model 3 was underperforming, so Elon Musk took that on board and sent an OTA update just days later which improved the braking distance by 19 feet.
The ability to fix bugs remotely and almost immediately, no matter how serious they might be, will continuously improve the safety and user experience.
Summon is perhaps the most interesting of Tesla’s features. A tech fantasy for many, an invisible button on the key allows the driver to call the vehicle to them from a tight parking space, their driveway or to a more convenient location. Imagine heading into the supermarket, then, hours later when you emerge, the heavens open and your arms are loaded with shopping bags. Open the app, or use the key, and summon the vehicle to you.
Tesla’s popularity is evidence of their innovation
Few car manufacturers have managed to garner a fanbase quite like Tesla, and their forward-thinking, trail-blazing features and innovations have captured the attention of the wider population.
The continuous additions which Tesla beam over-the-air to their vehicles never cease to amaze and delight, and this latest addition of Netflix and YouTube continues in the same vein by giving their users a more connected and smarter service.