With the California mandate that all new cars being sold in-state are zero-emission vehicles by 2035, car brands are going to have to follow the lead of Tesla, the car company that has been making electric cars since 2003, at least in regard to fully electric or hybrid vehicles.
Many car companies, such as Chevrolet, Nissan and BMW, have introduced electric cars alongside their fully gas cars. However, Tesla is known for more than the originality of their electric cars. With one of the most technologically advanced vehicles and unique UX features for the driver to experience, will other car companies follow Tesla’s lead in the UX field as well?
There are two features that truly stand out to me about the 2021 line of Tesla cars — the 17-inch touch screens that control almost everything in the car and the autopilot feature that is continuously being updated.
This 17-inch screen feature can be found in the middle of the 2021 model’s dashboards. This touch screen controls the music, the car’s climate and the navigation system along with functional features such as locking the car doors and opening the sunroof, and more.
This screen is also connected to the internet which allows users to connect their Apple Music, Spotify or any other music streaming service to the car directly. Users are also able to download apps onto the screen and use it for things like watching Netflix, to enhance the driving experience for themselves and their passengers.
One feature that is especially interesting to me is the screen’s ability to show multiple settings at once. For example, you can have your music on display and easily skip a song without having to close and reopen your navigation like you might have to on your phone.
While the idea of being able to control so many features of the car is interesting to me, other internet bloggers also note some of the difficulties this screen causes.
One specific difficulty mentioned was the lack of physical buttons requiring drivers to look away from the road instead of being able to reach out and feel around for the button you need without taking your eyes off the road.
While safety must be the first priority when driving, I would trade adjusting all of my settings and music before starting to drive, or having a passenger do it, for the modern look of the Tesla cabins. And if you really need to make a change while driving, Tesla is working on the technology to have your car drive for you.
Tesla states that all of their new cars have the hardwire to be able to drive on autopilot when the technology becomes available. They are currently testing beta versions of the software that will allow autopilot to happen.
Based on the Youtube videos of people participating in these beta tests, it looks like Tesla still has some improvements to make before people will fully be able to trust their cars to get them from point A to point B.
The drivers often had to take over for the car to prevent accidents or correct the car’s directions. However, this is the purpose of these beta tests and how the technology improves.
Although the autopilot software may be far from perfect, the idea of living in a society where drivers are able to rely on their cars to do this for them and where the technology is accessible enough so every car has it, is so exciting to me.
While car companies will be following Tesla’s quest to produce electric cars, I’m hopeful they will also begin to compete with the innovative technology that is used to improve their drivers’ and passengers’ experience.