Tesla is rolling out entertainment features for its vehicles — while Wall Street questions the automaker’s profitability and critics continue to voice concerns surrounding its lofty self-driving goals.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted over the weekend that the company’s line of electric cars would “soon” include streamed entertainment from services including Netflix and YouTube while the car is parked. The services would be enabled for use while the car is in motion, he added, once self-driving capabilities are approved by regulators — which Musk says will be by the second quarter of 2020.
Streaming services would join a growing list of entertainment options built into Tesla’s in-car screens. Tesla introduced the Arcade app to drivers in June as a way to pass time while the electric vehicles charge.
At the video game conference E3 in June, Musk demoed a number of video games that would soon be available on the Arcade app, including the racing game “Beach Buggy Racing 2,” which uses the car’s steering wheel as a controller. During the conversation, the entrepreneur laughed off the possibility of someone accidentally accelerating while playing the game with the car’s actual brake and gas pedals.
- Consumer groups aren’t laughing though. Last Thursday, Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Auto Safety called upon the FTC to investigate the safety of Tesla’s autonomous driver assist feature Autopilot following the deaths of four U.S. drivers and one pedestrian.
- “Tesla has consistently and deceptively hyped its technology,” said Adam Scow, senior advocate for Consumer Watchdog. “It is time for regulators to step in and protect the public. Tesla has irresponsibly marketed its technology as safety enhancing, when instead it is killing people.”
- Ironically, the first of these deaths resulted while a driver watched a Harry Potter movie on his Tesla’s in-car screen while using the Autopilot feature, the exact feature Musk envisions in the new update.
- Meanwhile, following Tesla’s second quarter earnings report, Morgan Stanley maintained its price target of $230, below the $260.91 yearly consensus target price of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg Data.
- Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas wrote that Tesla’s “demand outlook continues to be bounded by uncertainty and opportunity.”
- Karma Take: The addition of entertainment features to the Tesla further complicates the conversation surrounding the safety of self-driving technologies, adding to the concerns of watchdog groups.