Safety nightmare? Tesla vehicles soon to have Zoom video conferencing capability via the vehicle’s touchscreen dashboard
Zoom has announced on Tuesday that Tesla drivers will soon be able to take a video call directly via their vehicle’s touchscreen dashboard.
The prospect of Zoom coming to a Tesla’s built-in infotainment touchscreen has been on the cards for a while now. In May 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a tweet that adding Zoom calls to Tesla vehicles was “definitely a future feature.”
It came after Musk had received a number of tweets that requested Zoom integration.
Essentially, Tesla drivers argued it would give them a private space to take calls and make use of the existing driver-facing camera, present in some Teslas, as well as the large display.
Fast forward to this week and Zoom said in a pre-recorded demo video shown at its conference, showed a Tesla driver taking a Zoom call while recharging her vehicle.
Zoom also at Tuesday’s event showed off other new tools, including the integration of email and calendar services directly into the service, a conversational AI and chatbot that helps troubleshoot issues, and support for developers to monetise their apps on Zoom’s App Marketplace.
There is some reported investor concern that Elon Musk is currently too distracted by his purchase of Twitter to address problems at Tesla, which is contending with growing competition from more traditional car makers.
This week, Musk continued to sell Tesla stock for a total that now nears $4 billion since he acquired Twitter.
The stock sale impacted Tesla’s share price.
Indeed, Tesla shares have lost 46 percent of their value so far this year on disappointing sales caused by supply chain problems.
CNN also pointed out that Musk’s other companies haven’t always had a strong relationship with Zoom.
SpaceX, for example, banned its staff from using Zoom in April 2020 over “significant privacy and security concerns.”
Meanwhile Tesla did not respond to a CNN request for comment about whether it will prevent drivers from using it while driving.
Many car makers insist a car must be parked before video functions can be used by the driver. The exact timing of the launch is also unknown.
Tesla is currently mired in safety probe of its automated driver assistance systems.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched a formal investigation of Tesla’s Autopilot, after a series of high profile fatal crashes, back in August 2021.
Then in June this year, the NHTSA announced it was upgrading its preliminary investigation of the Autopilot driving assistance system, to an “engineering analysis”, which is the step taken before the agency determines a recall.
Last month it was also reported that the US Department of Justice had launched a previously undisclosed criminal probe of Tesla back in 2021.
The DoJ investigation potentially represents a more serious level of scrutiny because of the possibility of criminal charges against the company or individual executives.
As part of the latest probe, Justice Department prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco are examining whether Tesla misled consumers, investors and regulators by making unsupported claims about its driver assistance technology’s capabilities.