Elon Musk has confirmed that his company's electric cars will support YouTube on their built-in displays very soon. The Tesla CEO broke the news during a Q&A session on Thursday at the 2019 E3 video game fair in Los Angeles. Although video streaming has always been on the cards for Tesla screens, this it the first time that YouTube has been explicitly mentioned.
Tesla vehicles are equipped with a central screen that shows various Easter eggs and video games for the viewers entertainment. More complex games like Cuphead and Fallout Shelter have now joined the original lineup of Atari classics. By introducing support for video players like YouTube in particular, Tesla is offering something unprecedented in the auto industry.
When will YouTube arrived to your Tesla? Elon Musk previously mentioned on Twitter that video streaming would be arrive with "Version 10" of the Tesla screen’s software. Since the current version is 9, then presumably YouTube will arrive with the next software update expected later this year. Although so far only YouTube has been named, there's no reason why the cars couldn't support other services like Netflix or Hulu.
Naturally, safety concerns come to mind when anyone considers potential distractions to the driver. Even if Musk aims to reach a totally self-driving future, we're not at a stage where the driver should have their eyes off the road yet. At the Q&A Musk took care to stress that that video playback, just like the video games, are only available when the car is in park. This makes the entertainment system a nice way to pass the time while your car is charging at a Supercharger station, for example.
Tesla has been going through a rough financial patch, and by pushing the boundaries of what's offered in terms of in-car infotainment, it's another way to distinguish itself from the competition. Will it be enough? Regardless of how Elon Musk's company fares financially, it will be remembered as an influential innovator.