Tesla has just revealed that it plans to take a big swing at conventional in-car entertainment systems. On the company’s most recent earnings call, billionaire founder Elon Musk told reporters that his goal is to create an infotainment system that “provides the most amount of fun you can have in a car,” reports CNBC.

Just two months ago, Tesla released an infotainment system update called Software Version 10.0, which introduced a number of software optimisation and improvements, as well as a more streamlined Application Launcher. There is also Tesla Entertainment which includes Spotify and ‘Caraoke’ mode, as well as stream TV shows and videos via Tesla Theater. One can also play cupped with a USB controller.

In fact, owners of the Model 3, Model X and Model S can now connect their Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube accounts to the centre console, although as a safety measure, these streaming apps can only be used when the car is parked.

During the earnings call, Musk threw a shade at other car companies, saying “the goal for the infotainment system is to say what’s the most amount of fun you can have in a car. I don’t think other car companies really think about it that way. It’s not just some sort of transport utility device with no soul and no character.”

When Ford launched the Mustang Mach-E, Musk congratulated the Blue Oval for its efforts in making sustainable, zero-emissions cars. That aside, the Mach-E gets a massive 15.5-inch portrait-style SYNC 4 touchscreen display with cloud-based connectivity and voice control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as over-the-air software updates that enable future introduction of applications.

Ford’s chief engineer – Gary Jablonski – who worked on the system said “SYNC 4 is really a cellphone on wheels now. Connectivity technologies in vehicles are an important part of the purchase decision, for some customers even more important than the horsepower or fuel economy.”


The 15.5-inch SYNC 4 infotainment system in the Mustang Mach-E

With the industry moving towards self-driving cars, more emphasis is being put on the development of in-car entertainment systems. General Motors recently said it will include an advanced Google Android system and in-car Google Assistant, citing strong consumer demand as the driving force behind the decision. Car owners want the car’s infotainment system to match the phone they hold in their hands. GM will also introduce Amazon’s Alexa into its cars soon.

“As self-driving cars come closer to reality, the inside of an automobile is going to be much more of an entertainment opportunity,” Musk explained. Currently, Tesla develops its own in-car entertainment systems, while other automakers employ third-party platforms. This allows Tesla to have more control over its cars as a platform for other services, such as Netflix.

Edmunds’ content strategist, Will Kaufman, said “if you can make your vehicle a platform for other services and for other companies, there’s a lot of money for you.” In other words, car manufacturers may be able to monetise their in-car entertainment systems in the future. Any tech heads would know the shortcomings of this, but that’s a rabbit hole worth visiting another day. So, what do you think of this?