The potential of the car as an entertainment platform has been thrown into the spotlight by Elon Musk’s Twitter post asserting that Disney+ would be “coming soon” to Tesla Theater, the entertainment software that was launched as part of Tesla’s Version 10.0 over-the-air update in September 2019. Although Tesla Theater’s streaming video options—which already included Netflix, YouTube and Hulu—are currently only available while the vehicle is parked, it’s not difficult to imagine that this will eventually change as the relevant laws are updated to take account of the evolution in vehicle technology towards autonomous driving. Meanwhile several automobile manufacturers already include headrest screens for rear-seat passengers, which can legally be used while the car is moving. Interactive gaming, in-car karaoke, and video streaming are just a sample of the on-demand services currently on offer.
As of the beginning of 2020, Tesla began charging its car owners $9.99 per month for its Premium Connectivity package that includes the streaming video services. This means that these customers will not be happy if their video service starts buffering, wherever on the road network they are trying to watch it. A high quality, uninterrupted connection to LTE-Advanced or 5G will be essential if Tesla is to keep its drivers and passengers satisfied. Whichever mobile network the car connects through, it will be the vehicle brand that will be blamed if its users receive a less-than-perfect connected mobility experience. Seamless connectivity across roads, service areas, and car parking areas will be a prerequisite to maintaining customer loyalty in the connected car market. AI, machine learning and mobility analytics can provide the solution.