Touch-screen infotainment systems are ever-changing, and Tesla is seemingly developing a new concept.
Tesla has been a massive innovator when it comes to large and responsive touch screens, even though the automaker still doesn't offer the latest in smartphone app integration, like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Nonetheless, in a continued effort to up its game, Tesla may be delving into a new update that allows four apps to be arranged and managed on the large screen at one time. Of course, if initiated, this will impact the Tesla Model 3, Model S, Model X, and all future offerings since Tesla over-the-air software updates cover all vehicles unless otherwise specified.
Car makers are constantly updating their user interfaces with up-to-date technology that are geared to appeal to the masses. At one time, screens were a new thing and cars without many buttons or knobs were considered difficult to deal with. Now, with the growing wave of screens that dominate many peoples' existence, our vehicles can function as a third, fourth, or even fifth screen in our lives and are becoming much more of a huge deal.
A newly discovered patent (originally found by our good friends at Teslarati) may be the best yet in terms of being able to deal with several apps at once and allow for considerable user customization. This comes on the heels of the new Tesla Version 9 software update, which owners complained about since it didn't offer the previous split screen option. Tesla appears to have since listened and alleviate those concerns, and now, the electric automaker may have taken further notice of owner comments and will push the interface to a whole new level.
This new patent was published on November 1, 2018, so right around the time some Tesla owners were starting to receive and report on the latest Version 9 software update. We don't know for sure if Tesla already had plans for this new UI concept or if owner feedback played a part. What we do know is that owner opinions play a substantial role in what Tesla chooses to do, which is much unlike that of many OEMs.
As Teslarati reports, the patent application is called “Vehicular Interface System for Launching an Application." The language states, via Teslarati:
Within (the) taskbar are icons representative of the applications that provide the user with shortcut access to each of the designated applications, for example, applications that control various vehicle subsystems. In one embodiment the application shortcuts located within the taskbar are configured by a third party (e.g., the system or vehicle manufacturer) while in another embodiment the application shortcuts located within the taskbar are configured by the end user.
In the illustrated GUI a portion of the screen is used for persistent controls that remain on the display screen regardless of the applications being displayed on the screen. These persistent controls may be selected based on the need for frequent access (e.g., temperature controllers, seat warmers, climate controller, and audio volume controller, etc.) or for safety (e.g., front defroster controller, rear defroster controller, etc.). In the exemplary screen, a “settings” button is also shown, which provides the user with instant access to the various vehicle settings (e.g., lights, sunroof control, etc.). The persistent controls may be configured by the user, the system/vehicle manufacturer, or by a third party.
It will be very interesting to see what adaptations Tesla initiates on its own and as a result of user suggestions. We know full well that myriad Tesla owners are begging to see the automaker finally accept the latest smartphone app integration (Apple CarPlay, Android, Auto, MirroLink, etc.). While Tesla likes to do its own thing with proprietary applications, it also has a track record of listening to owners. We shall wait and see what the future holds.