Tesla Patents New 4-Way Split Screen

Tesla User Interface


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.

Source: Teslarati

Categories: Tesla

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16 Comments on "Tesla Patents New 4-Way Split Screen"

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Do Not Read Between The Lines

So basic, it’s probably just a defensive patent.

Can you even patent something as simple as that?

Good question. People should also ask why patents are being allowed in some cases. I was in attendance of a keynote speech by a patent expert for a large financial institution a few years ago. He was adamant that the US patent war is out of control and could seriously damage productivity in the US (too many patents + patents do not give you the right to build/sell anything, just stop others = overlap in scope that can stall production while the courts try to resolve the dispute).
I couldn’t locate a link to his paper, but this link has the same basic theme:

Economists have *always* questioned the usefulness of patents. It’s basically a system put in place by lawyers in order to ensure they get a lot of business…

There is no limit to how simple a thing is, as long as it’s innovative. This patent is not. Both split screen and permanent tool/icon bars exist today (and did 2 decades ago).

Then how did ford patent the letter E?

Do Not Read Between The Lines

That’s not a patent.
It’s a trademark.

Probably not globally..
In my van I have an Android aftermarket 2DIN stereo, with all the Android featurs you have in a phone.
I have connected it to a 37″ display in the back for the passengers/kids and a 21″ touch display in front. I can split that (one of the screens) into 4, where I can see the front camera, the rear camera, a movie and for example Google maps or Spotify.
It is for sale for just a few hundred dollars. I bought a used 37″ display, the touch display was a demo unit, and the Android player new, from lightinthebox , and all for about 300 dollars including the 2 cameras.

Unfortunately, yes. Such patents can be challenged in court — usually successfully — but it takes time and money. Therefore, having a large portfolio of trivial software patents is generally sufficient to extort license payments from newer competitors — or to act as a countermeasure protecting against such extortion from more established competitors. (Presumably the latter in case of Tesla…)

I would love for Tesla to fix the Web browsing issue first. It’s virtually useless at this time. I’ve had it for about 3 weeks now, and rarely can I have it working. If it works at all, it’s so slow it’s not even worth it (even when the LTE signal meter shows full strength).

Same issue in my M3

Don’t like software patent, but this sounds like a put-together-few-window-managers-and-patent-it silliness.
Won’t fly in the court and it should not.
Seriously though, do we want to have split screen functionality monopolized by a single entity? What next? Dedicated power button?

with how dumb the courts are you never know… you can patent a rectangle with rounded edges

Such patents rarely stand in court when challenged. But they usually don’t need to…

The US patent system is out of control. How can something like this be patented just because its in an auto when its been around since xerox park and Apple ?

Exactly. The only difference between app windows and split screen is that the split screen merely butts the windows up against each other instead of overlapping.