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Netflix and YouTube on Self-Driving Cars – Is This a Safe Idea?

Tesla’s self-driving cars have been in the market for approximately ten years. Although there have been many upgrades and iterations of its models to increase safety, the vehicle still comes under heavy scrutiny very often.

But a recent conversation with Elon Musk, Tesla’s current CEO of Product Architect, during the 2019 E3 conference in California may have introduced another point of contention regarding the vehicle’s innovation as it relates to safety.

Netflix and Youtube Coming to Tesla

The Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) is a video game and electronic technology conference held every year in June. Tesla creator, Elon Musk was in attendance to take part in a panel discussion with other video game industry leaders such as Todd Howard, and Geoff Keighley.

Musk mentioned that he “wouldn’t have started programming if it wasn’t for video games”. And that “video games are an important tool for getting kids interested in programming.”

After briefly talking about the ongoing challenges to developing a self-driving vehicle, he then says he wants to “enable people to watch videos, Netflix whatever, YouTube, when the car is parked.” Although the ability to play some video games on the Tesla’s screen has already been implemented, streaming videos may usher in a different concern.

Further Enabling Distracted Drivers

Safety is the greatest concern in regard to vehicle innovation and the addition of special features. Whenever any new feature unrelated to driving is added to a vehicle you have to ask yourself “how will this influence vehicle/driving safety?”

Along with video games, Netflix and Youtube streaming capability will only work when the Tesla is in ‘park’. This makes sense when playing video games because although self-driving is “hands-free”, it’s important that your hands remain idle in order to take control of the wheel when necessary.

However, watching videos does not require the use of your hands. Couple this multitasking ability with the rising knowledge of computer hacking and the result could be damaging. Everything can be hacked these days. Cell phones, bank accounts, credit card accounts, and computers are more and more susceptible each day.

It’s only a matter of time before some are concerned that owners will begin hacking their Tesla computers to allow streaming while the car is in motion. There is already a growing epidemic of drivers that watch videos and text while driving. Enabling other ways to further distract drivers certainly will not alleviate the issue.

Just Something to Think About

Of course, this scenario is venturing into “worst case” territory. And if all innovation was stifled because of potential threats, nothing would ever move forward. But adding features to vehicles that aren’t necessary for driving could set a president for negligence.

This is more than likely a “devil’s advocate” approach to streaming and driving technology but it can be helpful to consider as the car manufacturing industry moves forward. It’s still very exhilarating to discuss such thought-provoking issues regardless of how crazy some may respond.

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