Elon Musk says that Tesla cars will “soon” be able to talk to nearby pedestrians. In a tweet announcing the functionality, the CEO shared a short clip of a Model 3 driving past while its speaker plays a clip saying “Well don’t just stand there staring, hop in.” In his Tweet, Musk says, “Teslas will soon talk to people if you want. This is real.”
We already knew that Tesla has begun adding external speakers to its cars in order to comply with new safety regulations that require electric cars to produce artificial noise. Now it seems these speakers could be used for much more. In a follow-up tweet, Musk indicated that the newly-announced functionality could work with the car’s existing sentry mode alarm system which already uses the car’s internal sound system to deter would-be thieves. Alternatively, he said that you could just have your car fart in people’s general direction.
Teslas will soon talk to people if you want. This is real. pic.twitter.com/8AJdERX5qa
— Buff Mage (@elonmusk) January 12, 2020
The specific audio message played in the clip brings to mind Musk’s master plan of eventually having all of Tesla’s cars operate as an autonomous taxi fleet, earning money for their owners when they’re not driving them. In an autonomous state, with no driver to invite passengers into the taxi, the car itself could be left to tell people to “hop in.”
Musk’s tweet says to expect the new functionality “soon,” but you might want to take this promise with a pinch of salt. The CEO previously said that Tesla’s “customized horn and movement sounds” were coming “soon” back in October and they’re still yet to arrive, and we’re still waiting to see a Tesla complete the autonomous Los Angeles to New York journey that was promised back in 2016 (the plans were put on hold in 2018).