External speakers will allow drivers to talk to pedestrians without opening a window, or play pre-recorded clips to passers-by.
January 13, 2020 2 min read
This story originally appeared on PC Mag
Every so often, Elon Musk tweets about a new Tesla feature we never thought we needed, and he's just done it again. Tesla is adding the ability to talk to pedestrians from inside its vehicles without needing to open a window.
Teslas will soon talk to people if you want. This is real. pic.twitter.com/8AJdERX5qa
— Buff Mage (@elonmusk)
As Engadget reports, the new feature relies on the external speakers Tesla is adding to its vehicles to comply with European and US artificial sound regulations. Those sounds are required to allow pedestrians to hear electric vehicles traveling at slow speeds. A speaker can be used for lots of different types of audio, though, so why not voice, too?
As well as acting like an intercom, pre-recorded audio clips will be supported, with Musk stating that includes fart sounds. More seriously, though, the playing of external audio will be added as a feature of Sentry mode, which Musk says should lead to "some epic robber confusion."
Electric cars that can play audio externally is going to become a standard feature because they need to emit a noise as they drive. Unless new rules come in stating that's all they are allowed to be used for, I suspect the intercom feature will become popular across all vehicles. If nothing else, it would certainly improve the experience of visiting a drive-through in the rain.