It is no secret that Elon Musk sees a future where self-driving Tesla cars will act as an autonomous taxi network while their owners sleep, work or go on holiday. But before full autonomy arrives to make this a reality, Musk is already working to remove the concept of car ownership.
Like other cars, Teslas can be configured with profiles depending on who is driving. Login via the touch screen and the seat, mirrors and steering wheel move to your pre-determined position. But now Musk wants to save these profiles online, on Tesla’s servers.
This means, the chief executive said in a tweet, that “any Tesla you drive in the world automatically adjusts to you.”
Musk also suggested in a later tweet how a system could adjust a Tesla’s seats based on who is stood nearest the driver’s door. Pull the handle and the seat automatically moves as the driver gets in.
Such a feature would likely be controlled by our smartphones, which are already used by Tesla Model 3 owners as the primary means for unlocking their cars. It isn’t difficult to imagine a system where you approach any Tesla in the world and, with prior authority from the owner via an app, get in and have the car set itself up perfectly for you without so much as pressing a button or adjusting a mirror.
Other smaller settings like preferred units (mile or kilometers), steering and suspension modes, and the force of the regenerative braking system could also be stored in the cloud. And, once the Tesla fleet becomes fully autonomous, so too could multimedia services, games, work documents, or anything else you plan to do while a stranger’s Tesla takes you to your destination.
Ultimately, stepping into a Tesla and having it adjust to your exact preferences could be no different to logging into a new smartphone with your Apple or Google account.
For now such a system, previously referred to as Tesla Network, will be convenient for drivers borrowing a courtesy car while theirs in being repaired, or a hire car on holiday. But it isn’t difficult to see how this would also work when car ownership is forgotten and any Tesla you ride in can be made yours in a moment.