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Earlier this month, venture capitalist and Tesla board member Steve Jurvetson took delivery of the first 2012 Tesla Model S to leave the factory. Now, he's sharing his early peek (deliveries officially start tomorrow) of the production version of the electric car's giant touch screen dashboard through a photo on Flickr.

In the picture (click to enlarge), we can see how the screen can be broken into two parts, one for navigation of the internet, the other for real-world navigation (i.e., maps). We see "tabs" for music, phone, energy and camera also available on the top of the screen, and we're confident there are options to adjust all sorts of settings somewhere. We will learn more about this later on. For now, let's hope that, in the real world, this screen works much better than the one in the Fisker Karma does.

Jurvetson writes that the Google map here is so different that, "It's a bit surreal to drive with satellite view zoomed in to the max. You can see the parking lot and nearby environs in a way that is so much more contextually interesting than a desktop big screen." He adds:

Another interesting cloud service is the album art display (here seen to the right of the speedometer, but normally on the big screen for me). No matter what the music source (radio, satellite, internet from overseas or personalized channels, bluetooth from your phone, or as in this case, MP3s on a thumb drive in one of the USB ports), the car sends a music sample for sound recognition and fetches a high-res image of the album art and the song's metadata, so the song process bar and title are part of the display.

We've known since early 2011 that the 17-inch Model S touch screen will use low-power Nivdia Tegra chips. Slash Gear says that a pair Visual Computing Modules (VCM) "bursting with graphics power" drive the two screens in the car. A 12.3-inch screen takes up the more traditional info area behind the steering wheel.
Show full PR text
NVIDIA Powers Digital Dashboard in New Tesla Motors Electric Sedan

Energy-Efficient NVIDIA Tegra Module Powers Groundbreaking Infotainment, Navigation and Digital Instrument Cluster Systems in Tesla Motors Model S

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-June 21, 2012-When the highly anticipated Tesla Motors Model S electric sedan makes its debut Friday, so will the NVIDIA® Tegra® Visual Computing Module (VCM).

Based on the same powerful Tegra processor used in smartphones and tablets, the Tegra VCM will power the vehicle's 17-inch touchscreen infotainment and navigation system – the largest ever in a passenger car – as well as its all-digital instrument cluster.

Tesla Motors is the first company to ship the Tegra VCM, enabling intuitive, interactive, high-resolution visuals inside its vehicles. For drivers, the system provides larger, more readable maps and a beautifully rendered instrument cluster that can be personalized from the multifunction steering wheel.

The Tegra VCM is a complete computing platform that delivers superb 3D graphics and multimedia capabilities as well as exceptional energy efficiency, a critical feature for all types of cars. The module provides automakers a highly cost-effective way to rapidly incorporate into vehicles the advanced technology customers are using in their consumer devices, but with a focus on safer operation by reducing the inherent driver distraction of handheld devices.

"To capture the interest of today's consumer, automakers must innovate well beyond the traditional transportation benefits of a car," said Thilo Koslowski, vice president and automotive practice leader at Gartner. "Automakers have to impress drivers with superior in-vehicle connectivity and interface experiences that leverage the best technology innovations available."
The Tegra VCM features the world's first mobile superchip, which integrates a multicore ARM CPU, an ultra-low-power NVIDIA GeForce® GPU and dedicated audio, video and image processors.

One Tegra VCM will power the Model S infotainment system, which features a 17-inch touchscreen with a customizable and intuitive user interface for music, phone, navigation, connected services and climate control.

A second Tegra module will drive the all-digital instrument cluster, which features a high-resolution, 12.3-inch LCD display and advanced 3D graphics that can be personalized based on each driver's preferences.

"Tesla has created a premium electric vehicle that is raising the bar on value, performance and efficiency while getting people excited about cars again," said J.B. Straubel, chief technology officer at Tesla Motors. "With the power of NVIDIA Tegra, we are able to deliver a visually stunning in-vehicle experience to our customers and put rich content at their fingertips."

"On the outside, Model S is a stunning blend of beauty, high performance and energy efficiency. On the inside, it's one of the most sophisticated consumer electronics devices ever built," said Dan Vivoli, senior vice president at NVIDIA. "Tesla Motors is at the forefront of innovative automakers that are delivering an enhanced driving experience based on NVIDIA's advanced processors."

Since forming its automotive business unit in 2004, NVIDIA has shipped processors in or won future designs in more than 20 brands of vehicles across 100-plus models. More information is available at www.nvidia.com/automotive.

About NVIDIA
NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) awakened the world to computer graphics when it invented the GPU in 1999. Today, its processors power a broad range of products from smartphones to supercomputers. NVIDIA's mobile processors are used in cell phones, tablets and auto infotainment systems. PC gamers rely on GPUs to enjoy spectacularly immersive worlds. Professionals use them to create 3D graphics and visual effects in movies and to design everything from golf clubs to jumbo jets. And researchers utilize GPUs to advance the frontiers of science with high performance computing. The company has more than 5,000 patents issued, allowed or filed, including ones covering ideas essential to modern computing. For more information, see www.nvidia.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 75 Comments
      Doug Danzeisen Sr
      • 3 Years Ago
      Let's talk real world. Put your cell phone down, stop texting and drive the damn car. PERIOD. As a motorcyclist I watch, because I HAVE to watch the road and the drivers. It flat a amazes me how many people try to text and drive. The two are not compatible, and short of voice dictation they cannot be- no matter how large the buttons are. I have almost been hit by people who are texting when they are supposed to be driving. How many wrecks, ruined lives and deaths do we have to see before we stop the insanity of trying to text and drive. Do one or the other- most can barely do one task. The screens look nice, but I wonder how much they would cost if/when they fail. While I do not wish to bash Tesla, they reportedly did not give owners who " Bricked" their batteries any discount. I can get the same functionality from a plug in Garmin, even if it does not have the high resolution, and if it gets broken I am out $99.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Doug Danzeisen Sr
        See your problem is your a motorcyclist. People aren't texting or looking at their touchscreens they just want to run you off the road and make it look like they aren't. Plus if your eyes are on the road how do you see them texting I bet most of it is your fault in the first place. If you were paying attention to the road instead of watching drivers all the time you would notice everyone hates you and your faggy loud motorcycle putting everyone els in danger by going in and out of traffic! DIE JUST DIE. All "phone texters" are out to get you just give in we are tired of pretending to look at our phones while we try to drive you off the road.
      kEiThZ
      • 2 Years Ago
      Should have gonne with knobs and tactile controls for climate controls and the radio.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah I was so looking forward to this because we all sooo need more distractions while driving >.> NOT
      • 3 Years Ago
      looks dangerously distracting
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah if I spent that much money on an electric car I wouldn't want my super fancy touchscreen to look like a 4 year old's game. I would be completely and thoroughly disappointed if I had paid for a Tesla to be delivered to a local dealership just to sit in it a see an ugly dash which has been reshaped to fit a huge screen which doesn't match the car in any way.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      you can do a touch screen interface but it has to be clean, clear and super fast like apple's or faster. and I don't think they got that. for something to be smart it has to be smarter than what was before, not illusions of smart. the interface must never be taxing on the mind or frustrating. and the few clips I've seen it seemed sluggish. probably not disastrous like Karma's but might be oversmart.
        kidcharlemgne
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Since you haven't actually used the touchscreen Dan, your speculation is just that... speculation.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @kidcharlemgne
          kidcharlemgne . . . My favorite Steely Dan song!
          Dan Frederiksen
          • 3 Years Ago
          @kidcharlemgne
          I've seen it in operation albeit briefly
      Yu Sun
      • 3 Years Ago
      That's what the console should be in the car being made today. Today, we can have a 3-4 inch smartphone powerful than super computer 20 years ago, but the console of car doesn't change much in 20 years. I believe all the component in Model S will cost less than $2000, maybe even less than $1000. (not include development cost for sure). And most of the time, consumer have to pay more than $2000 to upgrade the console to have basic navigation module. That's ridiculous.
        Ele Truk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Yu Sun
        Most hybrids have a considerably more advanced console. Problem I see is that when damaged, they will be way more expensive to replace. I have a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid, and the display got hit by furniture when I was moving stuff. So a dealer replacement would cost $3000. Luckily I found one from a wreck, but it was still $350 (and all I really needed was the LCD replaced).
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Ele Truk
          As long as replacement costs are within reason for a car that expensive. The Escape Hybrid is MUCH cheaper than the Model S. You should not be putting furniture in your Tesla.
      Joeviocoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      Much safer than trying to stare at and click on a 4.3 inch cell phone. Some people will argue (extensively) that doing anything other than playing with a few physical knobs is unsafe. But technology WILL push ahead... and if automakers don't provide infotainment on a bigger screen, people WILL just use the more dangerous cell phones.
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        Letting the drive browse the web while driving seems more than just a little unsafe.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          who said the web browser responds while the car is in motion?
          Anne
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @Joeviocoe, Musk said it is possible while the car is in motion, he doesn't want to limit his clients in what they can and can't do, and it ultimately it is their responsibility.
          Val
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          If the driver is stupid enough to do that (he can already do it on a tablet or smartphone), nobody can help him, and humanity's only hope is that when he has an accident, he doesn't take others with him. Often enough the car will be parked and the driver can look something up, or there will be a passenger who can operate the screen.
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Personal responsibility has to start somewhere. A driver should limit distractions to a minimum. That is something all drivers need to take a second look at their driving... (as long as not while driving :) ) A person does have to learn not to do certain things in this existence. Learning to drive with limited distractions is one of them. Plus, I think as the tech evolves... (ie: voice commands etc...) I think most of the current worries will be moot.
          Joeviocoe
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Okay Anne... that is reasonable. When you have $57,000 - $80,000 to spend on a car, the last thing you want is to be treated like a child. I would also imagine that eventually the software package would be upgradeable and/or apps could be installed that restrict teens or Valets from browsing while driving. That is the beauty of software based tech... it is easier to customize like that. I simple PIN could unlock features when the car is started.
      wartzilla
      • 3 Years Ago
      I don't know about this. Weakest part of the car, in my opinion.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does anybody realize that alot of vehicles to this kind of stuff already? You can sync your POS Ford with the internet via your phone to grab the metadata for songs that you dont even own. The metadata should already be there if you own the song. You can plug your iPod into most modern cars and/or aftermarket stereos that display (on a touchscreen) what song is playing along with album data including album art. You can even control alot of new vehicles climate control via touch screen or actual knobs. Get off your high horses everybody that thinks you arent looking at the road because the vehicle is equipped with real knobs and touch screen. Like most vehicles nowadays, the touch screen (distracting) navigation is disabled while driving. Just because your out dated vehicles doesn't have any updated technology features doesn't mean that there shouldn't be yet another one with slightly updated features. Do your homework before you start saying that this vehicle is so much more distracting than other new cars on the road today. Maybe upgrade to HD FM radio from AM and then let us know if this technology is not really needed for the road.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I understand having a gps screen for it. but internet might be going little bit far on it. if you wanna watch movies bring a dvd player portable with you if your a passager
      Andy Smith
      • 3 Years Ago
      Commenters have complained about glare and not using dials etc, But I can imagine future iterations being perfect with a haptec feedback/texture screen, and a colour e-ink screen like those used in Kindles. Many of us have sat navs, tablets and smart phones, why not combine them into one neat console? Most in car navigation uses that horrible twisty Knob thing rather than an intuitive touch screen
        Grendal
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andy Smith
        All the commenters on the Tesla Forum who have seen and experienced the screen in person don't have any problems with it. In person there aren't glare problems and once the voice interface is fully functional I'm sure it will truly be the car of the future.
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