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.
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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.

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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