Zoom has revealed that it video conferencing software will appear in Tesla cars, although it is unclear when the service will be made publicly available.
The announcement came at the company’s Zoomtopia event, by Nitasha Walia, Zoom Group Product Manager for Meetings, who said the company expects to bring the service to “all new Tesla models” soon.
But apart from a short demo (opens in new tab) at the event, which revealed that the Zoom platform will use the “cabin camera” that sits in the rear-view mirror of a Tesla vehicle and integrate it with the Tesla OS calendar, details were thin on the ground.
Smart Vehicle Hazards
The official launch came after the carmarker dropped several big hints that Zoom might move to Tesla OS in a while Look behind the scenes (opens in new tab)with the V11 software in 2021. In that video, the Zoom logo was spotted in the user interface, prompting speculation from enthusiasts.
The demo shows Zoom in use while a Tesla vehicle is charging, but it remains unclear whether, like the Tesla Arcade game offering, Zoom calls will only be available while the vehicle is parked.
One would hope so, given the obvious danger to life if drivers are distracted. But it’s also true that, if this is a Tesla-coded software limitation, it can be disabled by an enterprising, reckless programmer.
It is also unknown whether the application requires Wi-Fi or will be enabled as part of Tesla’s Premium Connectivity car data plan. Requiring the former could be a simple solution to force a car to stop, although this could also be an exploit in the future.
There are also very real concerns about the in-cab camera and the data it sends to Tesla. Tesla’s website claims that “By default, images and videos from the camera do not leave the vehicle itself and are not sent to anyone, including Tesla, unless you enable data sharing.”
This, like any tech company promise, should be taken with a grain of salt until proven. As such, the idea that Tesla could be listening to a private or sensitive conversation may not sit well with some customers.