Tesla Motors, the Californian electric-car maker led by billionaire Elon Musk, picked AT&T Inc. to provide high-speed wireless service to its vehicles, giving the carrier a boost in its effort to expand beyond mobile phones.
The Dallas-based carrier announced today that all Tesla cars come equipped with AT&T network chips, which allow two-way connections for services such as roadside assistance and stolen-vehicle location.
The Tesla service also includes Internet access, navigation and entertainment on a 17-inch (43-centimeter) touch screen. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.
“We’ve been working with AT&T. They’ve been the service provider for Model S” in North America, said Elizabeth Jarvis-Shean, a spokeswoman for Palo Alto, California-based Tesla. She declined to comment on cellular or data service changes provided by AT&T.
Unlike conventional cars, Tesla’s Model S receives wireless programming updates via an installed cellular system to improve vehicle operations. Such updates typically occur when the car is recharging overnight. Navigation, mapping and data functions in the Model S also rely on the cellular system. Some owners have said the speed of refreshing Google Maps displayed in the car needs an upgrade.
Chris Penrose, an AT&T executive in charge of emerging devices, plans to announce the partnership at an event in San Francisco today. AT&T’s service also could be used to provide in-car Wi-Fi hot spots, letting anyone in the vehicle connect to the Internet via mobile devices.
) - Friday, October 18th, 2013 - filed under News
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