Screens are taking over your car
4:42

Screens are taking over your car

Roadshow
[MUSIC] Hey folks, Cooley hear. I got another one of your emails about high tech cars and modern driving. This one comes in from Hayden E who says, a friend and I were talking about the Model 3, and he made the observation that it's easier for manufacturers to offer large screens with menus Instead of investing the time, effort and money in developing physical controls. How much truth is there to this? He says, I always thought screens were mostly there for the wow factor. Yes, that is true, Heydn. Screens do Do offer a wow factor in a car. When a car maker can go that way, they know that they're going to get someone to go, wow, that looks pretty great. But there's a lot more going on that is more sensible than just the panache of LCD. Let's take a look at some of those reasons. First of all, Maps have really driven screens a lot. You just can't do navigation without an LCD of some kind. We used to have OnStar nav that gave you very simple text and arrows Then turn left onto Fisher Road. Who would accept that today, even in a really cheap car. So maps really drive this hard, and the total profusion of them. And then there are cameras. Very few cars don't come with a camera anymore. The rear-view camera is ubiquitous now. Front cameras aren't that odd. We may get side-view cameras one day, and don't forget night vision cameras. All of these need a place to show. You can't display a camera feed on a knob, right? Then you've got media. Who amongst us would be satisfied today with those old, sort of dot-matrix text readouts of a radio station name or a song or podcast title? Now we want to see album art. We want to see menu choices to subscribe or unsubscribe from that podcast or look at some other array of video media in the backseat. Screens once again are essential here. Now let's turn to why screens are actually becoming way more palatable to manufactures than the old knobs and dials and fixed displays of the traditional dashboard. First of all, it's flexibility. You can put in a tach or a speedometer and waste eight, nine, 12 square inches of space. that never changes. What a waste of real estate. Especially a tactometer. Then the cars have a big old tack that takes up all that room, and tells you basically nothing to most drivers. If you turn that airway into LCD, it can textually be relevant to what's happening in the moment. Which is way better for driver information, lowering of distraction when it's done right, and offers so many more virtual displays than a fixed gauge and dial. Then you've got the area of updates. You Cannot do an OTA update to a physical dial or needle gauge. It just doesn't happen. That thing is silk screened on plastic and there's a needle sitting there on a magnetic, sort of a mount and that's it. It's all it's ever going to do it's whole life. And those updates are becoming a really big part of keeping cars more relevant and valuable over time. Now there's also the area of cost. You look at it and say okay wow the latest technology screens. That's got to be expensive. Why are car makers going this way? Are they sticking it to me in the MSRP? Well now maybe that's a different discussion. But overall as car makers rush head long into screens, they may actually find that they cost no more than doing traditional displays as they get economy of scale and they really commit to these things. And in some cases it might actually save them money. Now for example that model three that you and your friend were looking at is a car that is basically a screen and that's about it. I have heard that a car maker doing that can save a few hundred dollars per car versus having a screen and some dials, gauges and knobs. And the when they go completely screen, they can see some cost efficiency. Let's just guess that Tesla saves $300 per car by going straight up Single LCD in that dramatic way. Times the number of model threes they've already sold, that's about $47 million in cost savings. That's a big deal, especially to a smaller car maker. So, I think we're getting to the point now where in some cases, a highly screened interior of a car is becoming cost competitive with traditional knobs and dials. If not, cost advantageous [BLANK_AUDIO] Now that model three is an extreme example of screenism right? I mean no other car does that, and we at Road Show don't think a lot of other cars will in the near term. Our opinion is that the best cars out there today are using a lot of screens, including some screens that control other screens like you'll see in Hondas or Audis. But also have a nice mix of traditional switch gear, which is able to take advantage of quick muscle memory. And sometimes just a kind of tactile and physical feedback that fits the task better than anything you can do on a touch panel, at least for now. Keep those emails coming. I'm here to answer your questions about high tech cars and modern driving. It's cooley@theroadshow.com

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