Tesla Signs With AT&T to Make Vehicles More Like Smartphones

Jan 08, 2014 03:09 PM EST | Matt Mercuro

Tesla vehicles are going to be more like smartphones within the near future thanks to a new deal the automaker has made with AT&T.

The news was announced formally by AT&T at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Audi also announced it's reached a deal with AT&T at CES.

Glen Lurie, the head of emerging devices at AT&T, said that these advancements shows that automakers are dedicated to turn cars into "intelligent gadgets" according to CNN.

"The car is really just going to become another device in your life," Lurie said, according to CNN. "Our view at AT&T is that everything is going to be connected, making the car easier to use, safer, reduce distracted driving and deliver infotainment."

All Tesla vehicles and Audi's 2015 lineup of A3 vehicles will be connected to AT&T's wireless network, which is also used by tablets and smartphones all over the world.

Tesla vehicles will be on 3G, whereas the Audi models will be on 4G LTE, according to CNN.

Current and future Tesla vehicles will be able to use AT&T to power engine diagnostics, web browsing, navigation, different radio options, and hundreds of features. These features will be available through a 17-inch touchscreen.

Lurie also confirmed drivers will be able to access most of the features by using their voice, to help prevent distracted driving. Dashboard screens can help drivers navigate without having to hold devices, which increases the risk of a crash.

Wireless networks also helps automakers get closer to releasing fully autonomous vehicles as well, according to Lurie.

"If there ever is a fully autonomous car, it'll have to be connected. It's absolutely paramount," Lurie said.

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