Tesla Adds Smart Assistant With Software Update, Replacing Voice Commands in China [Video]

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla Adds Smart Assistant in China
Tesla Adds Smart Assistant in China

An early version of Tesla's 2023.44 update in China, has transformed its vehicles' voice command feature into a fully functional smart assistant. This assistant extends beyond vehicle control, offering features like weather updates, stock market insights, language translation, and even the recitation of Tang poetry. This development leads to speculation: is Grōk, xAI’s advanced AI model, already along for a ride or is Tesla leveraging a different service?

Grōk's Potential Role in Tesla's AI Evolution

The integration of Grōk AI into Tesla's fleet came up a few months ago when Elon Musk made a post on X that predicted that Grōk (smaller quantized) would run “native” in Tesla using local compute power. Musk then replied: Provided our vehicle AI computer is able to run the model, Tesla will probably have the most amount of true usable inference compute on Earth.

While it is not confirmed if Grōk is powering the new smart assistant in China, the possibility aligns with Tesla's trajectory towards more sophisticated AI applications in its vehicles. China also received another new feature in the update that is unavailable in other regions, a traffic light countdown.

User Impressions: A Glimpse into AI's Future in Automotive

Early feedback from Tesla users in China suggests that the new smart assistant offers a notably enhanced and intelligent experience, differentiating it from the previous basic voice command system. A Not a Tesla App reader told us that this is an authentic voice assistant. You can check the weather, stock prices, and other information.

That sounds like a young Grōk could be involved, considering its capabilities in handling complex interactions and live content processing.

Introducing this advanced assistant raises questions about Tesla's strategy in AI development. While the specifics of Tesla's partnerships in this arena remain unclear, the company's track record suggests a strong preference for in-house development, or at least leveraging products from Musk’s sister companies. The involvement of Grōk, a product of Musk's xAI, further points to Tesla's independent approach to using its AI capabilities.

The Scope of Grōk in Enhancing Tesla's AI Features

If Grōk is part of Tesla's new smart assistant, vehicle-user interaction could significantly leap. Grōk's advanced processing capabilities could enhance various aspects of the driving experience, from improved voice recognition to more intuitive responses, though its exact role in the current update remains speculative.

Musk's recent ventures into AI with xAI and Grōk have been closely watched, with many anticipating how these technologies would integrate into Tesla's product line. Musk's vision of incorporating AI like Grōk into Tesla's vehicles could greatly improve how we interact with the car. However, this integration's exact nature and timeline are still subjects of speculation.

While it's not confirmed if Grōk is powering this feature, the speculation aligns with Tesla's known ambitions in AI. Tesla's introduction of a new smart assistant in China is the latest advancement as Tesla tries to keep up with other vehicles that have already incorporated their own AI assistants like NIO or have leveraged existing services like Google Assistant in vehicles like Polestar.

Tesla’s holiday update, which includes the smart assistant in China started rolling out today. We’ll have to wait and see how well this feature works as it rolls out to more users. It’ll hopefully become available in additional languages and countries in the coming months.

New Model 3 Performance, Racing-Inspired Seats Revealed, a Glimpse of the Front Splitter

By Kevin Armstrong
X/Nic Cruz Patane
X/Nic Cruz Patane

Tesla's reintroduction of the Model 3 Performance continues to inch closer, and just like the refreshed Model 3 and the Cybertruck, every peek gives us some more hints and builds more excitement. A recent observation of a partially covered Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype revealed the new Sport seats designed for improved comfort.

Posted on X by Nic Cruz Patane, the upgraded Model 3 Performance was sighted in Santa Monica, where the vehicle's engineering prototype displayed minimal window tinting, offering a sneak peek at the vehicle's improved seating. The Sport seats, resembling dedicated racing bucket seats, significantly depart from the current Model 3 seating options.

Sport Seats Coming to Other Models?

Tesla's initiative to incorporate Sport seats into the Model 3 Performance hints at broader plans to equip its high-performance models, including the Model S Plaid, Model X Plaid, and Model Y Performance, with similar seating options. This move will elevate the driving experience across Tesla's performance vehicle range.

These seats were also spotted a few weeks ago by enthusiast Fidel Grandez. Initially thought to be designated for the Model S Plaid, these Sport seats have found their rightful place in the Model 3 Performance, aligning with Tesla's vision for a performance-focused yet more affordable electric sedan.

New Wheels and Front Lip

In addition to the seats, the Model 3 Performance is rumored to showcase a suite of enhancements. Another angle gives a little bit of an outline of the new front lower splitter. Other aesthetic and functional upgrades include "Warp" 20-inch wheels, advanced braking systems, and revised suspension components.

Tesla has been testing the Model 3 Performance prototypes for a few months, signaling that initial production could be underway in North America. This step is crucial as Tesla aims to reintroduce the Performance trim to the market, having temporarily removed it from their lineup. The reintroduction is timely, considering the evolving landscape of EV incentives in the United States. While the official launch date remains under wraps, anticipation builds for the Model 3 Performance's debut, expected in the first half of 2024.

Cool Carpool Mom: How Kim Kardashian's Cybertruck Ride Benefits Tesla

By Kevin Armstrong
Instagram/Kim Kardashian
Instagram/Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian showcased her Cybertruck with the caption "cool carpool mom" to her 364 million followers on Instagram. The A-list celebrity and billionaire is well known for her knack for staying at the forefront of trends, making this one image a powerful endorsement for Tesla. The picture of one of the most influential celebrities of our time picking the Cybertruck as her distinctive vehicle speaks volumes about the brand's penetration into popular culture and its appeal to a broad demographic, including those who value style, innovation, and sustainability.

The Power of Celebrity Influence

Kim Kardashian's influence cannot be overstated. Her every move is watched and often emulated by fans around the globe. Her journey from reality TV star to billionaire entrepreneur has been marked by a series of successful ventures in fashion, beauty, and technology investments, making her a model of modern business acumen. Kardashian's ability to turn personal endorsements into significant trends is unparalleled, making her engagement with Tesla's Cybertruck a notable moment for the company.

Kardashian's influence extends far beyond mere product endorsement. Her strategic use of social media to connect with her audience has transformed how brands interact with consumers. She creates a personal connection that can sway consumer behavior by sharing her life, interests, and choices, including her vehicle preferences. Her endorsement of the Cybertruck can significantly enhance Tesla's brand visibility and desirability, particularly among consumers who may not have previously considered an electric vehicle.

Kardashian has recently joined the exclusive circle of celebrities seen driving the Cybertruck, a group that boasts names like Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and not to forget Elon Musk himself (who, aside from being Tesla's CEO, commands a staggering following of over 370 million on X). Each of these stars wields significant influence, captivating audiences that range from thousands to millions globally.

Sustainability Meets Style

Moreover, Kardashian's endorsement comes at a time when the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly choices is increasingly recognized. Her choice of an electric vehicle over traditional gasoline-powered cars sends a strong message about the importance of environmental responsibility, aligning with Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. This alignment boosts Tesla's brand and promotes a broader cultural shift towards sustainability.

In the context of celebrity endorsements, Kim Kardashian's showcase of the Tesla Cybertruck is a masterstroke. It merges the worlds of entertainment, technology, and sustainability, highlighting the evolving nature of brand-consumer relationships in the digital age. Tesla's innovative approach to vehicle design and its commitment to sustainability is amplified by Kardashian's endorsement, illustrating the power of celebrity influence in shaping consumer preferences and driving societal trends.

Ultimately, Kardashian driving a Cybertruck and branding herself as a "cool carpool mom" is a significant endorsement for Tesla, enhancing the brand's visibility, appeal, and alignment with sustainable values. In an era where brand success is increasingly tied to social influence and cultural relevance, Tesla's association with Kardashian can only be seen as a positive development, driving the brand further into the mainstream consciousness and reinforcing its position as a leader in the shift towards a more sustainable future.

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