The outage, however, provided a glimpse into some of the real-world issues created by the evolution of increasingly connected vehicles that rely on the Internet. Telsa vehicles use mobile connections for a wide range of functions, including remotely setting heating and air conditioning and making service appointments. They also unlock the features of vehicles’ Autopilot driver-assistance system, which can navigate highways and city streets between waypoints set by the driver. A feature to summon a vehicle in a crowded parking lot, for example, was inaccessible because it is accessed through the app.
“It’s like what you see in a lot of other areas of our lives,” said Karl Brauer, a veteran auto industry analyst who works as an executive analyst at the website iSeeCars. “When we get this increased convenience, we tend to become a lot more expectant and dependent on it.”