Dear Elon Musk, Will Your Cars Be Smart Enough to Spot the Traffic Cop Hiding Behind the Signal?


Dear Elon Musk, Will Your Cars Be Smart Enough to Spot the Traffic Cop Hiding Behind the Signal?

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

When Elon Musk became the richest man in the world last week, he gave hope to memers everywhere that they too can make it in life one day. A few days later, Tesla registered its Indian subsidiary in Karnataka which was enough to accelerate the heartbeats of car and tech enthusiasts. After much anticipation, the US electric car giant is finally going to face the most complex challenge of them all – India, its unique cratered roads, always-in-a-hurry drivers, and whatnot. Here are five features that Tesla simply cannot do without if it wants the desi driver singing, “Main nikla o gaddi leke.”

  1. Dhinchak Interiors

Listen Elon, classy metal colours are cool for America and Europe, but here in India, we love dhinchak bright colours that you’d find at a Holi party. Given the potholes on Indian roads, you might want to consider replacing the car seats with the ones you find on rollercoasters. And we know you have that cute touch-screen thing going, but no desi car is complete without an over-the-top music system to play the latest Yo Yo Honey Singh track. The joy we get from turning the knob to full volume can’t be matched by a touch-screen slider.

  1. Autopilot, Desi Edition

Dear tech bros at Tesla, you might think you’ve developed a kickass autopilot algorithm, but let me remind you, this is India. Will your algo be able to detect the asshole who decides to take a sudden right from the left lane on the highway? Will it be able to dodge random cows, and people who just casually jaywalk? Is it smart enough to nudge us to buckle our seat belts and locate the traffic cop who is standing stealthily a few metres away from the signal, waiting to fine us?

  1. Custom Voice Commands

Let’s get this straight, if you’re making cars for India, the male assistant obviously has to be Amitabh Bachchan and the female voice, Lata didi. If the car hits another vehicle, the auto-response should be “Tu janta hai mera baap kaun hai?” If the driver is pulled up by a cop for jumping a signal, the assistant must be able to speak in the local state language to patao him. Also, what’s urgently needed is an auto response to shut down parents who give driving instructions from the backseat.

  1. Patli Pin Wala Charger

Look Tesla, we know you’re proud of the supercharger and the crazy tech that goes into it. But we Indians are very simple people. We just want to walk up to someone (even at their house possibly) and ask “patli pin wala charger hai?” We don’t want any complications with micro-USB, C-type, and the Apple charger. We just want one charger for everything from a bluetooth speaker to a car. Get working on it, Mr Musk, we’re counting on you.

  1. The “Aane De” Parking Syndrome

Do our cars have parking sensors? Do we use them? No. Where’s the fun in that? We prefer someone getting out of the car, stopping traffic if they have to and shouting out instructions. Pyaar badta hai. So we don’t really care for your fancy sensors and auto parallel parking. Cut that crap, Tesla. We judge drivers (and their capability) based on how well they can park in a tight spot. The best you can do is add an auto response to anyone who is shoddy at parking: Please put an L sticker on the back of the car.

Get, set, go, Tesla. It’s going to be one hell of a ride.