Tesla owners play video games while driving

Inside a Tesla


Tesla has earned its fair share of interest from regulators and security has advocated in recent months the difficult rollout of its ‘Full Self Driving’ beta system, but it has so far managed to largely avoid scrutiny of its decision to quietly add the ability to play video games for a while. .

Videos of reviewers and pilots accessing the game on the move appeared on YouTube and were remark by The New York Times this week. Although playing in a Tesla is nothing new (the company has started add arcade style games in 2019) sawing while vehicles are out of the park.

According to the Times, this particular feature was delivered over the summer as part of an over-the-air update. The update included three new games—Solitary, Celestial Force Reloaded, and The Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise– which would all be playable while driving. When these games are started, the user receives a warning that the game should only be played by the passenger. According to the report, there is currently nothing preventing the driver from simply lying and starting the game anyway.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Tesla’s decision to overtake video games and other vehicles entertainment Like Netflix and Hulu, streaming is coming despite longtime NHTSA guidelines recommend that device manufacturers design systems so that they cannot be used by drivers to perform “inherently troublesome side tasks while driving”. While other automakers offer systems that allow drivers and passengers to watch movies or other entertainment on the front screen, these are typically turned off when drivers exit the park. The stakes here are high: distracted driving accounts for 8.7% of fatal crashes in the United States, according to NHTSA data, although many experts expect the figure to be much higher.

NHTSA did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

Presumably, the reason Tesla has added video games to its vehicles stems from its vision to create a fully autonomous vehicle experience where drivers can reclaim time they would have wasted screaming in traffic for work or play. This vision, of making vehicles the following screen, is shared by many players in the automotive industry and that is why traditional consumer tech companies like Apple and Xiaomi would work on their own driverless vehicles. CEO Elon Musk extended on this idea himself earlier this year while showing a demo of someone playing Cyberpunk 2077 in a Tesla.

“Think about the future where the car is often on autopilot or fully autonomous driving mode, then entertainment is going to become more and more important,” Musk said. “You’re going to want to watch movies, play games, use the Internet, whatever things you want to do if you’re not driving. “

The only problem is that Tesla aren’t fully self-contained, and they’re not even very close.

Although Tesla is currently beta testing its Full Self Driving assist feature, the name is misleading as it actually only achieves level 2 range on a six level scale. Tesla was forced to unveil FSD regulations in a letter to regulators at the end of last year. But that message hasn’t been made clear to Autopilot users or FSD beta participants, and the video game additions only add to the confusion. All of this has the effect of potentially encouraging drivers to view the system as more advanced than it actually is. And with some Tesla costing around $ 100,000, can you really fault drivers for expecting a more thrilling experience than glorified cruise control?

It was part of the concerns that the Senses. Richard Blumenthal and Ed Markey underlined earlier this year when they sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairman Lina Khan urging her agency to investigate Tesla for misleading advertising around autopilot and FSD.

“We are concerned that Tesla’s autopilot and FSD functionality is not as mature and reliable as the company is offering it to the public,” the senators wrote. “Understanding these limitations is critical because when drivers’ expectations exceed the capabilities of their vehicles, serious and fatal accidents can result. “

These systems are already causing crashes in the real world, which are likely to increase with the addition of entertainment features. For those keeping track, the NHTSA is currently investigate 11 accidents that have occurred since 2018, all involving Tesla’s collisions with first aid vehicles. The accidents left a total of 17 injured and one dead, according to the agency. In addition to this, a complaint filed with NHTSA last month appears to show the first major crash case involving Tesla’s FSD beta.

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