Tesla has agreed to switch software program in its vehicles to forestall drivers and passengers from taking part in video video games on the dashboard screens whereas car are in movement, a federal security regulator mentioned on Thursday.
The settlement got here a day after the Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration opened a formal investigation of the game feature, which is named Passenger Play. The investigation was introduced after The New York Occasions reported this month on the potential safety risks the games posed.
“Following the opening of a preliminary analysis of Tesla’s ‘Passenger Play,’ Tesla knowledgeable the company that it’s altering the performance of this characteristic,” the security company mentioned in an announcement. “In a brand new software program replace, ‘Passenger Play’ will now be locked and unusable when the car is in movement.”
Security consultants had criticized Tesla for permitting the video games to be accessible whereas vehicles have been in movement. “There isn’t a argument that may be made that this isn’t harmful,” mentioned Jason Levine, the manager director of the Heart for Auto Security, a client group.
Tesla didn’t reply to a request for remark.
The federal security company is analyzing different potential issues of safety with Teslas. In August, it opened a proper investigation into Tesla’s Autopilot system, which may speed up and brake a automotive by itself, after vehicles utilizing the characteristic crashed into parked fireplace vans, police vehicles and different emergency automobiles not less than 11 occasions. These accidents resulted in a single demise and several other critical accidents.
As well as, the security company can also be reviewing greater than two dozen different accidents involving Teslas working on Autopilot. The company has mentioned eight of these crashes resulted in a complete of 10 deaths because the first occurred in 2016.
Whereas the online game characteristic will not be immediately linked to the Autopilot points, the security company on Wednesday recommended it was apprehensive that Tesla drivers might play video games whereas utilizing Autopilot within the mistaken perception that the automotive was driving itself and that they needn’t take note of the highway.
The corporate instructs drivers to maintain their fingers on the wheel and take note of the highway whereas utilizing Autopilot. But it surely does little to watch drivers, and there’s mounting proof that some drivers routinely ignore its recommendation and warnings.
Tesla has been including video video games to its vehicles for a number of years. Most can solely be performed when the automotive is in park. However this summer time it remotely up to date the software program of its vehicles to make obtainable three video games that could possibly be performed on the massive contact screens mounted within the middle of Teslas. The video games have been solitaire; a jet fighter recreation, Sky Pressure Reloaded; and a conquest technique recreation, the Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise.
A warning that appeared earlier than the solitaire recreation began indicated Tesla anticipated it to be performed whereas the automotive is shifting: “Solitaire is a recreation for everybody, however taking part in whereas the automotive is in movement is just for passengers.” Gamers have been requested to verify that they weren’t driving the automotive, however nothing prevented drivers from clicking by that display and taking part in the video games.
“The Car Security Act prohibits producers from promoting automobiles with defects posing unreasonable dangers to security, together with applied sciences that distract drivers from driving safely,” the security company mentioned.
The investigation the security company opened on Wednesday covers about 580,000 vehicles and sport utility automobiles from mannequin years 2017 by 2022.