The United States is launching an investigation into Tesla for drivers to play video games

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The United States has opened a formal investigation into Tesla that allows drivers to play video games on a central touch screen while their vehicles move.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) research covers about 580,000 electric cars and SUVs from model years 2017 to 2022.

It comes after the agency received a complaint that Teslas equipped with “game functionality” allows games to be turned on on screens while vehicles are being driven.

In a document posted on its website on Wednesday, the agency says a feature called Passenger Play can distract the driver and increase the risk of an accident.

The agency’s Office of Defects Investigation said in the document that game capacity has been available since December 2020. Prior to that date, games could only be played while the Teslas were in the park.

The probe, which covers all four Tesla models, S, X, Y and 3, was opened “to assess the potential for distraction of the Tesla Passenger Play driver while driving the vehicle.” The researchers “will evaluate aspects of the feature, including the frequency and usage scenarios of Tesla Passenger Play.”

NHTSA documents do not list any accidents or injuries caused by the problem.

An investigation may lead to a withdrawal. In the early hours of Wednesday, a message was left asking for comments from Tesla, which has dissolved its media relations department.

Driver’s complaint

Tesla owner Vince Patton, who lives near Portland, Oregon, filed the complaint with the agency last month. In August, I was watching a YouTube video of a Tesla owner discovering that he could now play a video game on his touch screen while the vehicle was in motion.

Curious to see for himself, Patton drove his own 2021 Tesla Model 3 to an empty parking lot of the community college, he activated a game called Sky Force has reloaded from a menu and made a few loops.

“I was amazed that, yes, this sophisticated video game was sure to emerge,” said Patton, a 59-year-old retired journalist.

He tried Solitary, too, and was able to activate this game while driving. He later discovered that he could surf the Internet while his car was moving.

“Someone will be killed”

Patton, who loves his car and says he has nothing against Tesla, is worried about drivers playing and being dangerously distracted.

“Someone is going to die,” he said. “It’s absolutely crazy.”

So he filed the complaint earlier last month.

“NHTSA must ban all live video in the front seat and all live interactive web browsing while the car is in motion,” Patton wrote in his complaint. “Creating a dangerous distraction for the driver is reckless negligence.”

Remember Mercedes

In early December, Mercedes-Benz issued a withdrawal for a similar issue caused by a computer configuration error, and raised questions about whether Tesla was allowed to do something other carmakers did not. Most car manufacturers turn off the front touch screens while vehicles are moving.

In the Mercedes case, drivers could surf the internet or watch TV while cars were moving. The carmaker said it intended to turn off features while cars are in motion. The problem was fixed by upgrading a Mercedes server.

NHTSA is already investigating why Tesla Autopilot’s partially automated driving system continues to crash into parked emergency vehicles and has asked why Tesla did not file withdrawal documents when it made an air-to-air Internet upgrade in an effort to solve the security problem. . He is also investigating the performance of Tesla’s full autopilot software after receiving a complaint that nearly caused an accident.

Tesla says neither system can drive vehicles and drivers must be prepared to intervene at all times.

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