TESLA is facing some serious backlash for allowing its occupants —both drivers and passengers— to play video games while the car is in motion.
Currently, three video games can be played on the large touch screen in front of the Tesla Model 3 dashboard, including Solitaire, Sky Force Reloaded, and The Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise.
Tesla owners can now play video games while simultaneously drivingCredit: Alamy
The games, which were sent to most of Tesla’s cars over the summer via over-the-air software technology, can be played in full view of the driver.
While the video game feature on Teslas isn’t entirely new, in the past the games could only be played if the car was parked.
Now, however, they can be played while entirely on the road.
The move is raising several questions about whether Tesla, which is run by billionaire Elon Musk, is compromising safety in order to prioritize innovation.
“Distraction-affected crashes are a concern, particularly in vehicles equipped with an array of convenience technologies such as entertainment screens,” a spokesperson for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in a statement.
“The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with design defects posing unreasonable risks to safety,” they added.
Tesla has consistently emphasized the importance of its entertainment initiatives, with Musk saying in the past that entertainment while driving “is going to become increasingly important.”
The company has heavily relied on its Autopilot system, which can steer, slow, and accelerate a car on its own, as the predominant driving factor for these initiatives.
However, it was discovered earlier this year that their self-driving system, which has previously been marketed as “fully autonomous,” is only at a Level 2 autonomy on the SAE’s Levels of Driving Automation Scale.
For context, Level 0 represents no driving automation, and Level 5 represents full driving automation.
Furthermore, any vehicle classified as a Level 2 maintains the expectation that the driver is ready to take full control of the car at any time — a task many experts believe to be difficult if the drivers are playing video games.
Elon Musk has emphasized the importance of entertainment systems in carsCredit: Reuters
In other news, Google has taken action against a major hacking operation that it thinks has infected more than one million devices.
iPhone owners are being urged to change their settings in order to protect their texts from snoopers.
And Apple has announced that it will let customers fix their own iPhones for the first time starting next year.