Business Essentials for Professionals


US Regulator Launches Probe Into Game Feature In 580,000 Tesla Cars

US Regulator Launches Probe Into Game Feature In 580,000 Tesla Cars
A formal inquiry into 580,000 Tesla vehicles sold since 2017 has been launched by was the auto safety regulators in the United States, the agency announced on Wednesday. The investigation has been started to inquire into the decision of the electric car maker to allow playing games on the front centre touchscreen while the vehicle was moving.
The preliminary assessment by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) covers various Tesla Model 3, S, X, and Y automobiles from 2017 to 2022.
According to the statement from the regulator, this feature which is known as ‘Passenger Play’ could cause distraction for the driver and increases the threats of a crash.
It "confirmed that this capability has been available since December 2020 in Tesla 'Passenger Play'-equipped vehicles," the NHTSA said. Prior to this, the company allowed this game feature to be used only when a car was in a parked position.
It was "committed to ensuring the highest safety standards on the nation’s roadways," NHTSA said in its statement on the issue.
Media reports had formed the basis of launching the investigation, the agency said. "Tesla’s gameplay functionality is visible from the driver's seat and can be enabled while driving the vehicle," it said in the statement.
It was pleased with NHTSA's Tesla safety investigation, said the Governors Highway Safety Association and added that it intended to all drivers to remember that they should be focused and alert while on the road driving. 
There was no comment on the NHSTA decision from Tesla.
It would "evaluate aspects of the feature, including the frequency and use scenarios of Tesla 'Passenger Play'," NHTSA said.
The game element was reported in the New York Times earlier this month, causing the NHTSA to declare it was in talks with Tesla about its worries.
Distracted driving is responsible for a substantial number of traffic deaths in the United States, according to the EPA, with 3,142 deaths in 2019. Official data, according to safety advocates, understate the problem since not all drivers involved in incidents later acknowledge to being distracted.
According to the New York Times, the Tesla update includes three games: solitaire, a jet fighter, and a conquest strategy scenario, with warnings that "playing while the car is in motion is only for passengers."
The game function, according to the article, requires verification that the player is a passenger. However, a driver might still play by hitting a button.
Guidelines to push automakers "to factor safety and driver distraction-prevention into their designs and adoption of infotainment devices in vehicles" had been issued by the NHSTA in 2013.
The agency said that the guidelines "recommend that in-vehicle devices be designed so that they cannot be used by the driver to perform inherently distracting secondary tasks while driving."
After a series of collisions involving the system and parked emergency vehicles, the government initiated a safety inquiry into 765,000 Tesla cars in August over its driver-assistance technology Autopilot.
An initial analysis is the first stage before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decides whether to escalate a probe to an engineering analysis, which is required before the agency can demand a recall.

Christopher J. Mitchell

Markets | Companies | M&A | Innovation | People | Management | Lifestyle | World | Misc