Tesla’s feature that allows you to play with a moving car generates investigation

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Federal regulators of safety of U.S are investigating the Tesla by a feature that allows drivers to play video games while the car is in motion.

The investigation’s documentation, released on Wednesday (23) by the National Road Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, its acronym in English), says that the feature, known as “Passenger Play”, has been available to drivers since December 2020.

The games appear on a touchscreen on the car’s dashboard, and are intended for passengers. But nothing stops drivers from playing while the car is being driven, according to documentation associated with the investigation.

Prior to December 2020, gameplay was only enabled when the vehicle was parked, says the NHTSA investigation paper.

Even if the videogame is being played by a passenger rather than the driver, it “may distract the driver and increase the risk of an accident,” according to the NHTSA.

Tesla has pushed the limits in providing driver assistance features that allow their cars to slow down or speed up, and even change lanes, without active driver input.

The company advises that drivers who use these features, known as “Autopilot” and “FSD” for autonomous driving, should stay alert and keep their hands on the wheel. But Tesla has been criticized for making it easier for drivers not to pay attention, as well as for a series of accidents involving cars in autopilot mode.

NHTSA is investigating Tesla for at least 11 accidents involving cars using its autopilot or other autonomous driving features that collided with emergency vehicles upon arriving at the scene of another accident. These 11 accidents were responsible for 17 injuries and one death, according to the agency.

US regulators are highlighting distracted driving as a major safety risk on American roads. The NHTSA estimates that 3,142 people died in accidents involving distracted drivers in 2019.

The investigation of “Passenger Play” began after a complaint filed in November by an unnamed Tesla owner. The complaint said that the feature allows them to play video games and surf the internet while the car is being driven.

“Video games are supposedly restricted to passengers only. Internet browsing is available to anyone at any time”, says the complaint.

“Why is a manufacturer allowed to create an inherently distracting live video that takes up 2/3 of the screen that the driver trusts to see all vehicle information? NHTSA must ban all live front seat video and all interactive live navigation while the car is in motion. Creating a dangerous distraction for the driver is reckless negligence.”

Tesla, which rarely responds to inquiries from the media, did not respond to a request for comment about the investigation or the video game feature.

This content was originally created in English.

original version

Reference: CNN Brasil

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