A federal safety regulator said on Thursday that Tesla has agreed to change the software in its cars to prevent drivers and passengers from playing video games on dashboard screens while a vehicle is in motion.
The deal comes a day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. launched an official investigation for the game feature, known as the Passenger Game. The investigation was announced after The New York Times reported this month. potential security risks posed by games.
“Following the opening of a preliminary review for Tesla’s ‘Passenger Game,’ Tesla has notified the agency that it has changed the functionality of this feature,” the security agency said in a statement. “In a new software update, ‘Passenger Game’ will now be locked and unavailable while the vehicle is in motion.”
Security experts had criticized Tesla for allowing games to be accessible while cars were in motion. “There can be no argument that it’s not dangerous,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Automobile Safety, a consumer group.
Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.
The company has been adding video games to its cars for several years now. Most are only playable when the car is parked, but this summer Teslas made three available via wireless software that can be played on large touchscreens mounted in the center of the car. Games solitaire; a jet fighter game, Sky Force Reloaded; and Battle of Polytopia: Moonrise, a strategy game of conquest.
A warning before the game of Solitaire started stated that Tesla expects it to be played while the car is in motion: “Solitaire is a game for everyone, but playing while the car is in motion is only for passengers.” Players are asked to confirm that they are not driving the car, but nothing stops drivers from clicking this question and playing the games.
“The Vehicle Safety Act prohibits manufacturers from selling vehicles with defects that pose unreasonable risks to safety, including technologies that prevent drivers from driving safely,” the safety agency said.