back to article Tesla disables in-car gaming feature that allowed play while MuskMobiles were in motion

A software upgrade will disable a "feature" that allows the touchscreen on Tesla cars to play video games - even while the vehicles are in motion- after the USA's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigated a complaint about the tech. The feature, called "Passenger Play", has been available since 2020 …

  1. msobkow Silver badge

    I'm not surprised after hearing Musk's interview with Joe Rogan. Musk goes on about trivial features of what he gloatingly thinks of as the best toy in the worl, like being able to "dance", rather than touting any safety features or the like. The man is on the autism spectrum; his sense of priorities is likely skewed in "interesting" directions compared to normal people. He probably honestly thinks it is more important to "have fun" than "be safe."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      With all due respect, the autistic spectrum thing is a red herring. They damn well know right from wrong, and also know what is important and what not.

      I think Musk is on the same spectrum as Zuckerberg, the sociopathic one.

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        I have autistic relatives. I can assure you they do not think like normal people, despite what the ignorant claim online. They do their best to interact with the public normally, but it is an effort; it doesn't come naturally to them.

        1. cyberdemon Silver badge
          Holmes

          autistic / sociopath

          Both above posts are true.

          As someone on the spectrum, it is indeed an effort to "think and behave like a normal person". But I still have a moral compass. I know that it is wrong to cause harm to other people, but I find it hard to accept certain things as "wrong" just because someone says they are. Especially when I cannot see how they cause harm.

          It also annoys me more so than it seems to annoy normal people, when the rich and powerful are able to abuse their power to get richer while causing harm, despite being technically within the law.

          I disagree with the law on many issues around intellectual property and copyright, for example. But I can see how Facebook, Tesla, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al are causing massive harm and getting away with it, and it pisses me off.

        2. heyrick Silver badge

          To echo what cyberdemon says above...yes, thinking "like normal people" (whatever the hell that actually means) is apparently somewhere between difficult and impossible. I get worked up over stuff nobody cares about, but then I don't see the problem when others think the world is ending. Which wouldn't bother me much, I like being left alone.

          Consider it a simple protocol incompatibility.

          However, and THIS PART IS IMPORTANT, it's pretty obvious what is right and what isn't. Whether on or off the spectrum. If one's morality is screwed, it's not because that person is autistic, it's because they're a wanker.

          I really wish people would stop using "autism" as an excuse to be an asshole. It gives everybody else a bad name...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            "However, and THIS PART IS IMPORTANT, it's pretty obvious what is right and what isn't. Whether on or off the spectrum. If one's morality is screwed, it's not because that person is autistic, it's because they're a wanker."

            No, it's not so obvious. Morality is a human construct, which means it can differ from person to person and not mesh well all the time. Hell, it's happening in America right now, with increasing levels of disconnect between groups of people each confident that their moral compass is the right one and so different from the other(s) as to make them appear alien or even antagonistic.

            It's complicated, basically. After all, it's been said that the worst evils can be perpetrated by people convinced of their own righteousness. Kill a man to save the world and all that...

            1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

              Morality is a social construct and it differs from society to society not person to person.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                A society can be one person if the right conditions are met, meaning you can have a solitary morality starkly different from everyone else, yet this singleton feels perfectly justified in his/her beliefs.

  2. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

    The horse knows the way home and will get you there whether you're drunk, asleep, or zoned out on video games on the mobile.

    Cleaning up the environmental pollution is someone else's problem, but I guess that's always the way...

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

      Horses and horse-drawn buggies were notoriously dangerous and unsafe. To be fair, this was partly because they shared suburban roads with pedestrians and children -- but that was part of the reason why urban roads developed sidewalks, and foot-paths were distinct from bridle-paths and carriage-ways.

      Any random book from the period will have someone killed or endangered by a horse. In romance, what killed the heir? Horse accident. What happens to the supernaturally terrified? Steps out in front of a horse. Romantic lead is rescued from what? Escaping criminal, children, rich uncle --- all horse or carriage accidents.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

        I remember watching historical US documentaries when I was a child, and quite often the show would end with a horse drawn buggy (or cart) accident where it was carelessly driven off a cliff. I was always relieved when I watched the next show to find that the occupants were able to jump to safety just in time!

        Closest I could find to a cowboy icon! --------->

        1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

          Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

          "carelessly driven off a cliff"

          But they don't explode in midair in a ball of fire like petrol powered cars do.

          1. parlei

            Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

            Is that an pro or a con?

          2. LybsterRoy Silver badge

            Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

            --But they don't explode in midair in a ball of fire like petrol powered cars do--

            Only if made in the US - doesn't (didn't) happen with cars made in the UK, or maybe we just don't have tall enough cliffs.

        2. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

          "... quite often the show would end with a horse drawn buggy (or cart) accident where it was carelessly driven off a cliff."

          Hmmm. Is isn't driving off a cliff exactly how the owner of Segway Personal Transport Systens died in 2010? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimi_Heselden. According to Wikipedia

          On the morning of 26 September 2010, Heselden was killed when he fell from a cliff footpath into the River Wharfe, at the village of Thorp Arch near Boston Spa; a Segway vehicle was found near him. The West Yorkshire Coroner concluded that Heselden had died of "multiple blunt force injuries of the chest and spine consistent with a fall whilst riding a gyrobike".

    2. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

      In the UK 'Drunk in charge of live stock' covers riding a horse or driving a buggy while drunk, I actually knew a woman in Kent in the 80s who was charged and fined after a pub stopover that was a little too enthusiastic.

      There are other statutes that cover the equivalent of due care and attention/dangerous driving in charge of livestock etc.

      One of my horses was quite keen on Holsten Pils, I never found out if there was a statute against riding a drunken horse.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

        One of my ancestors was killed falling from his horse on his way back from market. I'd always assumed it was because he was drunk. Now I have an entirely new hypothesis.

      2. Steve Kerr
        Pint

        Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

        There was a rumoured to be a case of someone being arrested in Hyde Park back in the day before motorvehicles of being drunk in charge of a horse.

        in an interesting twist, it seemed that the horse was also drunk

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

          I heard of a case where the rider was so drunk they passed out, and managed to successfully argue that they were not in charge of anything - the horse was simply making its own way home.

        2. CountCadaver

          Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

          I've heard of a case of a circus worker who stopped off at a pub while taking the elephants for a walk, got loaded drunk and while staggering along was stopped, arrested and charged with being drunk in charge of 2 elephants. Drunk in charge of seems to be a bit of an open ended charge as I've heard of various ones levied including a pram

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

        Drunk man on horse visits McDonalds, Swansea.

        https://metro.co.uk/2010/09/30/man-visits-mcdonalds-drive-thru-on-a-horse-530657/

    3. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

      I shudder to envision the muck and the smell of a world getting around on horses again. At the time it was the form of transport aside from walking, there were far fewer of us. It would "create" a whole S-ton of jobs and bolster the shovel and broom industry.

      1. parlei

        Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

        IIRC the haze of finely powdered horse manure in e.g. summertime New York was a real problem.

      2. MJB7

        Re: Back to horse-drawn buggies please!

        It wasn't a form of transport except for the *very* wealthy. There are more horses now than there have ever been, and more people own horses than have ever done so.

        In the middle ages, seeing a horse was like seeing a Ferrari today.

  3. sorry, what?
    Holmes

    Removing distraction = good

    Makes sense to me.

    Still, US road safety would be massively improved by simply adopting modern roundabouts rather than having simple, signal-controlled intersections. Why hasn't this happened, despite the evidence around reductions in fatalities and other serious accidents? Because they are "too confusing" for American drivers, apparently.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Removing distraction = good

      The US has traffic circles which look similar to roundabouts but allow vehicles to move at much higher speeds. Most US drivers rightly hated and feared traffic circles as the speeds were too high safe merging (think 100 kph/60mph). Roundabouts are designed so the traffic moves through at much lower speeds which makes merging much safer. Roundabouts are becoming more common.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        I don't see the distinction. Plus any good roundabout can be taken at 60.

        Except in Marrakech. Roundabouts there are magnificent for very different reasons.

        1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          US traffic circles are intended to be take at traffic speed, usually highway speeds by design. That is what made them dangerous; you are maneuvering to get into the correct exit path at high speeds in minimal distances. Roundabouts are intended to replace other traffic controls and are designed to have much lower speeds while in them.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        Yes, you can "take a roundabout" at 60mph. The landing on the other side can be a bit damaging though :-)

        1. David 132 Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          A good friend of mine did that, albeit somewhat less spectacularly, in his company Transit many years ago, somewhere near Whitchurch Shropshire. He was fine; the van was never quite the same afterwards.

      3. parlei

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        That -- 100 km/h traffic circles -- sounds like someone asked "how can we make it worse?". IIRC from Sweden roundabout sometimes *increase* traffic accidents, but almost all of them are minor, which is the idea: a bunch of slightly broken cars are better than some seriously harmed people.

    2. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: Removing distraction = good

      Americans and roundabouts…

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDaQZUzJCNM&feature=youtu.be

      Btw anyone got a handy reference guide to adding hyperlinks to register comments?

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        Why, yes... Yes I do.

        (look for the formatting section)

      2. AndrueC Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        Btw anyone got a handy reference guide to adding hyperlinks to register comments?

        You just have to use HTML. Surely all El Reg commentards know HTML, hmm?

        :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          "Surely all El Reg commentards know HTML, hmm?"

          Nope. Never used it in my entire career. Now retired, and have no intention to learn either.

      3. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        Btw anyone got a handy reference guide to adding hyperlinks to register comments?

        Try here.....

      4. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        You mean like this? Basic HTML, unfortunately, I have some problems showing the code, though <Ctrl>-u should do so.

        1. KBeee Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          Doesn't <Ctrl>-u make you an Evil Hacker in a certain Southern US state?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Removing distraction = good

            "Control You" - certain Southern States would call you a commie for that!

    3. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: Removing distraction = good

      "safety would be massively improved by simply adopting modern roundabouts"

      There are lots of accidents on UK roundabouts, caused by folks not adhering to the 'give way to the right' rule due to impatience or belief they're better drivers than they are. And mini roundabouts can be lethal, particularly where side roads intersect, as drivers on the main road commonly plough through regardless at high speed.

      No physical intersection design (even drop down barriers) will prevent accidents caused by stupidity. To prevent such accidents, we need drivers with higher technical competence and more courtesy. That can only come from better training and more rigorous enforcement (not necessarily more severe penalties but much greater chance of getting caught)..

      1. AndrueC Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        There are lots of accidents on UK roundabouts, caused by folks not adhering to the 'give way to the right' rule due to impatience or belief they're better drivers than they are

        Of course, but you appear to be guilty of the classic human fallacy known as a false dilemma. The original poster wrote that roundabouts are a lot safer (which they are) but you appear to have conflated 'a lot safer' with 'nothing ever goes wrong' which is the fallacy at play.

        No physical intersection design (even drop down barriers) will prevent accidents caused by stupidity. To prevent such accidents..

        Just because roundabouts don't completely prevent incidents(*) doesn't mean that they aren't worthy of praise for what they do achieve.

        (*)I dislike using 'accident' to describe problems on the road. 'Accident' implies something that just happens whereas most 'accidents' are the result of specific human decisions. There is nothing 'accidental' about most road crashes.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          Yes, roundabouts are prone to some accidents, but they tend to be low speed and less damaging accidents.

          1. Chris G Silver badge

            Re: Removing distraction = good

            "Yes, roundabouts are prone to some accidents, but they tend to be low speed and less damaging accidents."

            Depends on where you are, some years back a dual carriageway was built from Ibiza town to San Antonio on the other side of the island.

            For all intents and purposes it was an autopiste aside from the four or five roundabouts that interupted high speed driving plus a couple of pedestrian crossings. For the first year there were regular scenes of mangled cars embedded in the roundabouts in spite of them being comon on Spanish roads the locals and many tourists just couldm't get used to roundabouts on what looked like a motorway.

        2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          'Accident' implies something that just happens whereas most 'accidents' are the result of specific human decisions. There is nothing 'accidental' about most road crashes.

          'Accident' implies unintentional or unforeseen (the OED says "In generalized use: an unfortunate and typically unforeseen event", not unforeseeable. Most road collisions (except those involving large numbers of young men and whiplash claims) are unforeseen and therefore accidents.

          That they could have been foreseen is another matter, but let's not conflate "accident" with "Act of God".

        3. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          "Of course, but you appear to be guilty of the classic human fallacy known as a false dilemma."

          Not at all. I was challenging the adjective 'massively', for which there's no apparent evidence, particularly in view of the significant number of collisions that do occur at roundabouts. In any case, my observation was merely, to quote Chesley Sullenberger, "technology is no substitute for experience, skill and judgment" (or for courtesy).

          It's quite disappointing how often those that disagree with posts here (particularly those who've entirely missed the point being made) stoop to ad hominem responses instead of offering objective counter-argument.

          1. sorry, what?

            Re: Removing distraction = good

            When you read statistics from US states that have introduced modern roundabouts, like fatalities reduced by 87%, I think (personally) that is a massive improvement. Sure, RTAs still happen but since speeds are generally so much lower they are more about property damage than death.

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Removing distraction = good

            "In any case, my observation was merely, to quote Chesley Sullenberger, "technology is no substitute for experience, skill and judgment" (or for courtesy)."

            The problem is, sometimes, that's all you've got. We have to deal with Stupid all the time, and Stupid unfortunately, tends to take others with them. My #1 rebuttal for the spike in steering wheel is to ask if he's willing to let his/her significant other drive one knowing a ghost driver (stupid or suicidal) could do a head-on at any time, regardless of the driver's skill, spike be damned.

      2. John Robson Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        So since idiocy is the main problem we should get rid of the nut behind the wheel...

        1. IGotOut Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          nut behind the wheel...

          Don't do that, you'll find it really hard to steer.

      3. nematoad Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        "There are lots of accidents on UK roundabouts..."

        Yes, you are right about that.

        I remember driving back from, I think Montrose to Glasgow, on a road that was new to me when I nearly came a cropper. There were two roundabouts joined in a sort of figure of eight, something I had never seen before and I was on the second roundabout before I knew it. Luckily there wasn't much traffic about and I just missed some oncoming vehicles.

        There was a small sign warning of the roundabouts but it did not indicate that the two were joined in the way they were.

        Just remembering it gives me the shivers as I was driving my Mini Cooper S and would have had little or no chance if someone had driven into the side of the car.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          I live in the vicinity of Hemel Hempstead. That's one of the two most notorious "Magic Roundabout"s in the UK, the other being Swindon. These are bi-directional very large roundabouts made up from lots of smaller roundabouts.

          There are also several "elongateabouts" in the area as well. They like driving to be challenging around here I think.

          1. shade82000

            Re: Removing distraction = good

            I live in the vicinity of Hemel Hempstead too and was scared of the roundabout at first but after a few runs you get used to it. It's much easier after realising it's just a group of smaller roundabouts that happen to be arranged in a circle.

            It taught me one thing - that you can be the best driver in the world but 90% of it is avoiding other people (a skill that can never be learned to any degree of certainty). Not everybody knows the layout of the road they're on, some people are just dumb and unobservant. I don't know which are which so I give everyone more room.

            I had a gf from Southend once and she drove me around a similar one near where she lived saying it was really bad (Five Bells Roundabout I think?). I then showed her the one near me. HH and Swindon may be the most notorious but they definitely aren't the only ones.

            1. nematoad Silver badge

              Re: Removing distraction = good

              "... they definitely aren't the only one."

              For roundabout connoisseurs I would like to give the Whirlies roundabout in East Kilbride an honourable mention.

              I was horrified when I first tried to navigate it but after a while it became second nature but it was always a bit fraught, for me at least.

              The alternative are traffic lights and if anyone has seen Coppins Bridge in Newport Isle of Wight I think that they will agree that roundabouts are better.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          That was on the Kingsway of Dundee, since been replaced by an similarly bizarre set of lights due to the staggered junction where it is not really manageable as a normal one.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        I can think of at least one local road junction which needs a roundabout or possibly a pair of mini-roundabouts. The frequent accidents there are mostly, if not entirely, the consequence of the appalling sight lines.

      5. Confused of Tadley

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        I remember about 10 years ago in Dhaka Bangladesh a level crossing (railroad crossing in US?) across a major road near Uttara had 4 sets of barriers. Apparently vehicles often broke through the barrier trying to beat the train. Rather than leave the crossing with no barrier for a day or two, barrier set 2 would be activated. And if necessary barrier set 3 then 4. Last time I was there it had been replaced with an overbridge. Much safer but less fun.

        1. seven of five

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          > Apparently vehicles often broke through the barrier trying to beat the train.

          I must admit, this is an idea I would not ever come up with. Not even on a bicycle I'd dare to bypass the barrier. Breaking though? Regulary (enough for the council to set up multiple barriers!) Amazing. And terrifying.

          1. Cederic Silver badge

            Re: Removing distraction = good

            Bypass the barrier on a bicycle? No. Try and beat it, cutting it so fine it drags down your back as it comes down? It would be sacrilege not to.

            They've since blocked that level crossing, and didn't even replace it with a bridge. Two mile detour because the council were too tight fisted to pay for it doing properly.

      6. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        There are lots of accidents on UK roundabouts ...

        Are there really? I ask because when I stop to think about it, I've seen very few accidents of any sort in recent decades. Roundabouts or no. And the few I've seen while driving or on TV seem mostly to result from slippery roads, booze (apparently no tree is safe in the wee hours of the morning), and/or poor judgement about following distance or passing clearances on highways.

        When was the last time I actually saw or heard about an accident at an intersection? I really can't remember. Many, many years ago for sure.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          I'm on the road a lot, every day. Mainly motorways, and yes, I'd say the number of accidents I see are down quite a bit over the years. But they still happen. I've been stuck in queues due to accidents, and seen the queues on the other carriageway due to accidents. Just the other week there was one on a normal road junction, must've happened just a minute or two before I got there. Luckily, all was in hand, nothing extra I could contribute to help and I could still make a right turn and detour around it.

          Despite the number of accidents on major routes, and the amount of driving I do, it's actually quite rare in those places. The worst locations are busy cities and large towns, especially the evening rush hour in Winter. People in a hurry to get home in the dark, often on wet roads. It's scary how many people don't realise they forgot to turn on their lights because the dashboard is always lit and headlamps on a wet road don't reflect back up to the driver much. Fortunately, in real terms it's a small number of people and one of they few benefits of automatic headlights.

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          Take an inherently safe road and make it less safe - the handiwork of Highways EnglandNational Highways in their rollout of SmartDumb Motorways

    4. Martin
      Happy

      Re: Removing distraction = good

      Talking of roundabouts - my aunt was once on a driving lesson, and she came up to a roundabout. "Go straight across this roundabout", said the instructor. So my aunt did - up one side, and down the other. As she bumped off the roundabout and back onto the road, the instructor said "I don't think you're quite ready for your test yet, Madam..."

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        My friend from Guildford was on his driving test in the US, in a state that had just had its first roundabout installed.

        Having learned to drive in the UK and being a successful race driver in his spare time the US driving test was always going to be a formality. Until he reached the roundabout.

        In typical British fashion he came off the accelerator as he approached it, saw it was clear, hit the apex of his lane and was accelerating off the roundabout while the car behind him was still coming to a stop before going onto it.

        The driving examiner turned to him in shock. "So that's how they work!"

    5. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Removing distraction = good

      Downvoted because in my opinion safety of SMALL roundabouts is wildly oversold. The places where they work well are largely places where signals or a multiple way stop would work equally well. The big problem is that there is no way to tell if a car approaching around the roundabout on the driver's side is going to turn onto the street the driver is coming from or will continue into the space the driver will be turning into. Turn signals? They'd likely help a lot. If drivers used them properly. But proper usage would need to be 100%. It's nowhere near that. And in some more complicated geometries, it's far from obvious what proper usage would be

      Caveat. My objection doesn't apply so much to large roundabouts (although the signage on the one large roundabout in my area is so poor that traffic there doesn't flow smoothly if anybody from out of town is trying to navigate it). Roundabouts will presumably be fine in about forty years when (almost) all vehicles will probably be able to talk to each other, ascertain intentions, and negotiate passage. (But what about vehicles with no or failing communicaiton gear, or heavy fog or rain or smoke or snow that impedes V2V communication?)

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        I have a theory about the mini roundabout epidemic.

        I think it all started when they relaxed the rule about bringing coffee mugs into the drawing room of the local authority road planners.

      2. Ace2 Silver badge

        Re: Removing distraction = good

        If you’re reacting to the other car’s turn signal (or not), you’re doing it wrong. If there’s a car in that quarter of the circle, don’t pull out.

        It’s the only decision you need to make on a roundabout.

        They fixed a dangerous intersection near me with a roundabout; it’s much improved. Only serious incident so far was a drunk guy in a truck vaulting over the island and ending up in a living room on the other side.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Removing distraction = good

          If a vehicle is indicating to leave the roundabout via the exit before yours, then it's perfectly reasonable to begin to move onto the roundabout. It's the LACK of indication that's an issue. There's one notoriously choked up piece of road near me and through flow could be 10-15% higher if drivers indicated to leave the roundabout allowing vehicles entering to move forwards and into their exit lane (which is an immediate left for them).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Removing distraction = good

            I don't think indicators are a standard feature on every vehicle. I'm not sure if my van has them for example. Never used them :-)

            1. seven of five

              Re: Removing distraction = good

              Oh, they are, alas most german manufacturers charge the buyer to convert them to RHD, therefore preventing their owners from using them.

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: Removing distraction = good

                I thought there was a problem with Audis but then I realised that the TFSI in the name stood for This Fucker Seldom Indicates.

  4. BebopWeBop
    Facepalm

    Obscuring the display panel and allowing the driver to play

    What could possibly go wrong?

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Obscuring the display panel and allowing the driver to play

      Especially true on the Model 3 and Model Y. The screen is where the cars speed is displayed. If Tesla had more [cough][cough] advanced features such as a HUD then it would not matter but I'm sure that PLOD would not take kindly to you explaining that you couldn't tell your speed because a passenger was playing GTA-V or something.

      There is an option to allow the passenger to play games/watch videos that other makers have adopted and that is to use the features of the screen to give the passenger a different field of view on the screen to the driver.

      IMHO, they are just too cheapskate to do this.

      I do drive an EV but not a computer on wheels AKA Tesla.

  5. xyz

    Ffs

    So, why buy a tesla when all you do is sit, play games and arse around whilst something else does the driving. Bus tickets are cheaper.

    1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

      Re: Ffs

      Do you know how difficult it is to bring a body wrapped in a carpet roll on to a bus with you? Coming home all covered in blood & guts is also a real PITA on a bus, what with all those other passengers screaming & trying to scramble out the windows.

      *Sighs & shakes head*

      You would think nobody has ever seen a butcher's apron, a butcher knife, & a gore splattered facemask before.

      =-D

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    What is the point ?

    Everyone has a mobile phone these days. If they want to play, they've already got a screen.

    A car is for driving. Yes, it is boring, but the driver needs to keep his eyes on the road, especially if he doesn't want to kill anyone. Not to mention not die.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: What is the point ?

      Yes, it is boring

      Not if you're paying attention. I like to drive efficiently and for the most part that means minimising my use of the brakes. To do that requires good acceleration sense and an awareness of what's going on around me so that I can predict the actions of others.

      I find driving to be interesting. It's like a never ending soap opera. I sometimes go out for a drive because I'm bored and want something to do.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: What is the point ?

        I find driving creep-forward stop start in heavy traffic as uninteresting as it is possible to be.

        I find the 100% focus you need when a road is crowded but the traffic is still moving at high speed to be very tiring. Add to that the wet conditions and low visibility, I will do all I can to avoid driving.

        Nothing interesting about it after all these years. When I was a new driver maybe, now it's just 100% trying to get to my destination without incident.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What is the point ?

          So much to unpack..

          1 - heavy traffic. This is probably the only situation in which I appreciate modern "driver assistance" features because they work. Proximity radar and line assist help in dense traffic - especially when stop/start queues form. It's aslo handy on motorways because you can set your maximum speed and let the car take care of managing your speed relative to traffic (provided the assist has brains. The one on, for instance, Hyundai is *way* too sensitive for my liking, and keeps to lanes instead to adjacent traffic which is not fun when you're approaching an HGV with a wide load. But I digress). That leaves you free to focus on keeping situational awareness current and navigate/strategise and manage risk.

          2 - wet conditions. OK, this mostly applies to speeds above 70 km/h, but if you have your windshields coated with rain repellent (Glaco from Soft99 is IMHO the best as it lasts for nine months) rain will not have a major impact on your ability to see, as a matter of fact, the harder it rains the better it works to the point of not needing your wipers at all (also useful when overtaking HGVs as your vision doesn't get washed). However, keep in mind that it doesn't magically improves the grip you have on the road. Also, keep screenwipers fresh (the aformentioned coating also helps keeping them longer), you'd be amazed at what a difference a decent pair of screenwipers can make. I have been using these coatings for over 30 years now, and frankly, I wouldn't want to drive without them anymore.

          3 - 100% focus. The reality is that none of us can maintain that for hours, and this is where I intensely dislike the Tesla approach which actively encourages distraction. To be honest, I deem even the Apple Play thing where it reads you incoming text messages and lets you dictate replies unhelpful (not helped by the fact that you have to focus on formulating a message that the speech recognition actually correctly picks up) - I disabled it after a few times. When I am driving, I am driving. Music, news, traffic information, GPS instructions, that's the only extra input I want, the rest is a distraction and thus dangerous to address when mobile.

          I still like driving, and I appreciate the help that newer driver tools provide. That doesn't mean I'll let them do the driving for me, though - they merely make my life easier as a driver.

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: What is the point ?

            modern "driver assistance" features because they work. Proximity radar and line assist help in dense traffic - especially when stop/start queues form.

            No. I have these. They are crap in heavy traffic. They are influenced constantly by the actions of other drivers and when there are a lot of cars close together then they become ridiculous. They are only really good for less dense traffic. Incidentally, the wide load overhanging your lane would cause the car to brake, not continue to try to pass. I would expect not to be lane keeping in a lane that has an obstruction in it anyway, a driver's responsibility.

            if you have your windshields coated with rain repellent

            I have no problem seeing through my windscreen, the wipers in good condition will keep it clear enough. Fog and spray, though, are a different matter.

            100% focus. The reality is that none of us can maintain that for hours,

            It's still needed and it's still our duty to try.

            The roads are an awful place to drive these days, and certainly no playground. There's no way I'm going driving without a real need. I avoid it a lot. I've also mentioned a few reasons, I haven't touched on the worst one yet, the behaviour of other road users.

      2. Martin
        Happy

        Re: What is the point ?

        I think the "Yes, it is boring" was referring to the experience of the passenger.

    2. TRT Silver badge

      Re: What is the point ?

      It is only disabled in the FRONT bit of the car, It's fine in the back. Isn't that where you are supposed to sit when you have autopilot turned on?

  7. BJC

    Soft controls

    While they're at it, what about redesigning the user interface to avoid soft, screen based controls? I haven't been in a Tesla but reports suggest that a screen is the centre of controlling things. Unfortunately, other manufacturers are headed this way too. It's a terrible idea. With hard, physical controls I can place my hand near the control and then get the right control through touch, without looking away from the road. With screen based controls, I have to look at the screen to see what I'm about to touch. Why would I want to remove my eyes from the road to select the Radio 4 button?

    Why don't they legislate for this?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Soft controls

      While they're at it, what about redesigning the user interface to avoid soft, screen based controls?

      This should be market driven, but seems to be manufacturers driving the market. I'm incredulous that car makers push this stuff. If people just stopped buying cars that use this approach, then it would stop. But they won't.

      Some car makers, notably Honda, have put the controls back on rotary knobs, as well as on the steering wheel. I think anything you need whilst driving, with the arguable exception of sat nav, is on proper controls or on the steering wheel.

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Soft controls

      > While they're at it, what about redesigning the user interface to avoid soft, screen based controls?

      I too hate 'soft' controls - at least for anything that's likely to be used while driving.

      However, I do understand why manufacturers like them.

      Buttons, dials, knobs, sliders, switches spread around the cockpit (door handle, stalks, steering wheel, left and right sides of the wheel, center console (high, middle, low), etc.), in addition to the switches themselves, requires cutouts (more complex design and/or labour), running wiring to those controls (much labour, look at the frequent troubles both Boeing and Airbus have had with wiring runs on aircraft - a different scale I know, but it shows wiring runs can be difficult), wiring looms (both price of the part and labour to wire up, and common points for QC issues), and so on.

      There can literally be a thousand dollar difference in manufacturing using a simple (but terribly bad UI design) setup like a Tesla vs having a lot of hard controls. And that doesn't count maintenance/warranty issues of failed switches and the costs in fixing them - as 20 moving parts will have a higher failure rate than a screen with touch controls. A central control system like a Tesla's is much easier to repair - just pull the entire thing out and put in a new (refurbed) one, and take the faulty one to an electronics repair shop and refurb to use as repair replacements or toss out (well, hopefully recyle).

      It is literally a cost vs good human interface design equation.

      1. BJC

        Re: Soft controls

        I agree the the decisions are likely made on a cost basis, although I suspect that there are aesthetic considerations too. I'd agree that the interior can look a lot neater if everything is screen based. However, these things shouldn't be allowed if they reduce safety. Legislation would level the playing field.

        Of course, it might be difficult to define in a way that continues to allow evolution of improvements.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Soft controls

          > However, these things shouldn't be allowed if they reduce safety.

          Like this? (selective quoting, follow link for full article and context)

          Tesla’s wiper controls are ruled illegal in Germany after someone crashed while using them

          Tesla’s wiper controls through its touchscreen have been ruled illegal in Germany after someone crashed their Model 3 while using them and fought a fine and driving ban through the court system.

          ...

          If the driver wants to adjust the speed, they need to do it through the center touchscreen.

          The driver in Germany was adjusting those settings when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

          A local district court gave him a fine and a one-month driving ban and that’s where the problem started for Tesla.

      2. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Soft controls

        Some controls can be integrated into a touch screen, but one that are used all of the time are better as fixed buttons/knobs. I also don't like everything being routed to a center mounted screen. Part of the reason is years of glancing down to see the speedo/fuel gauge. A HUD is great since I wouldn't be taking my eyes off of the road at all.

        Some of the best priced EV's are in China where some companies have eschewed long list of bells and whistles to produce a car that does the job of getting you from A to B. Most of the "features" are manufacturers taking all of the dreck that everybody else is doing and adding a few more on top. The vast majority of those features are useless. I don't want to spend an extra £10,000 to entertain my non-existent passengers with animations of powerflow or some other useless display.

    3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Re: Soft controls

      As I recall, the original release of BMW's iDrive software require the driver to navigate down seven levels of menu just to change the radio volume. That's some mighty fine user interface design work there, Lou.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Soft controls

        Clearly you were supposed to set the volume once and then accept the auto volume level based on speed that the designers focus groups say is ideal for everyone for the perfect listening experience. How dare you disagree and want to set your own volume levels!!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Soft controls

      I dislike Tesla especially because they don't put even the speedo right in front of you - you have to take your eyes far off the road to do anything.

      As for soft controls, I actually think that wave has passed. The VAG group seems to be returning to a number of physical controls for functions that should be directly accessible if I can take the newest Audi and Volkswage cockpits as indicator, and the dashboard and controls of the newest Range Rover interior also go back to physical buttons (yes, I am looking at buying a new car :) ).

      That doesn't mean they will fully go, but anything that's buried to deep will take your eyes off the road for longer than is safe (in this context I'm also a big fan of simple HUDs) and I think reality has finally returned to car UI design.

      Plus, all this shiny stuff gets quite dirty with all them fingerprints.. :).

    5. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Soft controls

      Never mind all that. I still haven't forgiven them for moving the dipswitch from the footwell alongside the clutch to the stearing column.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Soft controls

        Oh yeah, the single best feature of the Mini.

        And probably the only time ever that a cost-down, also made something better

  8. Tom Womack

    At the price charged for Teslas, and the number of GPUs they have in them anyway, wouldn't a second touchscreen in the front mounted somewhere that the passenger can see it but the driver not be a sensible approach? It would also allow the driver's touchscreen to be moved somewhere that the driver isn't having to look away from the centreline to see it.

    1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

      Teslas cost a lot, but they are quite cheaply built. Remember that a £50k Tesla is actually a £25k car wrapped around a £25k battery.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re Teslas cost a lot, but they are quite cheaply built.

        Like most American Cars. All of us who have rented a car in the USofA know how cheaply they are made. Teslas are supposed to be 'premium' vehicles. If they are premium then I'd love to know what a 'basic' car is like.

        I have driven a Model 3 in the US for three weeks and almost 4000 miles. The ride alone put me off ever thinking about buying one. Great on the Freeway but in the mountains? Not good for an expensive car.

        Once upon a time, Tesla was the only game in town. This is not true these days, especially in Europe. It remains to be seen what the output from Tesla Berlin is like. It had better be top quality.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: re Teslas cost a lot, but they are quite cheaply built.

          It's not just build quality that seems to trouble Tesla in Europe (where, admittedly, people are used to Germanic and Japaneses levels of build and paitwork quality which seems to be quite a bit above what Tesla presently manages to provide).

          It's also service and support - car providers and garage networks have created a certain level of availability and expectation that Tesla has as yet not established. I don't know if they can, as far as I can tell there seems to be little enthusiasm for it as it costs money..

        2. MachDiamond Silver badge

          Re: re Teslas cost a lot, but they are quite cheaply built.

          "All of us who have rented a car in the USofA know how cheaply they are made. "

          Hire cars are often bottom of the barrel offerings that have been made specifically for that market. They have to be cheap and devoid of complex interfaces since people won't have much time to figure them out. I've seen some models of cars on the rental websites that I've never heard of before. They wind up on the used market in a couple of years and people with limited budgets will get them, although they are turds.

          I wish there were a specialist rental company near me. I'd like to hire a few different EV's for a week at a time to find out how they go. Tesla isn't even on my long list and that seems to be about the only one I can find to rent.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Teslas cost a lot, but they are quite cheaply built. Remember that a £50k Tesla is actually a £25k car wrapped around a £25k battery."

        Didn't someone just set fire to their Tesla with an Elon Musk effigy inside, a la Guy Fawkes, in protest at the cost of replacing the batteries?

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge

          "Didn't someone just set fire to their Tesla with an Elon Musk effigy inside, a la Guy Fawkes, in protest at the cost of replacing the batteries?"

          They did, but it was a stupid thing to do. Has anybody ever received the best price on parts and service from a dealer?. There are shops that will test the modules in a Tesla battery pack and repair or replace a module that is failing. There are places that sell refurbished/recovered packs at prices much less than a new one from Tesla (and faster than 3 months too). One of the continuing myths is that EV battery packs are going to landfill. Not even close. Second hand packs go for good money if they aren't completely wrecked. I've been looking for a good deal on one for a couple of years and there are none to be had for a price I can afford. A 40kWh pack that started life as a 60kWh pack would work a treat as backup storage at my house. Even at the premium they go for, they are way cheaper than a Tesla Powerwall.

  9. RobThBay

    In vehicle training

    Playing Grand Theft Auto while doing GTA. Sounds perfect.

    1. David Lewis 2
      WTF?

      Re: In vehicle training

      All it would take is a small hack allowing the game to control the auto drive software and you could play GTA for real!

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    WTF?

    I hate Teslas or is it just the drivers of Teslas?

    From a driving point of view... I drove an economy car, not really fast, and I always hated seeing that damn T in my rearview mirror! Are all the Tesla drivers habitually tardy? Get out of my way bub! I'm in a Tesla!! Did they all upgrade from a Beemer??

  11. DrXym Silver badge

    A safety conscious company would never have allowed this

    But this is Tesla. They love to brag about safety and then do things which are obviously antithetical to safety.

    1. MachDiamond Silver badge

      Re: A safety conscious company would never have allowed this

      "They love to brag about safety and then do things which are obviously antithetical to safety."

      I've seen some reported accidents that look much like somebody mashed down on the wrong pedal and just pushed harder still thinking they were on the brake. With a car that goes from 0-100 in less than 8 seconds, they wind up in real trouble before they can react correctly. Couple this happening while also playing a video game and there is a whole new sub-category of Darwin Awards.

  12. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Too cosy?

    "Individuals have expressed criticism over NHTSA’s failure to act prior to the NYT article."

    ***cough*** 737 Max ***cough*** FAA ***cough***

    Or, is Musk the factor?

    choosing to ignore on one side, not enforcing regulations and questioning on the other

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Scam

    Pronounced: Tesla

  14. jollyboyspecial Bronze badge

    That this got past any safety advisory board or even a simple change advisory board is frankly terrifying. If one person asked a simple question like "could this being on screen distract the driver?" Or "could the driver interact with this?" Should have lead to the immediate canning of the feature. That it didn't shows that Tesla need to seriously rethink their development processes from the ground up.

  15. tekHedd

    Can't be trusted

    I particularly hate that drivers can't be trusted to be sensible. I know it's a "distraction" and it's to "save lives" but...I know better than to try to watch a movie while I'm driving. My car won't let you, for example, pair a phone while driving. I get it, the driver will be distracted, but that's why I the passenger, am trying to do it.

    But, no, I'm not being realistic. I'm a freak, an outlier. I see people obviously playing phone games while driving. People can't be trusted with anything: put their foot on the brake while putting the car in gear, wear a seatbelt, look in their blind spots...they will screw it up and then sue the motor company for allowing them to do it. People are incompetent and irresponsible.

    So, the real question is: if we're so incompetent and untrustworthy, why we are allowed to touch the steering wheel at all?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't be trusted

      It's probably seen as a necessary evil, to the point they'll accept a certain level of collateral damage to prevent society itself from imploding. Remember, there's a big push now for driverless cars and from there to removing the idea of car ownership, transitioning instead to ubiquitous transport on demand.

  16. Fursty Ferret

    As someone who spends half the year in the USA, the biggest problem is phone use at the wheel. It's utterly routine and driving down the freeway you'll see somewhere between 20-40% of drivers holding a phone to send messages or browse the web. It's not a criminal offence there and is punishable only by a small (~$20 fine) because it's a "misdemeanour".

    I'd argue that the tiny minority playing Sonic at the wheel of their Muskmobile is a drop in the ocean in terms of relative risk.

  17. HereAndGone

    Safety Issue Fixed in Days - World Complains

    "The investigation [PDF], which was opened on Tuesday..."

    An OTA update fixed the issue for all cars days later.

    Yes it was an error. Tesla obviously agreed it was an error. The issue was fixed in record time.

    Next will be a demand for a RECALL over the now already fixed issue.

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