Tesla Christmas update: the horn becomes a megaphone

Tesla Christmas update: the horn becomes a megaphone

Tesla Christmas update

As tradition dictates, this year Tesla has released a software update for the Christmas holidays: among the features added thanks to this update there is one that allows you to use your car as a real megaphone.

The update is available on all Tesla models produced from 2019 onwards, as the previous models do not have the external speakers added later - to comply with US regulations on electric vehicles; these regulations, similar to those we also have in Europe, require an electric car to emit a sound at low speeds, when a pedestrian is more likely not to notice the car's presence.

Il video that we report, published on Twitter, shows us how the new feature works: essentially the car speakers are in a position to repeat, with a slight delay and a little distortion, everything that is said inside the car; at the moment it is not clear to us if the distortion of the sound is desired, if it can be removed or if it is a bug.

NEW Tesla Megaphone feature. This is crazy! These cars haha… pic.twitter.com/OB8oI3wwhH

- Ryan Shaw (@ryanshawtech) December 24, 2021

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_motorlabs_d_mh2"); } It is not the first time that Tesla uses the external speakers of its cars creatively: on the occasion of Christmas last year, the Boombox mode was introduced which allowed the car owner to change the standard sound of the horn, loading clips customized - needless to underline how this feature can potentially be very fun, but also dangerous enough if used inappropriately in traffic.

In addition to this substantially useless novelty inserted by Tesla in the latest software update, the company has decided to listen to the rumors of concern that have circulated in recent weeks about the possibility of playing video games with the car in motion, and has decided to block this function by limiting its use to the moments when the car is parked, avoiding even a further investigation by the NHTSA.

Tesla will shut off center console gaming while car is in motion [Updated]

<em>Sky Force Reloaded</em> running on a TeslaEnlarge / Sky Force Reloaded running on a Tesla's central screen while the car is driving down the road.

Update (December 24): Tesla will issue a software update that will prevent games from being played on the infotainment display. The carmaker moved quickly to issue a software update that will roll out to the affected vehicles by Christmas.

“Following the opening of a preliminary evaluation of Tesla’s ‘Passenger Play,’ Tesla informed the agency that it is changing the functionality of this feature,” the safety agency said in a statement. “In a new software update, ‘Passenger Play’ will now be locked and unusable when the vehicle is in motion.”

Original story (December 22): 

Earlier this month, we covered a software update issued by Tesla that allowed games to be played on the infotainment display while the car was in motion. We pointed out at the time that this new capability would likely draw the attention of state and federal regulators. To no one's surprise, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Wednesday announced a formal safety investigation over the update.

According to the NHTSA, the feature has been around since December 2020 for Teslas equipped with 'Passenger Play.' Prior to that, games could only be played on the center screen when the vehicle was in park.


The NHTSA's investigation covers approximately 580,000 Tesla Model S, 3, X, and Y vehicles spanning model years 2017 through 2021. The agency said it will be evaluating 'aspects of the feature, including the frequency and use scenarios of Tesla 'Passenger Play.''

Tesla does warn against gaming while driving. When Passenger Play is activated, a warning pops up on the screen: 'Use of Touch Arcade while the vehicle is in motion is only for passengers. Please check local laws prior to playing.' With at least 34 states having 'video screen restriction' laws as of 2014, gaming via Passenger Play would appear to be broadly illegal. In addition, the NHTSA issued guidelines for front-row displays back in 2013, saying that 'displaying images or video not related to driving… will inherently interfere with a driver's ability to safely operate the vehicle.'

Tesla is also under investigation by the NHTSA over 12 instances where vehicles using Tesla's Autopilot driver assistance system crashed into emergency vehicles pulled over to the side of the road. Those crashes have led to at least 17 injuries and at least one death. That investigation covers 765,000 Teslas built between 2014 and 2021.

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