Questions about the videogame function follow earlier NHTSA probes of systems at Elon Musks’ electric vehicle company centered on the controversial “Autopilot” driver-assistance program.
NHTSA said it has confirmed that the gaming function has been available since December 2020 in many Tesla vehicles, after only being enabled in park mode on earlier autos.
The investigation will question whether a function intended for use by a front seat passenger “may distract the driver and increase the risk of a crash,” NHTSA said.
NHTSA undertook the probe following a customer complaint earlier this year.
“Why is a manufacturer allowed to create an inherently distracting live video which takes over two-thirds of the screen which the driver relies on for all vehicle information?,” said a complaint from Lake Oswego, Oregon.
“NHTSA needs to prohibit all live video in the front seat and all live interactive web browsing while the car is in motion. Creating a dangerous distraction for the driver is recklessly negligent.”
Despite various controversies, shares of Tesla have soared over the last two years, making Musk the world’s richest person, according to Forbes.