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Driver was playing video games at time of fatal Tesla Model X Autopilot accident

The National Transportation Safety Board recently revealed that the victim of a Tesla SUV crash was playing a game on his smartphone with the vehicle in Autopilot when he crashed.


It’s amazing to think that technology has come to the point where smart driver assistance systems in vehicles like the Tesla can autopilot the car, but we’re nowhere near being able to take our eyes off the road as they do. That was the unfortunate lesson demonstrated in a fatal Tesla Model X accident from 2018 where it was recently revealed that the driver was playing a game on his smartphone with the vehicle on autopilot when he crashed and was killed.

It was in March 2018 that Apple Engineer Walter Huang was driving his Tesla Model X. As reported by NBC, Walter had the vehicle in Autopilot Mode while he was playing a smartphone game. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the vehicle autopilot systems became confused when it passed through a paved area between the freeway travel lanes and an exit ramp. The vehicle pulled to the left at 71 miles-per-hour, its forward collision system did not alert Huang, and the emergency brake did not engage. Huang did not brake either. Many factors were reportedly involved, but the fact that Huang was playing a game at the time was only just revealed.

Tesla has stated that that Autopilot in its vehicles is only intended to assist drivers, not yet take over entirely for them, and that drivers must be expected to take control at any moment to deal with whatever issue may arise. The NTSB has argued that this is not enough and that Tesla needs to create better monitoring systems to more effectively force drivers to pay attention. The NTSB has made recommendations to several vehicle makers, including lockout systems that would keep cellphone games from being played while driving and alert systems that would pull driver attention back to the road. According to the NTSB, only Tesla has ignored these recommendations.

Tesla continues to be a growingly popular vehicle brand, with Tesla stocks having recently reached an all-time high just three weeks ago. Despite some setbacks, the vehicles continue to be a trendsetter in electric car design. Even so, it should come as no surprise: Teslas are not yet advanced enough to drive for you while you play video games, so don’t. [Featured Image via NBC Bay Area]

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
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      February 25, 2020 3:26 PM


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      February 25, 2020 3:53 PM

      What a clickbait headline.

      This is very much implying it was a Tesla dashboard game and not on their mobile phone, what the actual fuck?

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        February 25, 2020 4:39 PM

        uhhh did we read the same headline? doesn't say anything about a Tesla dashboard game, how did you get that? was the headline updated after your post?

        the summary even says "The National Transportation Safety Board recently revealed that the victim of a Tesla SUV crash was playing a game on his smartphone with the vehicle in Autopilot when he crashed."

        I honestly can't see how this is clickbaity in the least

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        February 25, 2020 4:57 PM

        You know you can’t play games on the center screen while the car is in drive?

      • Zek legacy 10 years legacy 20 years
        February 25, 2020 5:53 PM

        Not really, most people don't even know that exists.

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        February 25, 2020 6:07 PM

        Lol no it's not

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        February 25, 2020 6:22 PM

        I interpreted the headline as he is playing Video games at home, while in the Jacuzzi, remotely piloting his Tesla, through his google glass and accidentally piloted his own car into the backyard and straight through his jacuzzi.

        Surely that's the only logical way to interpret the headline, no?

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        February 26, 2020 4:07 AM

        Sorry dude, not seeing it

    • reply
      February 26, 2020 5:38 AM

      They died doing what they loved

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