Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainabili Ioanna is a writer at TNW. She covers the full spectrum of the European tech ecosystem, with a particular interest in startups, sustainability, green tech, AI, and EU policy. With a background in the humanities, she has a soft spot for social impact-enabling technologies.
A mere week after it was forced to slash the FSD’s rolling stop function, Tesla is recalling yet another feature of its vehicles.
This time, it’s something called Boombox that caught the eye of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
What’s wrong with Boombox, you ask? I’ll allow this tweet to explain:
Change your horn sound to ?, ??, ? or holiday jingles with latest Tesla software update!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 25, 2020
Because, hell, who in their right minds would want their car to make a boring ol’ horn sound? That’s totally passé. Especially if your vehicle can sound like a goat, a lion, or a FART. Or, indeed, any other type of audio you’d like.
The thing is, EV horn honks serve a more important purpose than the occasional flex or joke that Boombox enables.
Let’s keep in mind that electric vehicles are quiet, for which reason they’re required to emit some sort of sound at low speeds so pedestrians can hear them.
According to the NHTSA’s filing, the Boombox function “may obscure the Pedestrian Warning System (PWS) sounds.” And, potentially, distract pedestrians as well.
Let’s be honest: a goat bleat would definitely muddle an EV’s warning noise. And yes, if I heard a loud fart while crossing a street, I’m more likely to stop and find where it’s coming from instead of getting the fuck out of the way.
And, as federal regulations prohibit manufacturers from “altering or modifying the sound-emitting capability of the Pedestrian Warning System,” Tesla has once again succumbed to the NHTSA’s demands.
As a result, the EV maker will have to recall the feature in 578,607 Teslas through an over-the-air update.
Genuinely? I’m bummed. Now I’ll never know the joy of walking down a street filled with Teslas making farmyard sounds. Yes, my life is a bit safer, but at what cost?
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