Musk: Pole Position Using Steering Wheel, Other Games Coming To Tesla

AUG 1 2018 BY C SMITH 22

The car’s actual steering wheel would serve as the controller.

Whether you love or hate Elon Musk, you have to give the guy credit for some creative thinking. The head of Tesla took to Twitter today to drop a bit of a gaming bombshell for the company’s upcoming V9.0 software update, which is slated to hit cars in about four weeks according to the tweet. Among the various tweaks will apparently be a few classic Atari games, with the great-grandfather of modern racing titles possibly among them. We’re speaking of Pole Position, and if Musk gets his way you’ll be able to play the game using the Tesla’s own steering wheel.

It should be noted that Musk prefaces this by saying “hoping to include” these games. Specifically, he’s referencing another tweet that mentions several games; along with Pole Position, he identifies Tempest and Missile Command as being potential candidates for the update. Other games could certainly be possible, and with Musk’s shout-out to Atari in the tweet it would seem the long-time computer company is on-board with the fun. Additionally, it seems Tesla is keen to get unique game content into its cars, as Musk also tweeted job opportunities for game developers.

If all this talk of games in cars seems like a tremendous distraction, you’re not wrong. However, many vehicles with rear-seat infotainment systems already offer such things, not to mention the ability to connect a game console. Musk does mention – obviously – that Pole Position would only be playable while stationary. We assume that would hold true for all games; we’re fairly certain the motoring public isn’t ready for an autonomous car that lets drivers have a go at Pac-Man while rolling down the highway.

Speaking of autonomous driving, enhancements to Autopilot are also expected in the V9.0 update, along with dash cams and something called “party & camper mode” that will allow a range of systems to be kept active while parked for 48 hours.

All in all it sounds like the forthcoming update should pack quite a lot for Tesla owners. And if Twitter is any indication, the inclusion of games might even draw in some new buyers. Combined with the reported record sales for the Model 3 in July, things could be starting to turn around at Tesla after a rocky first half of 2018.

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22 Comments on "Musk: Pole Position Using Steering Wheel, Other Games Coming To Tesla"

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I learned how to drive from Pole Position. Damn hairpin curve….

Scott Franco

OMG funny

Scott Franco

Actually, on a practical note, if Tesla could give us side camera views, I’d be very happy. My home space parking is really tight, I could really use it.

MTN Ranger

My wife pointed that out yesterday when we were parking my Model 3 in the city. Her Murano has around-view which makes parking a breeze. You can instantly see that the car is within parking lines and correctly aligned on curbs.

Mister G


David Murray

I’m curious about something.. So if you use the car’s steering wheel, doesn’t that mean it would be turning the tires of the car the whole time you play the game? I mean, there is no way to actually disconnect the steering wheel from the steering rack, right? So, that seems kind of crazy, and long term probably not good on the steering system and tires.


No, it is basically a joystick. Either they disengage it, or it is entirely a software interface. All I know is that if I put weight on my steering wheel when I get out of my car, it doesn’t move the wheels.


Steering wheels on every car are directly connected to the wheels – it’s a safety feature. If you turn your car off moving the wheels is very difficult because it’s not assisted at that point. At this point I don’t think it would even be legal to have drive by wire steering. Even if you had drive by wire steering you would still need to have a mechanical backup if you had no power. Or it would have to have some alternate supply of power for emergency situations. Also for performance cars it would really isolate the driver from the road which many people would not like.


The most practical use for this would be to play while destination charging…


That was my first thought as well — except I was thinking Supercharging… The point of destination charging is that you have a reason to be there in the first place.


Most probably this would entail using the steering wheel control wheels as a gamepad.


“Hoping to include last three in this release, with pole position linked to actual car steering wheel (while stationary tbc haha)”

Will that be possible? I had read that at least in the U.S., auto makers were required to make a direct mechanical connection between steering wheel and the wheels, contrary to older plans for every control being “fly-by-wire” in an EV skateboard platform. Unless there is some sort of “clutch” in the linkage, it wouldn’t be possible to turn the wheel without, well, turning the wheels!

Scott Franco

I tried the car in park, the steering wheel turns the tires when parked. There is also that teardown video going on. I don’t think they are going to find it a good idea to be turning the tires on dry ground while playing the game.

Game over!

I really really hope this does not indicate what Elon knows about the technical details of his car…

Kind A Wierd

Engineers were actually paid to develop this – what a fantastic waste of time, resources, and money. It’s stuff like this that makes it so hard to take Musk seriously, and there just doesn’t seem to be any end in sight to this sort of Millennial-y silliness from him or his company.

Some Guy

To integrate a many decades old video game into a modern software environment does require some work, but not much. I mean, there are browser games and the like around of those.
So you pay a few weeks for a few software guys as a side project (which itself can be a motivation for nerds), and in return you get worldwide news coverage “Tesla puts computer games in all cars!”. Millions of people will read it, and talk about it, adding even more coolness to the Tesla brand.


Are you also going to complain about the “Easter eggs” that Tesla embeds in its Model S and Model X menus?

I think it’s great that Tesla has a sense of humor! It’s a very healthy sign that a company is willing to spend just a bit of time and resources on things which are fun. It’s also good for promoting positive social media comments — free advertising!

Go Tesla!

Mister G

C’MON MAN GIVE TESLA A BREAK…what if all teslas get a free porn app that is undetectable by spouses lol would you complain about that? CONNECT THE DOTS ON CLEAN AIR WAKE UP FOLKS thanks


bro, just think of it as advertising spending. Millennials buy cars to. Not everything in the world is done to appeal to you personally.

As for resources, it could have been a great project for an intern as far as we know. Good way to learn the API’s without getting into critical systems.


Perhaps code in a Jim Chanos speed bump… extra points if drivin over…


Focus on the important stuff Elon, we don’t need the car to be a gaming platform too. We need deliveries and profitability.


To clarify, there are plenty of features the M3 OS needs (don’t lock at home?) before this.

MTN Ranger

Ughh, if Elon would only look at how awful the USB media player is (has been for years). No shuffle, no resume, no memory of what it was doing when the car gets shut off, sorts songs only by name and not track number, etc. Just place one software guy on this, please.