Elon Musk has suggested that Tesla could use its Autopilot feature to power a game similar to the augmented reality hit Pokémon Go. The CEO suggested over Twitter Sunday that the car’s ability to sense other vehicles could power more than just future versions of autonomous driving software.
Musk’s idea comes as Tesla rolls out the ninth version of its Autopilot-powering car software, which introduces three retro Atari games to the center console of the car. Musk took suggestions for new games back in May, with fan-submitted ideas including Fortnite, Deus Ex and more. The update includes Missile Command, Lunar Lander and Centipede, but Musk expressed interest in more ambitious games that use the car as a controller. One suggested idea was a version of Atari’s Pole Position that uses the actual car’s steering wheel while stationary to move the vehicle on screen. A version of Pokémon Go designed for cars could take this integration to a new level.
Tesla’s Autopilot system uses a combination of cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors to assist the driver in using the car in limited circumstances, like along a highway with the user’s hands on the wheels. One of the quirks of this system is it shows other vehicles around the car on the instrument cluster, sometimes with odd results like this owner that found their car identifying the walls of their garage as a truck.
Pokémon Go took the world by storm in the summer of 2016, with its use of familiar characters in a game that used augmented reality technologies. While a Tesla-powered alternative is unlikely to have the same reach, with only around 200,000 Teslas on the road using the more recent “Hardware 2” Autopilot platform, it could prove a fan favorite in the same way that in-car easter eggs have made an impact on the community.
Musk could expand on his idea closer to the launch of Tesla’s next big software update, which is expected to also include the first signs of support for coast-to-coast autonomous driving.
Of course, there’s always the chance that Musk just follows eSports competitor Tfue’s advice and just bundles in Fortnite with the next release.