You can now play Sonic in your Tesla car

The original Sonic games are being ported to systems as often as Doom these days, and the blue blur has now come to Tesla's cars.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed that Sonic 1, released in June of 1991 for the Sega Genesis console, is coming to its fleet of cars. But Musk didn't give a date as to when you'd be able to play through Green Hill Zone in your car.

With the huge screens that every Tesla has, it makes sense for games alongside Netflix to be loaded on, especially if you have kids sitting in the back.

But there's already some games that you can currently play before Sonic arrives.

What else can you play on your Tesla?

There's a few games currently available that can help the long drive if you're able to go somewhere for the Christmas holidays.

The USB port near the screen can also accept a controller with a USB port, so an 8BitDo Pro 2 or DualSense controller can be plugged in to play the following:

  • Cuphead
  • Stardew Valley
  • Fallout Shelter
  • Cat Quest
  • Sky Force Reloaded
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All five are great games that can pass the time it takes to get from one destination to another, but there's something unique about playing a classic Sonic game in the car.

The original Sonic game is a classic, and while there's been some faults in the series over the years, running through Spring Yard Zone is always a pleasure, and never a chore, over 30 years on.

While you can already load the game up on a Switch if you're sat in the back, having another way of playing the game is always welcome.

But there are other Sonic games that would also be perfect for a Tesla if Sega and Musk are listening.

Analysis: What about Sonic Adventure on a Tesla?

While Switch owners rejoiced when N64 games were confirmed to be coming to the Switch Online service in an Expansion Pack, there's other players who want to see Dreamcast games appear.

Below are a few examples of what we'd love to see on either the Nintendo Switch, or a Tesla (or even both):

  • Sonic Adventure
  • Sonic Adventure 2
  • Crazy Taxi 2
  • Shenmue
  • Trickstyle
  • Metropolis Street Racer
  • Resident Evil: Code Veronica

Apart from the above, seeing Sonic 2 and Sonic 3 from the Sega Genesis days would also be welcome, especially as both games include a two-player mode.

However, now that Sonic 1 is confirmed to be on its way to Tesla cars, we may see other games from developers coming to the Tesla fleet.

Perhaps Crash Team Racing or Spyro the Dragon next?

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Researchers tricked a Tesla Model S into speeding with a piece of tape – how could hackers cheat our cars in the future?

As the advent of autonomous driving inches forward year by year, there’s an incredible opportunity to cede control over to the machines. AI can help look for dangers on the road and adjust our speed long before problems occur. It’s an exciting time because machine learning in cars is almost magical.

The first time, a car like the Subaru Legacy Outback tells you not to look down at your phone, or a Ford Explorer applies the brakes suddenly when you fail to notice the semi-truck that just pulled out in front of you is when you realize how far we’ve come.

Curiously, these new advancements could also present an opportunity for hackers. While the AI tech in cars never needs to sleep and is always vigilant, it is not that hard to trick the machine learning routines, even with a piece of tape.

Over the limit

Recently, researchers at McAfee announced an 18-month project where they attempted to alter the cruise control abilities in two 2016 Tesla Model S cars. They applied tape to a speed limit sign and then drove the Model S, watching as the vehicle jumped up in speed by 80 miles-per-hour. It only took one extension of the number three on a speed limit sign that said 35, changing it to read 85 instead.

The companies that developed some of the autonomous driving tech in the Tesla S refuted the claims by saying a human driver would also read the speed limit sign inaccurately, and that’s exactly when I started wondering what this all means.

Tesla Model S

I agree that human drivers are likely not that perceptive. On a highway recently, I noticed how a departure lane I took off the main highway was posted at only 35 miles-per-hour (coincidentally enough).

I slowed down to 35, but I wondered why the city lowered the speed so quickly from 75 miles per hour. It was accurate, but it didn’t make sense to me. The road was nowhere near a residential area.

However, the fact that I was wondering is the important factor.

Tesla Model S

Autonomous tech in cars might not do this. Experts who responded to Mcafee did say the Model S also uses crowd-sourced data and likely also uses GPS data, which is much harder to spoof. That said, it made me wonder.

Autonomous cars will need to do more than read speed limit signs. They will also need to interpret the conditions and the setting — it would not make sense to suddenly go from 35 MPH to 85 MPH. If it is a simple calculation from one number to another, it won’t work.

New tricks

In the future, I wondered how hackers might trick cars in other ways. We’re on the verge of cars connecting to the roadway and to other cars. Recently, an artist demonstrated how hauling a wagon full of smartphones could trick Google Maps into thinking there was traffic congestion. What else could they do?

I can envision someone creating a stir by sending out fake signals about other cars on the road, sending notices about road closures, or even worse — tapping into car systems from the side of the road and telling them to brake suddenly.

Tesla Model S

At the same time, it is a lot of fuss over something minor. Fewer and fewer cars are reading roadway signs and are determining speed based on GPS data instead. No research has ever shown that hackers could cause cars to brake suddenly, and when there are examples they are usually in controlled environments. 

I think it is mostly a curiosity. We like to be able to fool the machines, and that’s a good thing. As long as they don’t ever start fooling with us.

On The Road is TechRadar's regular look at the futuristic tech in today's hottest cars. John Brandon, a journalist who's been writing about cars for 12 years, puts a new car and its cutting-edge tech through the paces every week. One goal: To find out which new technologies will lead us to fully self-driving cars.

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