Tesla’s autopilot is said to be responsible for numerous crashes
The “Handelsblatt” evaluated 100 GB of internal data from the American car manufacturer. These should show how big the problems with the autopilot are.
The problems with Tesla’s autopilot are apparently greater than previously assumed. At least that’s what thousands of documents that the German «Handelsblatt» have been leaked by insiders. The newspaper checked the data and concluded that there was no evidence that it did not come from Tesla.
The so-called Tesla Files contain around 23,000 files. These include lists of former and current employees’ salaries, classified technical reports, and even Elon Musk’s putative vehicle and social security numbers. There are also nearly 4,000 autopilot complaints about unwanted self-acceleration and problems with the brakes.
Emergency braking on the A3 – full throttle in the parking lot
For example, the complaint of a Swiss customer who was driving his Tesla Model S on the A3 on July 26, 2021 is documented. After an overtaking manoeuvre, his car independently made an emergency stop. He had “become scared and anxious”. Fortunately, however, nothing happened.
Apparently, a driver in the USA fared less well. According to his own statements, in 2019 his vehicle made an emergency stop in the middle of the highway. The car behind hit him from behind.
In other cases, the Teslas would have accelerated for no reason. For example in 2021 with a doctor from California. When she wanted to turn around in a parking lot, her car suddenly went full throttle, drove first into one and then into a second concrete pillar.
Musk says autopilot will determine Tesla’s value
The “Handelsblatt” claims to have contacted dozens of people whose complaints appeared in the leaked files. They would have confirmed the incidents. Many of them were dissatisfied with how Tesla dealt with their complaints. The company accused the Californian doctor of stepping on the gas herself. The communication was primarily oral. According to the “Handelsblatt”, Tesla employees are instructed to only share “verbal” information with customers.
The numerous complaints about the autopilot are explosive in that they raise doubts about its functionality. It is Elon Musk’s central promise that his Tesla will be able to drive independently in the near future. In June 2022, he said in an interview that this would decide “whether Tesla is worth a lot of money or practically zero”.
According to Tesla’s website, the autopilot currently enables the vehicle to “steer, accelerate and brake automatically in its lane”. However, it requires “active monitoring by the driver”. Nevertheless, Tesla prominently promises that its vehicles will be able to drive “completely autonomously” in the future.
Self-driving video with question marks
For example, Elon Musk published a video on Twitter in 2016 that was supposed to show how a Tesla drove to the company’s headquarters and parked independently. However, a Tesla engineer later testified that the video was edited together. The driver repeatedly had to intervene while driving and the car hit a fence while parking. The link to the video in Musk’s tweet no longer works.
When the “Handelsblatt” confronted Tesla and Elon Musk with questions about the leaked data, they did not want to take a position. Instead, the company’s lawyer demanded that the data be deleted. In a letter to the newspaper, which the newspaper published, the lawyer writes that Tesla has reason to believe that a “disgruntled former employee” before leaving “abused his access as a service technician” to smuggle information out of the company .
The informant who sent the data to the “Handelsblatt” also handed it over to the German and Dutch data protection authorities. They confirmed this to the newspaper: “The state commissioner has serious indications of possible data protection violations by the Tesla automotive group,” writes a spokesman for the state data protection commissioner in Brandenburg, for example.
This would now check whether sensitive information was not sufficiently protected at Tesla. Apparently, a large amount of employee data was easily accessible to a large number of people. That’s why the leak should have been possible. “Should this prove to be correct, the matter would be particularly serious from a data protection point of view, also because of the large number of people affected worldwide,” emphasized the spokesman to the German Press Agency.
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