A man arrested for riding in the backseat of his driverless Tesla got out of jail, bought a new one, and did it again

California Highway Patrol pulls over a Tesla.
California Highway Patrol tows away Param Sharma’s Tesla.

  • A San Francisco man said he’ll keep riding in the back seat of his Tesla after getting arrested for it, KTVU reports.
  • Param Sharma said he is “very rich” and will keep buying Teslas as his cars are impounded.
  • Tesla sells a feature called Full Self-Driving Capability, but it doesn’t make cars autonomous.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A San Francisco man who was arrested for riding in the back seat of his Tesla as it drove on the highway says he’ll keep pulling the stunt after being released from jail – and he’ll keep buying more cars as they get impounded.

After getting booked on two counts of reckless driving, Param Sharma arrived for a Wednesday interview with Bay Area news station KTVU riding in the back seat of a Tesla again. But it wasn’t the same car that California Highway Patrol pulled him over in.

The day after being released from jail on Tuesday, he told the channel, Sharma bought a new Tesla Model 3 because his other was impounded. Also, he is “very rich,” he told KTVU.

“I have unlimited money to blow on Teslas. If you take away my Tesla, I will get another Tesla. That’s how it works,” Sharma said.

The California Highway Patrol said Tuesday it had arrested Sharma for reckless driving and disobeying a peace officer. The arrest came after videos circulated online of Sharma riding down the highway in the back seat. He had been cited for the same offense in April, police said.

The incident is just the latest to spark scrutiny around how some Tesla drivers abuse the company’s driver-assistance features. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened investigations into more than two dozen Tesla crashes, including a fatal incident in April that police said occurred with nobody in the driver’s seat.

Sharma told KTVU he bought a Tesla with the Full Self-Driving package, but seemed overly confident in the feature’s abilities. The $10,000 advanced driver-assistance system – a step up from the standard Autopilot feature – enables a car to automatically change lanes, navigate highway on-ramps and exits, and recognize stop signs and traffic lights.

But it does not make Teslas autonomous, and the company says drivers need to pay full attention when using it.

“It’s like a living room back here. I’m relaxing in luxury while Elon Musk chauffeurs me,” he told KTVU.

Even in its most advanced iteration, the Full Self-Driving system has major flaws. Tesla tells the software’s beta testers to be vigilant, as the feature may “do the wrong thing at the worst time.” In tests, Consumer Reports said Full Self Driving performed inconsistently and sometimes disengaged without warning.

Still, Sharma said he has no plans to stop riding in the back seat of his car, despite the clear dangers the stunt poses to pedestrians and other drivers.

“I feel like by mid-2022 the backseat thing will be normal. And I think right now people are just taking it out of proportion,” he said.

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Autopilot couldn’t have been engaged during fatal Tesla crash, NTSB says

Texas Tesla Crash.
The remains of a Tesla vehicle are seen after it crashed, killing two people, in The Woodlands, Texas, on April 17, 2021.

  • The NTSB on Monday released a preliminary investigation into a fatal Tesla crash in April.
  • The agency said its tests indicate Autopilot cannot be used on the road where the crash happened.
  • Local police initially said there was no driver at the wheel when the accident occurred.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Monday released preliminary findings from its investigation into a fatal Tesla crash in April, offering new details about the incident but leaving key questions unanswered.

The agency said security camera footage from the owner’s Houston-area residence showed him entering the driver’s seat of the 2019 Model S. The passenger entered the front passenger’s seat. Video then showed the car traveling roughly 550 feet before skipping over the curb and crashing into a tree.

Autosteer, a key feature of Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance system could not have been enabled on the stretch of road where the incident occurred, the agency said, confirming Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s assertions in the wake of the crash.

In tests, the NTSB said it was able to switch on Traffic-Aware Cruise Control – which can maintain speed and distance from other cars – but not Autosteer, the automatic steering feature that makes up the rest of Autopilot’s main capabilities.

The Texas incident attracted a large of media attention when local police said they believed nobody was driving the sedan when it barreled off the road and burst into flames. First responders found the victims’ bodies in the front passenger’s seat and the back seat of the car, according to police and the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office.

But Tesla has disputed that initial characterization of the events. Musk tweeted that the car did not have Autopilot engaged and that the system can’t function on the street where the crash occurred because it does not have lane markings. A Tesla executive said on an April conference call that the company believes someone was driving the car when it crashed.

The NTSB’s investigation is still ongoing, and the agency said its report may be supplemented or corrected over time.

The crash and subsequent fire destroyed the car’s onboard storage device, the NTSB said. However, the car’s restraint-control module, which logs data about vehicle speed, acceleration, seatbelts, and airbags, was recovered and is being evaluated by investigators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also launched a probe into the crash but has not yet released any findings.

Tesla, which is cooperating with the investigation, did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Lawmakers demand answers in fatal Tesla crash after Elon Musk and executives offer conflicting details

Texas Tesla Crash.
The remains of a Tesla vehicle are seen after it crashed, killing two people, in The Woodlands, Texas, on April 17, 2021.

  • Lawmakers demanded answers Wednesday about a fatal Tesla crash after executives gave conflicting statements.
  • Elon Musk said autopilot wasn’t on, but a top Tesla exec said adaptive cruise control, an autopilot feature, was.
  • Rep. Kevin Brady and Sen. Richard Blumenthal criticized Tesla’s public statements about the crash.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lawmakers slammed Tesla’s public response to a deadly crash involving one of its Model S vehicles that killed two men near Houston, Texas, earlier this month following conflicting statements from the company’s executives.

“Despite early claims by #Tesla #ElonMusk, autopilot WAS engaged in tragic crash in The Woodlands. We need answers,” Rep. Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican, tweeted Wednesday.

Earlier on Wednesday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, said he was “disappointed” that Musk weighed in publicly at all, given that two federal agencies still have ongoing investigations into the incident.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Local authorities said following the crash that neither of the bodies they recovered were in the driver’s seat, prompting questions about whether the vehicle’s “autopilot” system – a suite of AI-powered driver assistance features – was engaged when the vehicle crashed.

Two days after the crash, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that early data obtained from the Model S showed “autopilot was not enabled,” and he doubled down on those claims in Tesla’s earnings call Monday, contradicting local authorities.

But in that same call, Tesla vice president of vehicle engineering Lars Moravy said that the vehicle’s traffic-aware, or adaptive, cruise control – part of the autopilot system, according to Tesla’s Model S owner manual – was engaged during the crash.

“Our adaptive cruise control only engaged when the driver was buckled in above 5 miles per hour. And it only accelerated to 30 miles per hour with the distance before the car crashed,” Moravy said, adding that the feature also “disengaged the car slowly to complete to a stop when the driver’s seatbelt was unbuckled.”

Moravy also pushed back on Texas authorities’ statements that no one was driving the car when it crashed.

“Through further investigation of the vehicle and accident remains, we inspected the car with NTSB and NHTSA and the local police and were able to find that the steering wheel was indeed deformed,” he said, “leading to a likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash and all seatbelts post crash were found to be unbuckled.”

Despite misleading and unverified claims about the autopilot’s capabilities and possible safety advantages, the feature doesn’t make Tesla vehicles fully autonomous. At least three drivers have died while using Tesla’s Autopilot, and the National Transportation Safety Board has called for increased scrutiny of self-driving software.

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Tesla said it’s likely somebody was in the driver’s seat during a deadly Model S crash in Texas, contradicting local law enforcement

Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

  • Elon Musk again denied that the Tesla that crashed in Texas on April 17, killing two people, was on Autopilot.
  • A Tesla exec added it was likely that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash.
  • This contradicts statements made by local law enforcement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Monday that the Model S that crashed just outside Houston, Texas, earlier this month, killing two people, wasn’t on Autopilot – and that any suggestion otherwise was “completely false.”

Lars Moravy, Tesla’s vice president of vehicle engineering, added that he thought it was likely someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the deadly crash, contradicting local law enforcement.

On April 17, a Tesla Model S skipped over a curb, crashed into a tree, and burst into flames, killing two people.

A Harris County constable told local TV station KHOU on April 18 that investigators were “100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact.” A senior Harris County officer said on April 19 that witnesses had suggested nobody was driving the vehicle earlier in its journey.

Tesla’s electric vehicles come with Autopilot, a feature that allows the cars to brake, accelerate, and steer automatically. Tesla tells drivers using Autopilot to remain in the driver’s seat with their hands on the steering wheel – but earlier this month, Consumer Reports showed it was possible to turn on Autopilot with nobody in the driver’s seat.

Musk previously said that Autopilot was not being used at the time of the crash. Two days after the crash, he tweeted: “Data logs recovered so far show Autopilot was not enabled.”

Read more: The electric car boom is coming to wipe out auto dealer profits. Consolidating into ‘super dealers’ may be their only way to survive.

During Tesla’s earnings call Monday, Musk said that “there were really just extremely deceptive media practices where it was claimed to be Autopilot but this is completely false.” He didn’t reference any specific media reports.

Moravy said that Tesla had been working with local authorities, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the crash.

“The steering wheel was indeed deformed so we’re leaning to the likelihood that someone was in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash,” Moravy said.

“All seatbelts post-crash were found to be unbuckled,” he added. Tesla’s Autopilot only works when seatbelts are buckled in.

Moravy said that Tesla was unable to recover the data from the vehicle’s SD card at the time of impact, but that the local authorities were working on that.

“We continue to hold safety in a higher regard and look to improve products in the future through this kind of data and other information from the field,” he added.

Tesla also sells its full self-driving software (FSD) as a $10,000 one-off add-on, which it plans to release widely in 2021. FSD allows cars to park themselves, change lanes, and identify both stop signs and traffic lights.

Neither Autopilot nor FSD makes a Tesla car fully autonomous.

At least three drivers have died while using Tesla’s Autopilot, and the National Transportation Safety Board has called for increased scrutiny of self-driving software.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Consumer Reports proved that a Tesla will drive with nobody behind the wheel following fatal crash

Tesla Model Y.
Consumer Reports demonstrated it’s not all that difficult to get around Tesla’s safety systems.

  • Consumer Reports showed that it’s possible to turn on Tesla Autopilot with nobody behind the wheel.
  • The firm’s car-testing director was able to sit in the passenger’s seat while the Tesla drove itself.
  • The demonstration comes after a fatal Tesla crash where authorities said nobody was driving.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Consumer Reports on Thursday proved just how simple it is to fool a Tesla into driving without anybody behind the wheel.

Engineers from the consumer-research organization bypassed Tesla’s safety systems on a closed test track to show that – without too much fuss – the carmaker’s Autopilot driver-assistance technology can be engaged without anybody in the driver’s seat. They posted a video explaining how they did it.

The report comes after authorities said nobody was behind the wheel when a Tesla Model S careened off the road and into a tree in Texas on Saturday, killing its two occupants. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a Monday tweet that data logs recovered “so far” show that Autopilot wasn’t enabled at the time of the crash. Local police, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board are all investigating the cause of the incident.

Tesla has two methods of ensuring that a driver is paying attention when using Autopilot, an advanced driver-assistance system that keeps a car between lane markings and maintains a set distance to other cars. Both safeguards were easily defeated by Consumer Reports, though the outlet urges that nobody replicate its findings under any circumstances.

Autopilot can only be engaged when the driver’s seatbelt is fastened. Consumer Reports engineers bypassed that by fastening the seatbelt before getting in the car. Autopilot also needs to feel some resistance from a driver’s hand resting on the steering wheel. Consumer Reports achieved that by hanging a small amount of weight from the wheel.

The result was that Jake Fisher, the outlet’s senior director of auto testing, was able to engage Autopilot, bring the car to a stop, climb into the passenger’s seat, and bring the car back up to speed from there using a dial on the steering wheel. The Tesla Model Y followed lane markings on Consumer Reports’ test track and didn’t issue any warning that nobody was behind the wheel.

Read more: Meet the 11 power players of the self-driving industry from leading companies like Tesla, Zoox, and Morgan Stanley

“In our evaluation, the system not only failed to make sure the driver was paying attention, but it also couldn’t tell if there was a driver there at all,” Fisher said in the report. “It was a bit frightening when we realized how easy it was to defeat the safeguards, which we proved were clearly insufficient.”

Tesla did not return Insider’s request for comment.

Consumer Reports’ controlled demonstration confirms what has already been displayed in numerous viral videos, like one from November in which a Tesla owner climbs into the back seat and closes his eyes while his car cruises down the highway. In a clip posted in September, a Tesla owner shows it’s possible to climb out of a car’s window with Autopilot engaged.

The outlet said that Tesla is “falling behind” other automakers when it comes to monitoring driver attention while advanced driver-assistance systems are operating. General Motors’ Super Cruise uses internal cameras to make sure a driver is looking at the road, and Ford’s upcoming BlueCruise will do the same.

Are you a Tesla customer or employee with a story to share? Contact this reporter at tlevin@insider.com.

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A Tesla crash killed 2 people in Texas. Authorities say nobody was driving – and the fire took 32,000 gallons of water to extinguish

Tesla Texas crash.
Authorities told local media they were certain nobody was driving the car.

  • Two people died in a car crash outside of Houston on Saturday after the Tesla they were in ran off the road.
  • Nobody was driving the car, authorities told local outlets.
  • CEO Elon Musk said Monday that the car was not operating under Autopilot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two people are dead in Texas after the Tesla they were riding in hopped a curb, crashed into a tree, and burst into flames, local outlets report. Authorities said nobody was driving the car.

The crash occurred on Saturday evening in Spring, Texas, a Houston suburb, when a Tesla traveling at a high speed failed to negotiate a bend and went off the road, local television station KHOU reports. Once the blaze was put out, first responders found the bodies of two men, one in the passenger’s seat and one in the back seat of the Tesla, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman told the outlet.

Texas Tesla Crash.
First responders found one man in the passenger’s seat and the other in the back seat.

Judging by the physical evidence and their reconstruction of the incident, investigators concluded that there was nobody in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash, Herman said.

“They are 100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact,” Herman told KHOU. “They feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”

Read more: Startup cofounders reveal their plan to solve the EV industry’s crucial cost problem by remaking the lithium-ion battery

The deadly incident comes amid a new spate of Tesla crashes that may have involved Autopilot, the carmaker’s advanced driver-assistance feature that comes standard on all of its new cars. Investigators haven’t determined if Autopilot was switched on at the time of the crash.

Texas Tesla Crash.
The fire took four hours to put out because the Tesla’s batteries kept reigniting, local media reported.

Autopilot automates some highway-driving tasks, but it doesn’t make cars autonomous, despite its moniker. Tesla has come under fire for Autopilot’s misleading name, which critics say overstates the technology’s ability and invites drivers to misuse it. Tesla also sells a bundle of more advanced driver-assistance features called “Full Self-Driving Capability,” which also doesn’t make cars drive themselves.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Autopilot’s role in more than 20 Tesla crashes, including multiple where cars smashed into emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Tesla says drivers need to pay full attention when using Autopilot, but there’s still room for owners to abuse the system, as evidenced by numerous videos of people sleeping in the driver’s seat or pulling other dangerous stunts.

Tesla monitors driver attention by requiring that they keep a hand on the steering wheel while Autopilot is engaged – something a reckless driver could theoretically do from the passenger’s seat. General Motors’ Super Cruise, on the other hand, uses internal cameras to tracks drivers’ gaze and ensure they’re looking at the road.

It took firefighters four hours and 32,000 gallons of water to put out the blaze because the Tesla’s batteries kept reigniting, KPRC reported. First responders had to call Tesla to ask how to put out the fire, according to the outlet.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Monday afternoon that the car was not operating under Autopilot at the time of the incident and that the owner had not purchased the company’s “Full Self-Driving” package. The FSD upgrade adds even more driver assistance features to a vehicle but does not make it autonomous.

Read the original article on Business Insider

US regulators are investigating the deadly Tesla crash where nobody was driving

Texas Tesla Crash.
The federal government said it has created a team to investigate the crash.

  • The federal government will review a deadly crash in Texas involving a Tesla.
  • Nobody was driving the car at the time of the crash, authorities said.
  • US regulators are investigating more than 20 Tesla crashes.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

US safety regulators will investigate a fatal incident involving a Tesla that crashed into a tree with nobody in the driver’s seat on Saturday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will review the incident in an emailed statement to Insider on Monday.

“NHTSA is aware of the tragic crash involving a Tesla vehicle outside of Houston, Texas. NHTSA has immediately launched a Special Crash Investigation team to investigate the crash,” the agency said. “We are actively engaged with local law enforcement and Tesla to learn more about the details of the crash and will take appropriate steps when we have more information.”

The National Transportation Safety Board, which reviews civilian transportation incidents, will also send two investigators to review the crash and the post-crash fire, it said Monday.

The incident happened on Saturday night in Spring, Texas, when a Tesla failed to make a turn and careened off the road, smashing into a tree and bursting into flames, local television station KHOU reported. First responders found the bodies of two men inside the scorched car – one in the front passenger’s seat and one in the back seat, the outlet reported.

Texas Tesla Crash.
Authorities determined that nobody was driving at the time of impact.

Investigators determined that nobody was driving the car when it crashed, police told KHOU.

“They are 100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact,” Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman told KHOU. “They feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”

NHTSA is already investigating the role of Autopilot – Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system – in more than 20 recent crashes. It’s not known yet if Autopilot was engaged at the time of the crash.

Autopilot automates some driving tasks, but it doesn’t make Teslas drive themselves, despite its branding. Tesla has attracted criticism over the years for the way it markets Autopilot, and for the ways that some drivers abuse the system. Numerous videos have surfaced online of people sleeping in the driver’s seat or otherwise not paying attention to the road, despite Tesla’s disclaimer that the system requires full driver attention.

Tesla did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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A Tesla crash killed two people in Texas. Authorities say nobody was driving – and the fire took 32,000 gallons of water to extinguish

FILE PHOTO: The Tesla logo is seen on a car in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 9, 2020.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Authorities told local media they were certain nobody was driving the car.

  • Two people died in a car crash outside of Houston on Saturday after the Tesla they were in ran off the road.
  • Nobody was driving the car, authorities told local outlets.
  • Tesla has come under fire for the way some drivers abuse its driver-assistance technology, Autopilot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two people are dead in Texas after the Tesla they were riding in hopped a curb, crashed into a tree, and burst into flames, local outlets report. Authorities said nobody was driving the car.

The crash occurred on Saturday evening in Spring, Texas, a Houston suburb, when a Tesla traveling at a high speed failed to negotiate a bend and went off the road, local television station KHOU reports. Once the blaze was put out, first responders found the bodies of two men, one in the passenger’s seat and one in the back seat of the Tesla, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman told the outlet.

Judging by the physical evidence and their reconstruction of the incident, investigators concluded that there was nobody in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash, Herman said.

“They are 100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact,” Herman told KHOU. “They feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”

Read more: Startup cofounders reveal their plan to solve the EV industry’s crucial cost problem by remaking the lithium-ion battery

The deadly incident comes amid a new spate of Tesla crashes that may have involved Autopilot, the carmaker’s advanced driver-assistance feature that comes standard on all of its new cars. It’s not clear if Autopilot was switched on at the time of the crash.

Autopilot automates some highway-driving tasks, but it doesn’t make cars autonomous, despite its moniker. Tesla has come under fire for Autopilot’s misleading name, which critics say overstates the technology’s ability and invites drivers to misuse it. Tesla also sells a bundle of more advanced driver-assistance features called “Full Self-Driving Capability,” which also doesn’t make cars drive themselves.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Autopilot’s role in more than 20 Tesla crashes, including multiple where cars smashed into emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Tesla says drivers need to pay full attention when using Autopilot, but there’s still room for owners to abuse the system, as evidenced by numerous videos of people sleeping in the driver’s seat or pulling other dangerous stunts.

Tesla monitors driver attention by requiring that they keep a hand on the steering wheel while Autopilot is engaged – something a reckless driver could theoretically do from the passenger’s seat. General Motors’ Super Cruise, on the other hand, uses internal cameras to tracks drivers’ gaze and ensure they’re looking at the road.

Neither Tesla nor NHTSA responded to Insider’s request for comment.

It took firefighters four hours and 32,000 gallons of water to put out the blaze because the Tesla’s batteries kept reigniting, KPRC reported. First responders had to call Tesla to ask how to put out the fire, according to the outlet.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A fiery Tesla crash killed two people outside of Houston. Authorities say nobody was driving.

FILE PHOTO: The Tesla logo is seen on a car in Los Angeles, California, U.S., July 9, 2020.  REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Authorities told local media they were certain nobody was driving the car.

  • Two people died in a car crash outside of Houston on Saturday after the Tesla they were in ran off the road.
  • Nobody was driving the car, authorities told local outlets.
  • Tesla has come under fire for the way some drivers abuse its driver-assistance technology, Autopilot.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Two people are dead in Texas after the Tesla they were riding in hopped a curb, crashed into a tree, and burst into flames, local outlets report. Authorities said nobody was driving the car.

The crash occured on Saturday evening in Spring, Texas, a Houston suburb, when a Tesla traveling at a high speed failed to negotiate a bend and went off the road, local television station KHOU reports. Once the blaze was put out, first responders found the bodies of two men, one in the passenger’s seat and one in the back seat of the Tesla, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman told the outlet.

Judging by the physical evidence and their reconstruction of the incident, investigators concluded that there was nobody in the driver’s seat at the time of the crash, Herman said.

“They are 100% certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact,” Herman told KHOU. “They feel very confident just with the positioning of the bodies after the impact that there was no one driving that vehicle.”

Read more: Startup cofounders reveal their plan to solve the EV industry’s crucial cost problem by remaking the lithium-ion battery

The deadly incident comes amid a new spate of Tesla crashes that may have involved Autopilot, the carmaker’s advanced driver-assistance feature that comes standard on all of its new cars. It’s not clear if Autopilot was switched on at the time of the crash.

Autopilot automates some highway-driving tasks, but it doesn’t make cars autonomous, despite its moniker. Tesla has come under fire for Autopilot’s misleading name, which critics say overstates the technology’s ability and invites drivers to misuse it. Tesla also sells a bundle of more advanced driver-assistance features called “Full Self-Driving Capability,” which also doesn’t make cars drive themselves.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Autopilot’s role in more than 20 Tesla crashes, including multiple where cars smashed into emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Tesla says drivers need to pay full attention when using Autopilot, but there’s still room for owners to abuse the system, as evidenced by numerous videos of people sleeping in the driver’s seat or pulling other dangerous stunts.

Tesla monitors driver attention by requiring that they keep a hand on the steering wheel while Autopilot is engaged – something a reckless driver could theoretically do from the passenger’s seat. General Motors’ Super Cruise, on the other hand, uses internal cameras to tracks drivers’ gaze and ensure they’re looking at the road.

Neither Tesla nor NHTSA responded to Insider’s request for comment.

It took firefighters four hours and 32,000 gallons of water to put out the blaze because the Tesla’s batteries kept reigniting, KPRC reported. First responders had to call Tesla to ask how to put out the fire, according to the outlet.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tesla settles lawsuit with former employee accused of stealing Autopilot trade secrets

Tesla Shanghai China Factory
Guangzhi Cao maintains he didn’t share any Tesla trade secrets with anyone.

  • Tesla and an ex-engineer who left the firm for rival Xpeng settled a lawsuit about trade secrets.
  • Tesla accused the employee of uploading Autopilot source code to his personal iCloud account.
  • The employee, Guangzhi Cao, maintains he never shared Autopilot information with anyone.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Tesla settled a lawsuit against an ex-engineer who copied the source code of its Autopilot driver-assistance tech before taking a job with a Chinese competitor, according to documents filed Thursday with a US district court.

Former Tesla employee Guangzhi Cao will pay the electric vehicle maker an undisclosed sum as part of the settlement, though he maintains he never did anything improper with the Autopilot code.

Tesla filed the lawsuit against Cao in 2019, claiming that he copied Autopilot source code to his personal iCloud storage account before abruptly resigning from the company in January of that year to join XMotors, the US arm of Chinese EV maker Xpeng. Tesla alleged that Cao had uploaded more than 300,000 files and directories related to Autopilot to his iCloud account.

Read more: 6 top startups propelling the electric car boom with new alternatives to expensive lithium-ion batteries

Autopilot is Tesla’s advanced driver-assistance system that comes standard on all of its new cars. The technology automates some elements of highway driving, like keeping a car in the center of its lane and keeping up with traffic. It’s considered to be one of the more advanced such systems on the market.

According to the documents made public on Thursday, Cao admitted that he saved the files to his personal account and that files remained on his personal devices when Tesla filed the lawsuit but says he intended to delete them before leaving Tesla.

In a statement to Insider provided by his attorney, Cao said that he never accessed any Tesla data after leaving the company and never shared any of the data with XMotors or anyone else. Tesla and Xpeng did not respond to requests for comment.

Tesla competes closely with Xpeng and other Chinese automakers in China, the world’s largest market for electric cars. Tesla operates a plant in Shanghai and is expanding its presence in the country to include a research and development facility where it will design a more affordable EV.

Read the original article on Business Insider