A Tesla Whistleblower Exposes Safety Concerns with Full Self-Driving
In a shocking revelation, a Tesla whistleblower has leaked 100GB of data to the renowned German outlet Handelsblatt. This extensive collection of information contains thousands of customer complaints, all of which raise serious concerns about the safety of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) features. Spanning from 2015 to March 2022, these complaints were reported across the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Alarming Complaints Highlighting Safety Issues
Handelsblatt’s analysis of the leaked data has brought to light numerous alarming incidents reported by Tesla customers. Among the most prevalent complaints were over 2,400 self-acceleration issues and 1,500 braking problems. Shockingly, there were 139 reports of “unintentional emergency braking” and 383 reports of “phantom stops” resulting from false collision warnings.
Several descriptions mentioned how Tesla vehicles would suddenly brake or accelerate abruptly, creating dangerous situations for drivers. While some managed to regain control of their vehicles safely, others were not as fortunate, finding themselves in ditches, colliding with walls, or even crashing into oncoming traffic.
Tesla’s Concealment of Vehicle Data
The leaked documents obtained by Handelsblatt also shed light on Tesla’s policies when it comes to addressing customer issues. These policies suggest that Tesla prefers to keep the data about its vehicles under wraps. According to Handelsblatt’s translation of the documents, each incident is accompanied by a “technical review” with specific bullet points. However, the employees responsible for entering this review repeatedly emphasize that the report is strictly “for internal use only.”
The documents further highlight that any information, if shared at all, should only be conveyed verbally to the customer. Tesla explicitly states that the report should not be copied and pasted into emails, text messages, or voicemails. Additionally, the release of vehicle data requires permission, and if legal involvement cannot be prevented, it must be documented.
Tesla’s Response and the Whistleblower’s Identity
Handelsblatt’s editor-in-chief, Sebastian Matthes, revealed that the outlet’s editorial team had sent Tesla several inquiries regarding the leaked data. However, instead of addressing the questions, Tesla demanded the immediate deletion of the data and accused Handelsblatt of data theft. The identity of the whistleblower remains undisclosed, but Matthes mentions that the leaked information was provided by multiple informants.
Ongoing Concerns Surrounding Tesla’s Full Self-Driving
This recent leak of customer complaints is not the first time concerns have been raised about Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) capabilities. Tesla’s FSD encompasses all the features associated with Tesla’s Autopilot and Enhanced Autopilot, including automatic lane changes, autosteering, and auto parking, among others. Despite previous safety concerns, Tesla released the FSD beta to the public in November of the previous year.
In January, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated an investigation into Tesla’s FSD software following a tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Musk announced that the company would provide users with the option to disable the “steering wheel nag.” Approximately a month later, the agency deemed this capability a crash risk, resulting in Tesla recalling 362,758 vehicles equipped with FSD and temporarily halting FSD installations.
The leaked data provided by the Tesla whistleblower to Handelsblatt has unveiled a multitude of customer complaints, highlighting serious safety concerns about Tesla’s Full Self-Driving features. With reports of self-acceleration issues, braking problems, and dangerous incidents resulting in collisions, it is evident that these concerns demand immediate attention from Tesla and regulatory authorities.