There is always danger and fear associated with the unknown, but this threat puts life on the line. Pairing a 5,000 pound Tesla motor vehicle with minimally tested and analyzed computer programing is a recipe for disaster.
Automobiles are dangerous in and of themselves, but Tesla’s software adds a layer of uncertainty where we can’t afford it… on the road. Much like the latest iPhone on the market, Teslas run on advanced software. The luxury of autopilot and automatic doors also carries with it computer systems that run the risk of fatally injuring the user or innocent pedestrians if something goes wrong. Tesla’s success hinges on achieving unprecedented levels of mass production, and by doing so puts danger on the road.
Software Can Be Hacked
The increasing influence technology has on society puts everyone at risk for a potential hack, even the tech in your car. With a “smart” car like Tesla, hackers can easily trick the software into glitching or make moves against what the software had intended, and we are already seeing these issues occur.
In a recent demonstration by the cybersecurity firm McAfee, the company demonstrated a way to trick Tesla’s Mobileye EyeQ3 camera systems into thinking the car was seeing a different speed limit sign, causing the car to accelerate by 50 miles per hour. All it took was a 2-inch piece of tape. They continued this research for 18 months finding a variety of ways to trick the Tesla including confusing a stop sign for a speed limit sign.
You would never want your car to have a mind of its own, but Tesla’s unintended acceleration incidents point out an obvious issue with the car’s software. A complaint filed with the NHTSA found 127 different cars that experienced acceleration issues and caused 110 accidents and 52 injuries as a result. During these incidents, the cars have suddenly driven themselves, leaving no control for the human driver.
Autopilot is one of Tesla’s key selling propositions. It is also one of the most dangerous and un-researched features. Autopilot puts all of the power into the “hands” of the vehicle, with no regard for the safety of the driver or others on the road. There are multiple wrongful death lawsuits against Tesla involving fatal autopilot crashes. Jeremy Beren Banner, whose family is among those suing Tesla for wrongful death, was killed when his Tesla Model 3 collided with a tractor-trailer. These unfortunate and potentially avoidable fatal accidents show the glaring issues with the autopilot function and the dangers it poses on the road.
The dangers of Tesla vehicles extend across many of their different capabilities. What they have in common? The use of software and the ease at which it can malfunction. These “computer on wheels” are a danger to all of us, and many have already been injured or lost their lives become of them. Have you experienced the “Tesla Thrust”? We need to hear from you.