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Tesla engineer admits 2016 self-driving video was staged

It seems that a 2016 video titled “Full Self-Driving Hardware on All Teslas” showed possibilities far beyond what’s possible. Tesla Autopilot system is likely to be achieved at that time.

In the nearly four-minute video released in October 2016, still viewable on The company’s web siteone Model X apparently took its owner from a home in Menlo Park, California to Tesla’s former headquarters in neighboring Palo Alto.

After dropping the driver off at the front door, the crossover found a parking spot on its own and backed in.

While the driver maintains a light touch to the steering wheel, potentially fooling the car’s driver monitoring system, the vehicle is shown to perform all driving operations, including steering. , brake and accelerate.

A tag in front of the video reads: “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He did nothing. Self-driving cars.”

According to Ashok Elluswamy, then a senior engineer for the Tesla Autopilot program: “The purpose of the video is not to describe exactly what is available to customers in 2016. It is to describe what can be integrated. Into the system.”

Upon releasing the video, Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, tweeted: “Tesla drives itself (without human intervention) through urban streets to highways and then finds a parking spot.”

While Musk’s claim may be technically correct, Elluswamy has sworn that the car was loaded with a 3D map for a predefined route from Menlo Park to Tesla’s headquarters, a trip we took. I believe it will take at least 10 minutes.

This Model X also had features, namely stop and departure from traffic lights, which were not commercially available at the time.

Additionally, Elluswamy told the court that the driver had to intervene several times during the test drive and once, during the self-parking section, the Model X crashed into a fence in the parking lot.

There is no disclaimer about the actual condition of the vehicle’s capabilities featured in the video.

Elluswamy’s admission appeared in a court filing made in July 2018, in which Reuters found recently. At the time Elluswamy was a senior engineer for Tesla’s Autopilot software, and since 2019 he’s been the director of Autopilot software development.

The Autopilot director’s sworn testimony was given in a lawsuit filed by the widow of Walter Huang, an Apple engineer who died when his Model X allegedly crashed into a highway divider by itself. speed.

An investigation by the US National Transportation Safety Board said Huang’s crash may have been the result of limitations in the Autopilot system and driver distraction. It also noted that “ineffective monitoring of driver engagement” played some role.

Tesla’s driver-assist technology, sold under the Autopilot and Full Self-Driving (FSD) banners, has come under increasing scrutiny in recent times.

Earlier this month, the acting director of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said the agency is “investing a lot of resources” into its investigation, starting in 2018. 2021, on whether Autopilot will do a full job of monitoring drivers.

Both Autopilot and FSD are classified as Level 2 driver assistance packages, and therefore, require the driver’s constant attention and supervision.

In a recent tweet, Musk said an FSD software update due out this month could allow select drivers to turn off nagging warnings that ask them to hold the wheel to confirm they’re paying attention.

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