By on September 15, 2016

Tesla Model S

It’s common knowledge that Tesla vehicles store and transmit data back to the company’s Fremont, California home base, but a hacker working on a wrecked Model S just discovered something startling.

In an interview published by Inverse (h/t to Hybrid Cars), North Carolina computer programmer Jason Hughes claims that Tesla’s Autopilot system actually records video. While working on a center display unit from a wrecked Model S, Hughes found footage of the vehicle’s crash.

Hughes is a Tesla owner himself, and knew that Tesla collected data from its customers. He wanted to know exactly how much data a Tesla stores or transmits in the event of a crash. After purchasing the unit at auction, he wormed his way into the stored data.

“It’s not too terribly difficult,” Hughes told Inverse. “You have to basically gain root access to the MCU (Media Control Unit), and such. Tesla’s likely going to make that more difficult. I won’t say it’s simple, but it’s not impossible.”

 

Once inside, Hughes found low-quality black and white footage of the crash that sent the Tesla to the wrecker’s yard. The video, which he posted on Twitter, shows the vehicle driving towards an intersection and an amber light. A white Acura sedan appears on stage left, completing a turn. Then, we see nothing but crumpled hood.

Autopilot works via a forward facing camera, but until now it was believed to work on a moment-by-moment basis. That fact that it records and saves video, sending footage to the MCU for storage in the event of an airbag deployment (Hughes believes), is a capability Tesla hasn’t announced. Essentially, Autopilot can function as a dash cam.

Tesla once told TTAC that its data recording technology doesn’t meet the legal requirements of being called an Event Data Recorder (EDR). EDRs record a vehicle’s dynamic data (speed, etc.) just prior to, or during, a crash.

When asked how the automaker could say it doesn’t install an EDR despite claiming to collect pertinent vehicle data, Tesla responded, “We collect diagnostic data from Tesla vehicles in a responsible way that allows us to continue to improve the driver experience while also protecting our customers’ privacy.”

Hughes believes the Autopilot’s camera might not have recorded the fatal May crash of Joshua Brown’s Tesla Model S. It seems that images recorded by the vehicle’s camera are only sent to the MCU when the airbags deploy, and there’s up to 20 seconds of lag before the data transfer is complete.

In Brown’s crash, the timing and specifics of the incident are unusual. The Tesla’s roof was sheared off and the car traveled several hundred feet before impacting a pole — making it possible that the video didn’t make it the MCU.

The recently announced Version 8 of the company’s Autopilot adds radar to the vehicle’s imaging technology, removing some of the camera’s responsibility. It isn’t known if vehicles equipped with the Version 8 update will record video.

[Image: Tesla Motors]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

59 Comments on “Yes, Your Autopilot-Equipped Tesla Will Film a Crash...”


  • avatar
    slavuta

    If I didn’t love driving, I would move to the city. May be Tesla will eat, drink, smoke and take dump for me?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Given the sheer volume of Tesla articles, most of which are negative, I have to wonder whether the fossil fuel industry is behind many of them. In the same way that they worked so hard to discredit the accepted science of climate change, the fossil fuel industry may now be attacking Tesla as if their existence were at stake (it is).

    Bloomberg today is reporting that an oil industry executive was caught impersonating Elon Musk via email to try to gain access to confidential TSLA data. Is this the tip of the (shrinking) iceberg?

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Easy to find bogeymen…but, sorry, Tesla’s pretty much doing this to itself.

      • 0 avatar
        Macca

        Seriously. Surprised the Koch brothers weren’t implicated while we’re at it. Also a hearty ‘lulz’ @ the “accepted science of climate change”. It’s not science, it’s a religion. The supposed “97% consensus” that gets thrown around is just as empty and discredited as “if you like your doctor…” When a significant portion of your education pertains to this, you understand there should be no need to make the science ‘settled’ and label those who question it ‘deniers’. Oh well. Chicken littles gonna chicken little.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Macca,
          Gravity is accepted science as well. If you don’t buy the theory of gravity as anything other than a liberal plot to limit your free speech, feel free to jump off a cliff and prove how (alt) right you are.

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            Clever! Your totalitarian is showing. Curious – who do you hold as the ultimate deity in the Church of Latter Day Warmists?

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            VoGo

            well…to be exact. It is the Law of Gravity. The theory part is the attempt to explain the law.

            and the attempt to put another right wing type of conspiracy behind anything anti Tesla is fitting.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          Duuuuuude, it’s happening right in front of you.

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            @FormerFF: I’ll assume you’re talking to me. What’s happening right in front of me, other than true believers making fools of themselves? Earth’s climate is not static – it has always been in flux. What is up for debate is 1) what are the actual changes that we’ve observed over the last ~130 years of accurate temperature record and 2) what are the causal agents. Geologists and Paleoclimatologists understand the immense climate fluctuations that have occurred in geologic time. We also understand that atmospheric CO2 fluctuates *as a result* of temperature changes – it’s not a driver (Siegenthaler et al., 2005). So we’re left with chicken littles clamoring for radical totalitarian change for 0.5 degree Celsius over a century. Can you tell me, what is Earth’s ideal average temperature?

            Consider the doomsday predictions from the Los Angeles Times in 1902: “disappearing glaciers…deteriorating slowly, with a persistency that means their final annihilation…scientific fact” or the Chicago Tribune in 1923: “scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada.” Or The Atlantic, 1932: “we must be just teetering on an ice age” prior to the Washington Post in 1939: “weather men have no doubt that the world at least for the time being is growing warmer…” and “polar icecaps were melting at an astonishing and unexplained rate and were threatening to swamp seaports” from the Cairns Post, 1952. Or what about “the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that the ocean at the North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two” from the New York Times in 1969 before their reversal in 1975: “major cooling widely considered to be inevitable.”

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            I’ll just leave this here:

            http://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/1732

            Even if we set the average baseline to a very, /very/ modern 1961-1990, we’ve still gotten nearly one whole degree warmer (an unprecedented rise) in 25 years. For comparison, one whole degree colder than this 20th-century average was last seen around 10000 BCE.

            And I’ll also ask: is your problem with the data, or the people that have made sensationalist headlines with it to sell newspapers?

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            Now here’s a special post, folks. We’ve got a true believer using a comic strip (!) to quote a wildly inaccurate/scrubbed temperature history (that Holocene maximum is cute), replete with hyperbole (“unprecedented rise” – oh gosh, I’m so afraid! Only politicians can save me now!). Prior to rampant politicization of the topic, even the IPCC recognized that the paleoclimate varied far more than Randall Munroe would like to admit here, but I’m glad to know this suffices as ‘proof’ for you.

            The only aspects of this fraud that are truly unprecedented are 1) the brazen, proven manipulation of data by politically-motivated ‘climatologists’ and 2) the sheer gullibility of those who seek state-as-religion.

            As to your question, my problem lies with both and beyond. Current IPCC/NASA/NOAA/NCDC manipulation of temperature data is proven and should be disconcerting to anyone claiming to care about the ‘science’. When you’re wrong, do you admit it or instead double down with hyperbole? I also disagree with the entire faulty premise of cause.

            And I’ll also ask: what is the ideal global mean temperature?

            I’ll just leave this here:

            “What all the ideological crusades of the twentieth-century have in common is their moral exaltation of the anointed above others, who are to have their very different views nullified and superseded by the views of the anointed and imposed via the power of government. Several key elements have been common to most of them:

            1) Assertions of a great danger to the whole of society, a danger to which the masses of people are oblivious
            2) An urgent need for action to avert impending catastrophe
            3) A need for government to drastically curtail the dangerous behavior of the many, in response to the prescient conclusions of the few
            4) A disdainful dismissal of arguments to the contrary as either uninformed, irresponsible, or motivated by unworthy purposes”

            -Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed (1996)

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            Uh, I wouldn’t dismiss that “comic strip.” The author (Randall Munroe) is a physicist and has worked for NASA. Thomas Sowell is a political hack who wouldn’t know “science” if it crawled up his arse and bit his spleen.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Macca is under the impression that being a C-student in high school has made him an expert on climate change.

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            Funny to see the True Believers circle the wagons.

            @JimZ: I know who Randall Munroe is, and yes, I’ll gladly dismiss his cartoon as the tripe that it is. NASA is part of this problem (GISS) as their ‘research’ is wholly politically driven to generate the “unprecedented rise”. Big business, too. They received $1.2B in 2012 to “combat climate change.” Their tampering with temperature records is well documented. Funny that you dismiss Sowell – his quote isn’t limited to discussions of ‘science’, but I see it hits close to home. You’re following the playbook really well – way to go!

            @Pch101: Of course, lacking any substantive input, go to the playbook – “disdainful dismissal of arguments to the contrary as uninformed.” My undergrad and postgrad education thankfully spared me from joining the cult.

            Look guys, I understand you take offense when your religion is challenged, and that’s to be expected. Your faith is to be commended.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Anyone who would cite Thomas Sowell as an expert on climate change while ignoring the work of actual climate change scientists and physicists can only be described with a word that rhymes with “idiot.”

          • 0 avatar
            operagost

            It’s nice how leftists are allowed to call black men “political hacks” without being tagged as racists.

          • 0 avatar
            DukeGanote

            I read the autobiography of Victor Grossman, the American who defected to East Germany in the 1950s. His discomfort with the Stasi… Fun to watch him squirm.

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            @Pch101: I’m embarrassed for you that I have to explain this. The referenced quote from Sowell has nothing to do with ‘climate change’ expressly – did you even read it? I never ‘cited’ Sowell as an ‘expert on climate change’ – you concocted that mismatch.

            I noted that his writing 20 years ago perfectly describes this religious movement. For someone who goes straight to an ad hominem regarding my education, your lack of reading comprehension is worrisome. Your dismissal of that quote just reveals how accurate it is.

            @operagost: Glad someone else noticed that. If one were to call Ta-Nehisi Coates a ‘political hack’, well, you know how that would be received.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Thomas Sowell offers some lame opinions, and you regurgitated them. Aside from demonstrating that you feel horribly insecure and the need to cite non-experts in order to provide you with a sense of validation, you are only proving that your research skills suck.

            Incidentally, before you make a passing reference to a scientific paper that you’ve obviously never read, you should probably first try to figure out what that paper actually says.

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            @Pch101: I know you’re riled up because I’ve questioned your religious faith and it’s normal to lash out in response. You project your own insecurities in your attempts at landing a put down.

            There’s a playbook for this ideological crusade, and Sowell nailed it. I’m not sure why you feel the need to refer to him as a ‘non-expert’ – I never suggested he had anything to do with this ‘scientific’ scam. Your repeated lack of comprehension thereof renders further debate useless.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’m not angry. I’m mocking you.

            You come across as a resentnik who barely managed to finish high school and loathes the “elites” who he blames for holding him back.

            Anyone who knows something about science realizes that you’re a clown and that you are not to be taken seriously. Your reference to a paper that does not say what you think that it says is an example of that.

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            It’s always funny to watch fairytale-clinging leftists throw a petulant fit while claiming intellectual/moral high ground.

            Thanks Pch for some comedy to start the weekend; I needed a good laugh.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Inappropriate laughter is the sort of thing that we expect from crazy people.

            I see that you didn’t dispute the fact that you are poorly educated, but I suppose that you can’t really offer an honest defense.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          @ Macca:

          What’s getting Tesla in trouble? It’s not Big Oil, or Big Coal, or Big Fracking, or Big Whatever, because at the moment that’s what Tesla cars are running on, by and large. It’s the autopilot system and the market suspicion of the Model 3 being vaporware. Those are self inflicted wounds. That was my point to VoGo. Don’t misunderstand me, though…Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Whatever all need to go away, and they need to do it sooner rather than later, whether Tesla’s cars work or they don’t. Leaving the whole climate change question out of this, there’s no argument that these “dirty” forms of energy are incredibly damaging to the environment, and they aren’t going to be around forever. And the pollution problems these energy forms generate is based on the current level of industrialization here on planet Earth – what happens when all those third world countries begin to develop at a high rate? The pollution and depletion of resources just accelerates. Even if the theory of man made climate change is wrong, things like smog, groundwater pollution, acid rain and so on aren’t theoretical at all, and neither is the fact that these sources of energy are finite and non replaceable.

          Fossil fuel needs to go no matter what you you slice it. Tesla just happens to be part of the solution to this problem.

          And if you think climate change isn’t real, and that humans aren’t part of the problem, you’re delusional, at best. And the “science can’t prove this 100%” argument is nonsense – the scientist known as “your doctor” can’t prove 100% that you’ll die of lung cancer if you smoke either. He won’t even try. But there’s a name for people who don’t follow this scientific advice: fool. And when it comes to your own body, feel free to be as foolish as you want. But don’t presume to be foolish with the planet my kids live on.

          There is a tendency among people who don’t buy into climate change to make this a “PC” or “free speech” issue, and that’s just plain illogical.

          • 0 avatar
            Ridgerunner

            Could you explain how Tesla is part of the solution of making fossil fuel go away? The energy source (electricity) creates pollution when generated, it just does not create pollution when consumed. Current worldwide electricity production comes from: Coal 39%, Gas 22%, Hydro 17%, Nuclear 11%, Other 7%, and Oil 5%. Hydro is under fire for changing natural river cycles, and wind is killing birds. We have not discovered the “free lunch” as of energy yet.

          • 0 avatar
            Macca

            @Ridgerunner: there you go bringing facts into these testaments of faith. Amazing how someone could think that we’ll just ‘move on’ tomorrow.

            @FreedMike: I’ll refrain from impugning your highly creative worldview – but I will address this little gem: “There is a tendency among people who don’t buy into climate change to make this a “PC” or “free speech” issue, and that’s just plain illogical.”

            Funny you should bring that up, and even funnier that’s how you see it. I hadn’t gone there in my posts, but perhaps you’re aware that prominent politicians, celebrities, and ‘scientists’ have called for active prosecution of skeptics (even the death penalty, in an extreme case). These fascists are the ones who make this a “free speech issue” – when they actively call for punishment of those who disagree. It’s just a logical extension of Sowell’s prescient playbook, with a dash of Alinksy for good measure.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            Ridgerunner,
            Tesla is buying SolarCity, which Musk is pushing aggressively to lead the conversion of US electricity production to sustainable means.

            While energy production is mostly from fossil fuels today, that is changing quickly as solar and wind are becoming cheaper than coal and natural gas. If you look at the construction of new electricity capacity, it’s all solar and wind.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @Ridgerunner – “… and wind is killing birds. We have not discovered the “free lunch” as of energy yet.”

            I’ll just say I’m not looking for a free lunch… just a better lunch. Actually, windmills are kiling birds at a lower rate than man-made transmission towers.

            Yes, electricity creates pollution when generated, but it’s worth noting electricity made from natural gas is cleaner than electricity made from coal. But drilling and fracking for oil is the dirtiest of them all. And transporting oil can be a mess of leaks and spills.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            “There is a tendency among people who don’t buy into climate change to make this a “PC” or “free speech” issue, and that’s just plain illogical.”

            Pondering this, I can only conclude they and their retirement plans are heavily invested in oil companies. After a lifetime of work, they want “theirs”… and screw the generation(s) that come after.

            Now if only “big oil” thought of themselves as “big energy”, they wouldn’t feel so threatened by electric cars, renewable energy, and climate change.

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          And yet, Exxon knew of climate change as far back as 1981:

          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/08/exxon-climate-change-1981-climate-denier-funding

          and funded deniers for 27 more years.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Boy, Mr. 06-08 TL had some poor judgment there. How do you not see a Tesla coming all by itself toward the intersection?

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I count 8 frames. That’s not really video.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “We collect diagnostic data from Tesla vehicles in a responsible way..”

    That’s how I peep my buddies wives & daughters, responsibly. And respectfully.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    This is the world we now live in.
    Everything will be connected to clouds and manufacturers.

    Not saying it is naturally a bad thing, but like most tech, it is moving faster than our civilization can get its arms around and regulate. Never gonna improve as we see the glacier like movement of our congress here in the USA. It seems they move quickly for PC and empathy laws…but real actual needed regulation is mostly following the money.

    I have begun to see even kitchen appliances now requiring connections to manufacturers. Just hope the are not sneaking in cams. I would make a terrible Snowden leak video.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Congress moves quickly to pass PC and empathy laws? You’ll have to fill us in on that one, TT.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Well…ok. If I must.

        Congress passing laws about the use or retarded or retardation. That made a difference in all our lives and standards of living.

        Congress passed a law forbidding the use if “illegal aliens or aliens in the LIbrary Of Congress. (gotta be only called “noncitizens” or “unauthorized immigration.”.

        Well…how about those special to my heart hate laws. You know, VoGo, those laws that are not only on the books in some shape or form already, but go far beyond and highlight specific crimes committed against certain people as more important than crimes committed against us other non specials.
        Like.
        Crimes against women laws? As if crimes against non women is slightly less…criminal?
        I dunno. I just think these are embarrassingly illogical.
        Full of, as I said before, empathy and send bad signals to aliens, should they be listening in.
        It might embolden them to come and eat us…or refrain from doing so from fear of catching the Stupid Gene we carry.
        Ya know what…it’s late and I don’t wanna go on.
        Gonna fix myself some cereal.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          TT,
          I have no idea what you are talking about with the retarded and illegal alien bills – you’ll have to cite the exact bill because it really is hard to understand why a Republican dominated Congress would pass them.

          The Crimes against Women law is a really smart idea. It basically allows women who are raped to understand their rights and how they’ll be treated under the law on Federal and native American lands. The hope is that states will copy these laws for themselves. The law will help lock up rapists and protect women better. I cannot imagine anyone who isn’t a rapist (I’m not accusing you) being against this law.

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            VoGo
            No.
            Do your own homework and educating.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            You’re opposed to a bill that has the federal government replace the term mental retardation with intellectual disability?

            Why? Is it really that big a deal to you? Does this harm you in some important way to know that people who are less fortunate are labeled with a less painful description?

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            some people just have a stubborn “ain’t nobody gonna tell me what to do” mindset which extends over even the most trivial things.

          • 0 avatar
            SP

            Vogo,

            I don’t think the term “mental retardation” is the source of pain. It was used as a technical term for decades. It only became an insult because people made it an insult. It was not what they said, it was how they said it.

            Passing a law about the term seems a bit silly. But, if people prefer a different term, eh, why not?

            The unfortunate thing is, replacing the term doesn’t replace the urge to belittle others.

            An unfortunate urge that is usually on full display in these comment pages.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      If people could just quit falling for the scam that the solution to anything at all is government banning things (but not banning them for those who get a dispensation from the ban on account of being more equal, donating to political campaigns and sending their kids to the same schools politicians does, of course…), things wouldn’t be nearly so dystopian.

      Quit banning cars that are so simple to build that they need no, or virtually no, sensors and, tah-dah, above problem solved. Quit the childish obsession with license plates, and it’s even more solved. Get rid of totalitarian “know your customer” laws relegating crypto currencies to the fringes, and you’ve solved yet more again. At it’s root. Once and for all. No ifs, whats, who saids, whens and buts about it.

      But, indoctrinated drones will be indoctrinated drones. Forever living in the cage designed for them. Smiling when told to, making Dear Leader feel all warm and fuzzy that he is such a kind and popular Dear Leader in the process. Sucks that they have to drag those of us somewhat higher up the evolutionary ladder down there with them, though. Making us such an insufferable bunch of grumpy grouches in the process.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        VoGo does this all the time. It s what PC and others love to do.
        Twist and confuse, substitute and change focus.
        The point was the silly waste of government time and the ability to quickly jump on laws based upon empathy and not the good for all. Difficult laws are rarely passed and usually only under compete dures or crisis.

        This is a major philosophical position…that attention of media and lawmakers runs to focus on empathy and ignore the greater good. Focus on a hurt individual and moment and make a law that long term actually does harm or damage.
        Do we really need examples here?
        It is taking place all the time. Be it gun laws or sexuality identity laws. Laws are being made empathising with the few and yet causing harm to the many.
        This has also been a major position of psychologist as well. And it is exactly what today’s media loves to focus on as it makes money. If It Bleeds I Leads. Not what is important.
        Ratings. It’s all about ratings.

        This was my point, but VoGo misses.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          “but VoGo misses”

          VoGo don’t miss much. He’s a little whack but that’s just cultural.

          Plus he makes way more money than you.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            You………

            you………

            intellectually disabled person YOU.

            Yup…….. that sounds way worse than calling someone a r-t-rd.

            On the subject of PC:
            Can I call someone “a helmeted short bus window licker”?

          • 0 avatar
            TrailerTrash

            Kenmore..
            From what hidden cam have you been watching me or how have you hacked into my banking? As long as we are talking about cams and the like.

            You’ve got me feeling paranoid.

            I mean…VoGo makes more money than me?
            Really?

            I may have made more in one bonus VoGo has made in a lifetime of work to this point in his career. Don’t have much left…but it was great while it lasted!!! Life went to boozin and hell.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Well, it won’t matter in a few years anyhow, will it?

  • avatar
    cirats

    Interesting video. I only watched it a few times, but I think it is safe to say that the Tesla was really pushing that yellow light and/or was going way too fast. The light looks yellow in the very first frame and certainly is by the 2nd or 3rd, it seems like the truck well ahead of the Tesla stopped for the red (either that, or it magically turned into a small sedan and rounded the corner – where was that car hiding?), and the light is clearly red during the crash. I imagine the Acura driver figured the Tesla would stop for the red or greatly misjudged its speed, not that the Acura driver isn’t at least somewhat at fault here, too.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • King of Eldorado: Totally agree about the fog lights. “Road debris” broke one on my 2011 (2d gen) Fit a...
  • sportyaccordy: What the hell man. This place is such an incubator for great talent. Hope you stick around and best of...
  • Zackman: “… lease return or a CPO is the same as new.” I couldn’t agree more. The 2015 CR-V...
  • Scoutdude: Since cornering lights have gone away I leave the fog lights on in all of my vehicles with them as they do...
  • ehaase: Buick should give up on the upscale sedan market in North America. Buyers have no interest in LaCrosse or...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States