By on June 6, 2016

Tesla Model X crash

A California man is looking for answers — and repairs — after he claims his five-day-old Tesla Model X unexpectedly accelerated into a building at full speed as he was attempting to park.

Puzant Ozbag took to the Tesla forum to describe the June 5 incident, which launched his vehicle into the wall of an Irvine store and left his wife with minor airbag-related injuries.

In his words:

Our 5 day old Tesla X today while entering a parking stall suddenly and unexpectedly accelerated at high speed on its own climbing over 39 feet of planters and crashing into a building.

The airbags deployed and my wife’s arms have burn marks as a consequence.

This could have easily been a fatal accident if the car’s wheels were not turned slightly to the left. If they were straight, it would have gone over the planters and crashed into the store in front of the parking stall and injured or killed the patrons

The acceleration was uncontrollable, seemed maximum and the car only stopped because it hit the building and caused massive damage to the building.

Following the crash, Ozbag called his Tesla delivery consultant, who put him in touch with the automaker’s roadside assistance provider. The vehicle was towed to a AAA storage facility.

Tesla Model X crash

When questioned by forum commenters, the owner said the vehicle was operating at very low speeds, wasn’t in Autopilot mode, nor was it using the “summon” feature. Ozbag said Autopilot only engages at speeds above 18 miles per hour, and he was only going three to five miles per hour at the time.

Ozbag told the forum he wanted Tesla to find out why his Model X behaved the way it did.

“That is the question I want Tesla to answer,” he wrote. “A software glitch or a computer malfunction, either way the results could have been much worse and needs to be fully investigated.”

Regardless of whether the crash was caused by a malfunction or human error, the Model X has been a thorn in Tesla’s side since it first rolled off the assembly line. Most consumer complaints target the vehicle’s signature “falcon wing” doors, which can unexpectedly open and close on their own.

The electric automaker is currently being sued by a man who says door glitches rendered his Model X unsafe and undriveable. During last week’s public shareholders meeting, Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivered his most recent apology to Model X owners for the inconvenience, and said that imminent software upgrades will tame the wonky doors.

[Source: Elektrek] [Images: Puzant: imgur]

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105 Comments on “Tesla Model X Owner Says His Vehicle Crashed Itself...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    After a week the Model X could tolerate the gross black paint on its feet no longer, and sprinted for the nearest nail salon to correct the issue.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      That is a bad, and increasingly common, color combo.
      Always makes me think the owner is too cheap to buy hubcaps. Obviously that’s not the case here.

      Don’t Teslas have front proximity sensors and automatic braking?

      • 0 avatar
        Drew8MR

        I always (if the car has nice ones) take off my hubcaps and keep them in the garage until I sell the car. Wheels are easier to clean and easier to refill without those stupid plastic frisbees. Though if you wanted to rock a center cover that’s ok I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          White Shadow

          Hubcaps? Really? I purchased my first new car in 1987 and 15 new cars since that time and I have never owned a car with hubcaps. Not even one. Then again, I don’t drive econoboxes or base model cars, which I believe are the only time you’ll find hubcaps on a new car these days.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            White Shadow,

            I live in snow country. People buy steel wheels for their winter tires and cheap-out on hubcaps.
            They spend all the money they save on brake jobs because they have no hubcaps to protect their calipers from salt spray.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    California is in the top 10 states in lawyers per capita.
    So no problem finding plenty of help on the lawsuit.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    I wonder if they gonna put in a self-destruct mode into the system? Those of us who think all this autonomous crap is a big joke are probably laughing their a$$es off just about now.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    This just in, the Tesla that crashed claimed that it mistook the accelerator for the brake pedal.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      Exactly. I’d give the guy a just a tiny bit more slack since he’s driving a much more tech advanced car than the average Joe, but I truly believe that the vast majority of these claims are due to driver error and not any fault of the car itself. This goes all the way back to the Audi fiasco back in the early 80s.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    “Ozbag”

    Eee! I am SO stealing that!

    “climbing over 39 feet of planters and crashing into a building.”

    Their mating drive is fierce, if not yet precisely directed.

  • avatar

    Makes for a great MTV show: “You’ve just been autonomized”.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If Tesla has a software gremlin = Bad.

    If Tesla’s log file shows a loose nut behind the wheel = Bad for Mr Ozbag.

    Oh, and does it need a windshield?
    https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/06/see-world-pay-big-windshield-replacement-bill/

  • avatar
    smartascii

    The black box will tell. I’d also be interested in knowing if there’s security camera footage. Were the brake lights on when the crash happened? That’ll at least let you know if the driver was trying to brake with his foot on the correct pedal.
    I’m not a software engineer, but it seems at least somewhat unlikely that this car or any other could, because of an electronics or software glitch, suddenly and unintentionally accelerate that abruptly and forcefully. Can the more engineering-minded among the B&B confirm or deny that, please?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      I think Tesla records video when the autopilot features are enabled, so they probably have footage.

    • 0 avatar
      NickS

      @smartascii – software can be very complex but there a very long evolution in testing methodologies, frameworks and tools. In theory anything is possible but it is extremely unlikely that the software has bugs that could easily cause catastrophic failure. We are talking about everything else being a stationary object here. I don’t know what Tesla uses specifically, but for safety-critical systems there are usually more than one system deciding what course of action to take. If the car was in manual mode as Tesla says, it’s all on the driver (unless again, there is some glitch in how modes change).

      The great thing about software is that Tesla can easily investigate and surely they will have built it to log all relevant parameters for protection from baseless lawsuits, and can even upgrade the code to a more debug-rich version if they really want to pursue that.

      I’ll throw another reference point here. Standard ECUs and other onboard controllers run software that controls the throttle and various other systems, braking, transmission, etc. on ICE cars. There are more mechanical components but the software is what ties those together into a coherent well-behaved system. That software has proven incredibly robust and absolutely fool-proof. There are probably a billion cars running one of several thousand versions of software that controls the engine and brakes and it’s a bit of a testament to their quality that there have been no real failures to speak of.

      I hope that partly answers your question.

  • avatar
    Chan

    After losing too many brain cells following the non-issue that was Toyota’s SUA “scandal,” I’m hoping that this one will actually amount to an actual problem and give the industry something to learn from.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Looks more like the car is going to have to learn when NOT to go to full acceleration, no matter how hard the pedal gets pressed.

      I would note that in another article the owner claims his wife was behind the wheel.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Suuuuuuure it did, buddy, sure it did.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Here is the crash site.

    Nail’s Paradise, Irvine Boulevard, Irvine, CA

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Nail's+Paradise/@33.7121843,-117.7597811,3a,60y,266.86h,83.7t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHfsKUAosymA8JsGR-2bIew!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m5!3m4!1s0x80dcdcc025451525:0xb8c212d2679562f7!8m2!3d33.7122527!4d-117.7601082!6m1!1e1

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    The front end hit the building, and all the side curtain airbags deployed? That’s expensive, unnecessary, and stupid. But the airbag supplier is happy.

  • avatar
    yamahog

    Oh man I hope this is a case of someone confusing the brake pedal and gas pedal like the Toyota unintended acceleration fiasco.

    Unlike Toyota, Tesla is going to make this very public if the guy messed up. Expect to see something like ‘our software wouldn’t mix up the gas and brake pedals and this is another example of why humans are unfit to drive’.

    Thank god for the black boxes, if you mess up the brake and the gas pedal, you gotta pay the piper. This guy is a freaking idiot if he made a mistake and then tried to blame someone else in a very public way. I wish we could go back to all those bluehairs whose camrys got away from them and hit them with the facts.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Tesla has already analyzed the vehicle log; looks like driver error, as usual:

      http://www.autoblog.com/2016/06/06/tesla-rejects-claim-unintended-acceleration-model-x/

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Thank god. I’m not so olafish that I’d say ‘electronic throttles never fail’ and ‘mechanical throttles never bind’ but that event has to be so rare relative to someone pressing the wrong pedal.

        Old people / uncoordinated people blaming the throttle for unintended acceleration are akin a person with lung cancer and a 2 pack a day habit claiming that they got their lung cancer from radon.

        Thanks for the link, it’s great to see I’m vindicated.

      • 0 avatar
        Boff

        What a Puzant Ozbag!

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    “Sudden acceleration” is back! Tesla can join the Audi 5000 and Toyota Camry in the hall of skeptical frowns.

    The B&B back in the day decided the story went like this: Aunt Margo buys her first European car, a lovely Audi 5000. She’s idling along through a parking lot when the engine computer decides to bump idle speed up a tad, causing the car to pick up a bit more speed. Margo presses what she thinks is the brake but is actually the gas. Margo’s 5000 has an automatic, but given that the car was originally designed to have a clutch, the pedals are closer together than Margo is used to. The car goes faster, she presses harder, the car goes faster. Boom. Officer, she protests, I was flooring the brakes!

    The argument has always been that she can’t have been pressing the brakes because the brakes are stronger than the engine.

    After all this time, you’d think every automaker would program their cars such that the throttle signal is canceled if the brake pedal is pressed. But maybe that would just open them up to lawsuits from idiots who ride the brakes: “it wouldn’t accelerate and I got rear-ended!”

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Does the brakes-stronger-than-engine rule apply to EVs? They’re torquey beasts.

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        Most likely it still is if the car has any sort of disc brakes.

        There are some points that may make it not so in some situations. A car with brake by wire or regenerative braking may apply what it calculates is the desired level of deceleration. Mercedes did the brake by wire thing like ten years ago if I’m not mistaken. I’m not sure what mixture of braking methods the Tesla uses. I’m also not sure if the user has any physical connection to the brakes or if their pedal input is just measured by some load cells and used to calculate what sort of line pressure the ABS module should apply or at what rate the motor/s should regenerate at.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        Absolutely. The wheel torque of an EV isn’t that much higher than the wheel torque of a conventional car with all its mechanical advantage.

        The Corvette C6 made 400 ft lbs of torque at the crank shaft, right?

        First gear on the C6 was ~4:1? And it had a 3.4 final drive ratio?

        So when the engine is making 400 ft lbs of torque, the output shaft of the transmission is transmitting 4 * 400 ft lbs of torque. And the axle is carrying that 1600 ft. lbs of torque * 3.4 = 5440 ft. lbs of torque.

        And then there’s an argument to be made about the leverage ratio between axle and wheel but we’ll ignore that.

        The magnitude of torque from a direct drive electric motor isn’t that impressive. The Tesla actually has a 9.7:1 final drive reduction and that helps it accelerate like it does. 400 ft. lbs of torque at the wheels isn’t very exciting.

        It would take a 700-900 horsepower engine at regular reduction ratios to overpower the brakes on a regular midsize sedan. On big brake sports cars, the figure is closer to 2100 horsepower. Since the advent of hydraulic disk brakes, it’s become common practice to size the brakes so they’re ~4x as powerful as the engine. For context, regular cars on all season tires brake from 60 to 0 about as fast as fast bikes and fast cars (liter bikes and GT-Rs / 911 Turbos) do 0 to 60.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Brakes should be able to dissipate more KW of energy than the engine can generate, by a wide margin. That’s why 60-0 takes just over 100 feet, but 0-60 takes a longer distance.

        There are a lot of caveats. If you’re already going fast and your brakes are heat-soaked, your accumulated speed plus full engine power could overpower the brakes. Also, I don’t know if electrics and hybrids undersize the brakes because they expect to use regenerative braking. They shouldn’t, but it’s a possibility, especially with brands that already have marginal brakes. Wouldn’t apply in this case, at parking lot speeds.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      That has been the case since drive by wire was introduced by Audi as early as 2000 with engines like the ATQ 2.8 APB 2.7T and ATC 1.8T. The ECM will kill the throttle if you try to hold the brake at the same time. This feature is defeated often when the ECM is tuned to permit trail braking into a turn without the car being unpredictable at a critical moment.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    It drove itself into the swamp!

    This is what you get for trying to make a simple lane change.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Any idea of the driver’s age? If he a geezer, he’s got no business buying a friggin, complicated Tesla. For once Florida is not the site of the confused pedal syndrome. ( CPS)

    • 0 avatar

      Well, here’s a question. Or three. Or more. If the software takes over and runs the car wide open, will the computerized braking system still work? And if it’s a software problem, will anything useful be recorded in the black box? Can a strong radio signal disrupt the computers on the car?

      I’ve been a network engineer for more years than I want to admit. Since Novel invented the small computer network in 1986. In my time I’ve had many notable problems with computer networks that weren’t thought about at the time they were installed. A couple come to mind. An FM radio station with a transmission tower 50 feet from the building that locked up every computer in the building whether they were on the network or not. And a pharmacy who’s entire network locked up every morning at 10AM and every evening at 3PM. Turned out the local police were gathering at a cafe next door for coffee at 10 and 3. When they all keyed their mics and went 10-7 it locked up every computer in the pharmacy. 20 minutes later a repeat performance as they all went 10-8.

      So to me it’s a legitimate question. Can something external to the vehicle scramble the computer? And if that’s so, could a prankster build a device to trigger the event? Are devices like this being built to embarrass Hilary Clinton? Is Batman a transvestite?

      Lots of questions and I don’t know the answers.

      If these cars can be externally manipulated or confused by external phenomena then none of them are safe to operate.

      They better be “geezer friendly” since that’s the largest segment of the population able to pay those prices.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        I can assure you that Batman knows which batroom to use.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> Since Novel invented the small computer network in 1986.

        In January of 1980, we wired up a network of Ti 990/4s using rf modems to monitor the line at the GMAD Fremont plant. A year before, we did Ok. City and Arlington. Plenty of other companies doing small computer networking prior to 1986. By the way, ever heard if a company called Xerox and something called ethernet?

        • 0 avatar

          The TI-990 was a mini computer, not a microcomputer. It used it’s own smart data terminals and those terminals were connected back to the mini computer via shielded RS-232 cables to the 990 console somewhere in a controlled environment computer room. Since the terminals were RS-232 devices, you could put a modem on both ends of the cable and extend the distance between the host and the terminal to wherever you could make a POTS line go.

          It would be worth noting that such a setup was not impervious to problems. A “scratchy” phone line would put that down. Any external phenomena that interrupted phone service, or just reduced the phone company’s line quality would cause problems.

          I should have said Novell, for all practical purposes, invented the microcomputer network. The staple of small business everywhere.

          You can’t compare the two technologies. Different as night and day.

          Today such monitoring would be done by network, typically ethernet devices using IP protocol. I support a couple of large factories with many devices cabled by ethernet. In those locations we use shielded ethernet run through rigid conduit to prevent RF problems. The machines and such devices are heavily shielded. The cables and the conduits are grounded.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            >> The TI-990 was a mini computer, not a microcomputer

            The 990/4 was a microcomputer. Refer to the preface of the 990/4 maintenance manual part number 0945401-9701. It was a single board computer based on the TMS9900 chip. I can’t remember the exact configuration. We had a/d converters on it and I think the r/f modem was where the conventional modem went. The modem used coax for data similar to a modern cable modem.

            They were not in a computer room, but distributed throughout the plants close to the equipment they were monitoring. Fremont used water cooled enclosures. Other plants used compressed air and a “Vortech” cooler.

            They communicated back to some PDP 11/34 minicomputers. If I remember correctly, there was a Z80 controller on the 11/34’s unibus that communicated back to the 990/4 nodes.

            To a certain point and for a certain period in history, I know a lot of small details about some GM plants including Fremont.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            We also used the 990/4 for the front-end alignment “robot” for the GM 80X cars. It wasn’t networked with the other machines, although I think they monitored it.

      • 0 avatar
        jimble

        NetWare dates to 1983, not 1986, but close enough. Those old coax networks did suffer from all sorts of gremlins.

        • 0 avatar

          Netware dates to 1983, true enough. It was 1986 when Novell started training people and my CNI certification dates back to the second class.

          Coax wasn’t all that bad if you used the right cable. Double-shielded RG-58 (thinnet) for 10BASE2 or double-shielded RG-8 (thicknet) and properly terminated connectors didn’t really cause any trouble. People cut a lot of corners though. Using standard Rg-58, crimp connectors and a $10 radio Shack crimping tool would get you in trouble every time. It was pretty fast though if it was done right.

          • 0 avatar
            Flipper35

            Until someone decides to slide their electric typewriter back over the coax dropping nodes out of the network and then when she slides it forward again and the problems disappear. Turned out she had kinked the cable at the connector attached to her computer right next to the typewriter.

        • 0 avatar
          NickS

          @wr – external radio interference on electronic circuits is pretty much a thing of the past. This doesn’t mean that they can’t be hacked but that is a very specific and precise targeted procedure that is nothing like spraying radio waves across a circuit board.

          Maybe with a solar storm or something like that but down here earth’s magnetic field does a pretty good job.

          • 0 avatar

            I generally agree with you. The entire radio spectrum is pretty tough to protect against though. Longwave, shortwave, microwave… Tough job. Tesla may well have that all covered but you have to wonder if there’s a chink in the armor somehwere.

          • 0 avatar
            NickS

            True there may always be a weak point, but not with regards to radio interference. Radio waves can’t force a microprocessor to somehow behave like it is executing (and flawlessly) a pedal-to-the-metal algorithm. It would have to be some extremely sophisticated radio signal to create a precise set of results in a digital circuit. Microprocessors also have error-detecting baked right into them. They’d post an error and even reboot if they see an anomaly.

            Radio interference problems common in networking tech of 35 years ago are not very applicable to how today’s tech fails. Some previously intractable problems have been taken care of.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        There was a certain block in my sister’s town where Isuzu Rodeos mysteriously died mid-block. It took a while for people to catch on that it was happening to everyone with that car. The culprit was an electromagnetic signal emitted by some weird spiky-ball shaped thing inside a curbside metal cabinet, part of the local cell phone infrastructure or something. It happened to be just the right frequency and intensity to completely shut down the Rodeo’s engine computer. Forgive the fuzziness of details, I was young at the time. :-)

  • avatar
    mcs

    Still lots of issues around autonomous driving. Weird things can happen depending on the surface you’re headed toward. If you can get a recent Subaru manual for a car with EyeSight, they have an extensive list of situations where their product won’t work.

    Tesla states their autopilot features are beta, but they should talk with their attorney as to whether it should be a bit stronger of a statement. I’d make drivers sit through an orientation before enabling the feature on their cars. I’d run them through several simulated failures to make sure they could handle them.

    I’m a Tesla fan and support the development of autonomous/autopilot features, but there needs to be a lot of research before it leaves beta and moves into the mainstream. Unfortunately, much of that research needs to come from as many beta testers as possible. This incident also points out how pathetic Google and some of the other automakers research is. At least Tesla is moving it out into the real world. They, meaning all automakers, need to get a lot of paid beta testers with very fast reflexes and reaction times out on the road to wring out the bugs in the technology. It’s going to take years and a lot of miles.

    Some of the technology is pretty good already. My son had his first autobraking experience in his iA. Some rain-soaked branches were hanging lower than usual over the driveway into the path of his car. He didn’t see them because of the dark and rain. The car with its infrared laser scanner spotted them without a problem and stopped. He was wondering what had happened, then noticed the branches.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    Heh.. flappy door go doi-yoi-yoi-yoinggggg.

    Crashmobile lives!

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    I drove a P85 Model S the other day. It was around a parking lot, so I didn’t have much chance of experiencing the road manners, other than to note two things. EPS without the masking noise of an engine is awful to listen to at low speeds, or else Tesla power steering makes everyone else’s EPS seem as refined as a Premiers Crus claret. Also, briefly stomping the accelerator didn’t result in explosive acceleration. I’m sure that given time and determination the ‘instantaneous’ torque would have hit like a catapult, but the car seemed to be programmed to avoid behaving like a Mustang leaving Cars and Coffee.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    It was his wife at the wheel.. He changed his story at some point. She’s 45 and been driving for 30 years, he said, adding it suddenly accelerated to “maximum speed”. Puzant blames a “software glitch” and urged Tesla to stop delivery of the cars and contacted NTSB, which referred him to NHTSA.

    Meanwhile, Tesla has the car and will be pulling black box data.

    Edit: Update: Tesla pulled the car’s log info and explains the car was in full manual mode, was being driven at 6 mph when the accelerator went to 100% *floored*. OOPS!

    electrek.co/2016/06/06/tesla-model-x-crash-not-at-fault/

    computerworld.com/article/3079807/car-tech/tesla-model-x-autonomously-crashes-into-building-owner-claims.html

    forums.teslamotors.com/forum/forums/5-day-old-tesla-x-accelerates-and-crashes-its-own-while-parking?page=2

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Well, what else would they say?

      Though I am quite certain they are correct. My own sainted Mother managed to do this to my stepfather’s one week old Grand Prix back in ’77. Drove it right through the back of the garage into the back yard, doing no favors at all to the Grand Prix or the garage. Foot slipped off the brake onto the gas, and as she was 110% certain she was hard on the brake, away she went! She refused to drive automatics for a long time after that.

      I have no doubt that somebody is going to get killed in or by a Tesla in autopilot mode eventually, but this wasn’t it.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        I happens more than most realize. Probably 98% of drivers with “runaways” know instantly, they F’d up and never consider denying it.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          A family friend who used to work at a GM dealer had a car come in that had been in a crash. The driver claimed brake failure. A few days later some engineers from GM showed up and analysed the vehicle’s ECU/BCU. The person did not hit the brakes until after the collision. A copy of all the data was sent to the police and that was all she wrote.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I was in a medical lab one time to have blood drawn when a car came through the wall right in front of me. Yup… lady thought she was hitting the brake and floored the gas instead. Difference was, she went through a brick wall, not some weak little stick and wallboard structure as we see above.

          Betting the hard bumps of going over that landscaping stone knocked her foot off the pedal just as it hit the building.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        My mom did this once too, in Dad’s ginormous ’74 Toronado. We were pulling up to the drive-in at A&W and she hit the gas instead of the brake. Flying Toronado!

        • 0 avatar
          Flipper35

          Mom did this in my Cobra replica. Fortunately it wasn’t running, we were pushing it out of the garage and it started rolling down the driveway and I could hear the throttle hitting the block on the floorboard. She complained the brakes didn’t work but dad and I both heard the throttle.

  • avatar
    dr_outback

    And so it begins…

  • avatar
    Spartan

    So what we have here is a Model X owner that thinks they’re smarter than Tesla and their lawyers and is looking for a payday.

    Tesla could announce the first idiot proof car and soon after, humans would invent a better idiot.

  • avatar
    JK43123

    But officer, I was speeding to the hospital! I have a Puzant Ozbag and it’s about to burst!

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    It aint easy being green.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Imagine this guy’s surprise when it turned out his wife screwed the pooch here. Wouldn’t want to be in their house tonight.

    #oops

  • avatar
    stuart

    I have a Dumb Question.

    Suppose the Tesla was at fault. Can we be certain that

    A) Tesla’s black box is telling the truth?
    B) Tesla Corp. is telling us the truth about the info recorded in the black box?

    Remember, when the Toyota unintended acceleration scandal began, Toyota assured us it was the driver, or the floor mat. However, an independent expert was brought in to examine Toyota’s software, and found numerous significant problems. He was able to demonstrate such a bug in Toyota’s computer:

    http://embeddedgurus.com/barr-code/2013/10/an-update-on-toyota-and-unintended-acceleration/

    http://www.barrgroup.com/files/killer_apps_barr_keynote_eelive_2014.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “A) Tesla’s black box is telling the truth?
      B) Tesla Corp. is telling us the truth about the info recorded in the black box?”

      yes to both. Those links you provided are garbage. they (or it, since they’re from the same source) demand proving a negative. e.g. Toyota “hasn’t proven their cars don’t spontaneously accelerate, therefore they may actually spontaneously accelerate.” Which is nonsense.

      Look, I’ve personally experienced an unintended acceleration event. it was 1993, I was working for a combo gas station/garage, and I took the shop truck (a 1987 Ford F-250) to go pick up parts. I turned ’round a corner and when I lifted my foot off of the gas pedal, the truck kept going. I stomped it a couple of times, then realized the thick floor mat was bunched up against the pedal. I pulled it away and the truck slowed down. Problem solved, I didn’t plow into a building or kill anyone.

      Cars don’t just “spontaneously accelerate.”

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        I dimly remember a reference made on this site about a domestic brand that for a while, long ago, shipped with carburetors whose butterfly valve failed open. Is that conceivable?

      • 0 avatar
        stuart

        Um.

        The links are not garbage. Toyota lost an unintended acceleration lawsuit because their software was really bad. The jury was considering punitive damages when Toyota suddenly settled with the plaintiffs.

        I work in software, and when my co-workers heard that Toyota didn’t even have “source control” for their black-box software, every one was shocked. That’s very, very irresponsible. And that was only one of Toyota’s mistakes.

        The first link goes to an article with links to five other articles in three reputable engineering-focused magazines.

        It turns out there really was “a ghost in the machine.”

        • 0 avatar
          WheelMcCoy

          Something about those links don’t sit right with me. I don’t have the time for a deep dive, but NASA had 30 engineers working 10 months and found nothing. Barr takes assignments as an expert witness.

          There’s was an NBC (?) TV special where they demonstrated a “hack” that can cause unintended acceleration, but was discredited later… and I think documented somewhere here on TTAC.

          Pointing to human error is difficult to accept, especially if those involved got hurt or lost a loved one.

          • 0 avatar
            Chan

            In layman’s terms, the “hack” was quite literally wiring the brake pedal to the accelerator signal to send an erroneous signal.

            I’m afraid no car is immune to that, and that report was the biggest load of bull I had ever read masquerading as an “investigation.”

          • 0 avatar
            stuart

            NASA didn’t have access to Toyota’s sources.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Nasa didn’t “find nothing.”
            They found that the accelerator pedal could easily short-out to wide open throttle (no ground between signal traces).

            They also found that the software was so badly coded that it was essentially impossible to know what it was doing at any given time. I read the report a long time ago, but I remember stuff like unhandled exceptions, uninitialized variables, no source control. All that on top of a needlessly amateurish complex design.

            There was no “smoking gun,” but the whole design reeked so strongly of spent gunpowder that it was impossible to tell which guns were smoking.

          • 0 avatar
            WheelMcCoy

            @stuart – “NASA didn’t have access to Toyota’s sources.”

            @heavy handle – “They [NASA] also found that the software was so badly coded”

            Now this is confusing.

            I can buy that the code was sloppy. But I’ve also seen neat code that had a latent 1 line bug. Regardless of code, the black box logging was not found to be pulling a VW.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And Elvis is alive.

      • 0 avatar
        stuart

        @HeavyHandle: AFAIK the Toyota black box log was only used a few times, but the logs indicated “nothing wrong” in every instance. The failure was elsewhere in the code; a certain critical thread could hang & die with the throttle stuck wide open, and the log *would not reflect* the true throttle position. E.g. the log was erroneous when an Unintended Acceleration event took place.

        Personally, I’m inclined to believe Tesla. And, when Audi and Toyota were originally accused of UA, I originally assumed they were innocent too. But I was wrong about Toyota.

  • avatar
    myheadhertz

    Ozbag deployed.

  • avatar
    BlueEr03

    Update: A Tesla spokesperson sent us the following statement after reviewing the vehicle’s logs:

    “We analyzed the vehicle logs which confirm that this Model X was operating correctly under manual control and was never in Autopilot or cruise control at the time of the incident or in the minutes before. Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100%. Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed. Safety is the top priority at Tesla and we engineer and build our cars with this foremost in mind. We are pleased that the driver is ok and ask our customers to exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles.”

    Also, his wife was driving the car, not him.

    From: http://electrek.co/2016/06/06/tesla-model-x-crash-not-at-fault/

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    “You’re driving it wrong.”

    -Elon Musk

  • avatar
    dwford

    It’s interesting that the rash of Tesla accidents seems to have happened only recently. Either Tesla has a glitch in the software or they have already run out of smart customers that can operate a complicated vehicle.

  • avatar

    My IT friends call this an ID-10-T error. (user problem, not device)

    Tesla records everything, everywhere.

    There was an article on Slashdot recently about a Computer Programmer who bought a Tesla, and began experimenting with the code. The car reported back to Tesla, and they rolled his software back one update and LOCKED HIM OUT…specifically.

    I’m sure they also know seat position, if the lights were on, and what song was on the radio, too….

    Apparently Tesla owners don’t mind being tracked and recorded more than any other car made…….

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    What if the car autonomously screwed up, and then autonomously altered the data in the black boxes to protect its maker? Seems like I’ve heard this story before:

    “Hal, park the car, please.”
    “I’m sorry, Puzant, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

  • avatar
    turf3

    If the vehicle has hydraulic brakes, and those brakes are in reasonable operating condition, application of the brake (the actual brake, not the pedal to the right of it that you mistook for the brake) will stop the car. End of discussion. The only exception MIGHT be if you travel at highway speeds riding the brake long enough to cause terminal brake fade. I’m not even sure if this can be done except on a four wheel drum brake vehicle.

    End of discussion. Laws of physics.

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    So, when I was 14, my auto mechanics teacher used to let us move vehicles around the parking lot and in and out of bays.

    Once, When moving a vehicle, I managed to stomp on the accelerator instead of the brake. Thankfully, The vehicle was still in park! I would never of realized what I had done had the engine not spooled up, however – if you asked me, I’d have told you I pressed the brake.

    I’ve seen two occasions where someone pulling into a parking spot instead gunned it over one of those parking lot medians and scraped the crap out of their undercarriage. Thankfully both times they seem to have recovered, reversed, and no worse the wear except for their pride and scraped up undercarriage.

    The local drug store near me had THREE instances of someone running through their front door in a year. They now have huge metal-and-concrete barriers up to prevent that sort of thing in the future.

    I think what’s more surprising to me than the fact that this happens, is that we don’t really have a good “fix”. We don’t really want cars to not accelerate when we want them to, but anecdotally, this seems to happen quite a lot, and I’ll wager property damage isn’t the only issue sometimes. How do you solve it? Should modern cars, which have SBS systems to brake when drivers do not, also detect when a vehicle is too close to an object in front and refuse to accelerate?

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      What ever the “fix” may be, I don’t want it. What if I need to ram something? Maybe it’s a school bus stalled on the tracks. Or a fence I need to bust through. Or at least give me an override button.

      But I agree it happens more than anyone realizes. Most go unreported, just an “Oops, went crunch, call the insurance.” Maybe they ‘suck it up’, say if it’s barely more than the deductible, and to save face. That’s if there’s an incident/crash at all.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Concrete/reinforced barriers might be or becoming “code”, with new stores, like handicapped access/parking spaces are required.

      • 0 avatar
        orenwolf

        Well, today any emergency brake assist car won’t let you ran anything either (or at least it will try to brake). Not letting you accelerate is just another step. However, there’s a “disable” switch for these in case you need this very capability, so it’s no different than the existing safety systems today.

        Much like turning off traction control if you need to rock yourself out of a snowdrift.


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