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Musk oversaw staged Tesla self-driving video, emails show

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Elon Musk looks sly because he's sly.
Expanding / Tesla Inc. CEO Elon Musk arrives in court for the SolarCity trial in Wilmington, Delaware, Tuesday, July 13, 2021. Musk was cool yet belligerent when he testified in court in Delaware about his $2 billion-plus takeover of Tesla. His SolarCity acquisition in 2016 wasn’t a bailout for his struggling Solar provider. Mr. Musk won the case, but there are still a lot of legal issues to get out of the way.

Aldrago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If there was any suspicion that Tesla CEO Elon Musk knew that the company staged a highly publicized self-driving demo in 2016, Email obtained by Bloomberg should give it a rest. In an email, Musk said, “I want to make it clear that everyone’s number one priority is getting an amazing Autopilot demo drive.” We’ll be backfilling the product code with his OTA updates, so hardcoding some is fine.”

Musk believes there’s little wrong with this strategy, saying, “I’m telling the world that this is what cars *will* be able to do, not when you get them.” , instead of clarifying this, the video, Released to the world through Musk’s Twitter accountinstead opens with white text on a black background, telling the viewer “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He’s not doing anything. The car is driving on its own.” .”

On the day of the video’s release, Musk told his followers on Twitter: The car could read parking signsand knew not to park in handicapped spots. he also claimed That someone can use the “Summon” feature with a car parked on the other side of the country.

However, Summon was only released to Tesla drivers three years later. And the results were pretty underwhelmingthe suggestion that the system could drive 3,000 miles on public roads is pretty ridiculous, as it struggled to navigate slow parking lots.

As we know from Ashok Elluswamy, head of Autopilot software at Tesla, the parking demo actually saw a Model X SUV crash into a fence. 2021 New York Times Article— now mostly confirmed by Ellswamy’s testimony in the lawsuit regarding Walter Juan’s death — also claimed the car went over a curb and through some bushes before finding a fence.

This isn’t the first time Tesla has shown difficulty dealing with facts. In 2019 we discovered The company’s repeated claim that Autopilot reduced crashes by 40% is bogus, and in fact the system may have increased crashes by 59%.

that same yearThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had to tell Tesla that it was misleading customers by claiming that NHTSA labeled the Tesla Model 3 the safest car it had ever tested.

Once again, put your heart into it

According to Bloomberg, the video Tesla released on Oct. 20, 2016 is the one with a number of revisions. Musk’s chaotic management style, which was exposed to the world after the recent acquisition of Twitter, was eye-opening at the time.

On October 11, 2016, Musk told staff that everyone should write a daily log detailing their contributions to the demonstration. On Twitter, Musk asked staff to print out the latest lines of code for review., an order that was quietly canceled some time later (probably after reality began). A few days after Musk issued a daily log request, a fourth draft was shared with Musk. This time, the CEO thought the demo should be presented “like one continuous take” because there were too many cuts.

Autopilot and the more controversial new “full self-driving” system still perform poorly in real-life situations.The NHTSA has conducted multiple public investigations into whether Tesla’s driver assistance systems are safe. increase. Following hundreds of reports of phantom braking behavioranother way to determine if a Tesla car can detect the presence of a motorcycle After at least two riders have been killed After they were hit by a Tesla, and a third Tesla crashes into emergency vehicle.

There is also the possibility of criminal prosecution. Deliberately defrauding investors and customers is still a crime in the United States. federal prosecutors are investigating Whether Tesla and Musk’s claims about driver assistance systems live up to that standard. Elluswamy’s testimony certainly does not support Tesla’s claims.

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