Tesla whistleblower says self-driving tech is not ready for public roads

A former Tesla employee has said that the self-driving technology the company uses for its part-autonomous cars is not safe enough for public roads

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In case the videos of Tesla cars in Autopilot mode careering into child-sized objects or stories from the US in which partly autonomous cars cannot detect motorcycles directly ahead of them are not enough to convince you the tech has flaws, a former Tesla employee has added further doubt.

Lukasz Krupski was formerly a service technician at Tesla, but he is now a whistleblower against the company. Back in May, Mr Krupski leaked the 100GB of internal Tesla data to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, which the outlet published as the ‘Tesla Files’.

Krupski has now spoken to the BBC, to whom he said “I don't think the hardware is ready and the software is ready,” on the subject of Tesla’s Level 2 autonomous technology.

Krupski also told the BBC that Tesla employees had spoken to him about what is known as ‘phantom braking’ events, where a self-driving car will brake even though there are no obstructions to its path or objects to avoid, and he said that this subject was also raised in data he obtained from customer complaints.

“It affects all of us because we are essentially experiments in public roads,” Krupski told the BBC. “So even if you don't have a Tesla, your children still walk in the footpath.”

Tesla’s own 2022 figures say that drivers of its cars that engage the Autopilot mode have one airbag-triggering crash for every five million miles travelled on average, compared to every 1.5 million miles for those who do not engage it, and compared to the US national average of every 600,000 miles. 

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