Tesla’s director of software admits 2016 Autopilot demo video was staged

WTF?! Bear in mind the video Tesla launched in 2016 that confirmed off the Autopilot driver-assist system, together with its potential to cease at a crimson visitors mild and transfer away as soon as it turned inexperienced? In line with Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla’s director of Autopilot software program, the video was staged.

In a latest deposition for a lawsuit towards Tesla filed by the household of Wei “Walter” Huang, who died in 2018 when his Mannequin X crashed right into a freeway barrier whereas autopilot was engaged, Elluswamy mentioned the video’s intent was “to not precisely painting what was obtainable for purchasers in 2016. It was to painting what was doable to construct into the system.”

The video begins with a tagline that reads, “The individual within the driver’s seat is simply there for authorized causes. He isn’t doing something. The automobile is driving itself.”

The clip exhibits the Tesla Mannequin X stopping at junctions and obeying visitors lights, although Elluswamy admitted that Autopilot on the time had “no traffic-light-handling functionality.” He additionally mentioned the demo was “particular to some predetermined route” reasonably than utilizing information from the automobile’s cameras and sensors. “It was utilizing extra premapped info to drive,” he mentioned.

The video was created utilizing 3D mapping on the predetermined route from a home in Menlo Park, California, to Palo Alto. Elluswamy mentioned drivers intervened to take management in check runs, and when making an attempt to display the automobile’s self-parking talents, it crashed right into a fence in Tesla’s parking zone.

Elluswamy mentioned the video was made after Tesla boss Elon Musk requested the Autopilot crew to design a “demonstration of the system’s capabilities.” Musk later promoted the video in a tweet, boasting that “Tesla drives itself (no human enter in any respect) through city streets to freeway to streets, then finds a parking spot.”

The New York Instances reported in 2021 that the Tesla used a premapped route within the video, and a automobile had crashed throughout the shoot.

Andrew McDevitt, who represents Huang’s spouse, instructed Reuters the video was “clearly deceptive to function that video with none disclaimer or asterisk.”

After Huang’s Tesla crashed on Freeway 101 in Mountain View, California, in March 2018, the auto producer mentioned that Huang was responsible as he stored his arms off the wheel regardless of the automobile’s repeated warnings to retake management. Nevertheless, the Nationwide Transportation Security Board mentioned Huang had repeatedly complained to family and friends concerning the Tesla typically swerving at that particular crash barrier.

Tesla is dealing with a number of lawsuits associated to its Autopilot software program. There was extra controversy final yr when it introduced the phasing out of ultrasonic sensors from its autos as a part of the swap to Tesla Imaginative and prescient, its camera-based Autopilot system, having beforehand eliminated the radar methods.


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