Man, it hasn’t even been a whole month since we’ve had to write up one of these look-at-this-moron-in-a-Tesla-abusing-Autopilot, but here we are. And I think it’s important to cover and mock people who do this, because it is deeply fucking stupid. Autopilot is not self-driving, remember. And, really, this is a story of two morons, the dude who pulled this shit and Tesla, the automaker that somehow allows this shit to keep happening.
In case you’ve not seen the video, here you go:
So, we have some smug, attention-starved dipshit with a gaudy watch in his Model X, which is driving in the Level 2 Autopilot mode, a mode that, should it get confused or fail by, oh, I don’t know, something splashing on a camera or a confusing oil stain on the road, would require a human to take control immediately since it has no controlled failover system.
I suppose I should mention that this could possibly be an elaborately executed video designed to just make it seem like he’s doing this incredibly stupid thing instead of actually doing this stupid and dangerous thing
If that proves to be the case, well, then, I’m sorry for doubting you, sweet, sweet Tesla and the guy who did it is still a jackass as this would glorify doing something this dumb. So there.
Now, Tesla does have safeguards to prevent this sort of thing from happening; there’s a torque sensor in the steering wheel that’s supposed to detect a hand on the wheel, and while there’s an alarming array of products available designed to fool it, I can’t see one on the steering wheel in this video, so something else must be going on.
Also, there is a pressure sensor in the seat that should disable Autopilot if the seat is unoccupied, though it seems that the driver’s seat sensor is a simple on/off sensor and not an actual pressure sensor like the passenger seat sensor, which needs to be weight sensitive for airbag enable or disablement.
A simple on/off sensor would be pretty trivial to fool, if that’s what happened here.
It’s really not clear at all how or why any Tesla can continue in Autopilot without anyone in the driver’s seat, but it’s also hardly the first time it’s happened. This dude even shows you one way to do it:
Now, this method isn’t the one that was used in the video, since he’s got the seat belt connected (unless the guy in the first video used something like this) but however it was done, it’s clearly possible, because we’ve seen this happen multiple times.
Again, this is deeply, lavishly stupid. Autopilot wrecks do happen, because Autopilot is not a real autonomous driving solution — it’s a glorified driver assist system and as such, it’s got inherent conceptual flaws.
I reached out to Tesla for a comment or explanation of how this was possible, but, let’s be real, I won’t hear shit from them.
So, to reiterate: doing shit like this on a public highway isn’t cool or edgy or impressive. It’s stupid and dangerous to everyone around you. Walking into a crowded Target and singing Tainted Love by Soft Cell while shitting yourself is a better look than this.