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Add a camera in the footwell, steering wheel, and what is on center display to be used in accidents only?

Seeing many articles especially from China like this claiming false acceleration.
Here is the most recent article I have seen on this once again.

Perhaps Tesla should add cameras in the footwell, one pointing to the steering wheel, and showing what was displayed on the center screen for example if autopilot was on.
People can easily deny the stored data that says they never pressed the brakes, but very difficult to deny direct video evidence.
I could actually see a scenario where the brake sensors are faulty, even if you pushed the brakes, car would not slow or register the brake depression. Video evidence would be ironclad in this case.
Could save a lot of money in fighting frivolous lawsuits.

Store video of the footwell, steering wheel, and center display separate from any other memory and only accessible in the event of an accident to protect privacy.

I think we all remember the person that went crazy on Tesla at the auto show stating their Tesla brakes did not work and Tesla stating they were never pressed from the data.
I know in the past other companies have been almost bankrupted from these claims of bad brakes here in the US and highly dependent on the jury
With video it would be less of an issue. No doubt it would add a few hundred dollars per car, but could significantly reduce liability from false claims which will could get worse with FSD deployment.

I am always concerned Tesla could be ended by one of these big liability or class action settlements and anything they can do to reduce these risk within a reasonable cost make sense. I would agree if there was actually a problem with the brakes video could also be damming, but I am assuming that is not the case, and if it was so Tesla would work tirelessly to resolve.

What are others thoughts on this?
 
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jjrandorin

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What are others thoughts on this?
(not moderation content, or representing anyone other than myself as a regular poster)

Since you asked for "thoughts"... mine is..

"Why does any regular owner care one single bit about what is being posted on social media about a company (tesla or any other), and why would a regular owner say:

I am always concerned Tesla could be ended by one of these big liability or class action settlements and anything they can do to reduce these risk within a reasonable cost make sense.

There isnt any reason for anyone other than Tesla itself to even devote thought to "fighting social media negative press", so why does any regular owner care?

(and no, there doesnt need to be cameras pointed at peoples feet to combat negative social media).
 
It is not negative social media I was referring to, it is negative press, in the last few years it was unfortunately a very serious issue for Tesla in China. Enough negative news and the party in China feels like they need to take up the cause which is not good.
To the point where Tesla had to issue an official apology.

I do not consider articles from Jalopnik, Reuters, or the China Post to be Social Media, they are actual News.

The reason I care about this is that constant liability lawsuits could eventually drive up the costs of every Tesla as has happened in the past to many US automakers.

I had dinner many times with a former Ford engineer, who was a technology expert in cases against Ford and he said that one of the Ford family members offered him $1 million a year for life to stop testifying against them. Apparently liability was significant enough after he helped win many cases against them, for them to offer this one former engineer what could have been $20-$30 million.

These news articles, negative press, and lawsuits could increase costs for every vehicle and potentially bankrupt the company. Video evidence could make these lawsuits disappear. These could be very low quality cheap cameras and still be effective in preventing these issues.
Toyota recently paid $1.2 Billion in 2014 to settle unintended acceleration cases, that would cover some cheap cameras in every car and probably leave a half Billion left over... Toyota is not alone in these types of settlements, it seemed like every carmaker gets charged with unintended acceleration at some point and they are very difficult to defend.

I think we all want to see Tesla succeed and do whatever they can to reduce the costs that go into every car, including liability costs.
 
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It's not necessary. Tesla can get all the telemetry off the car. They can tell exactly which pedal was being pressed, and what the steering inputs were. Adding cameras will only increase expense with no benefits in return.
I would assume it is theoretically possible that the digital sensor in the brake pedal could fail, then it would not register a brake press? Even if that is not possible due to redundant backups, I think you could probably covince a jury that it is.
I have no doubt that Toyota had a black box in their cars recording this exact same information on brake presses etc and still lost these cases.
My understanding is that all automakers are storing this type of information in the event of a crash in the last decade, not just Tesla. The difference is Tesla is getting it real time, other automakers have to manually access the black box in the car.

With FSD, Teslas liability is much higher than other automakers not yet doing this and they need to go to extraordinary lengths to reduce their liability where they can. Putting engineers on the stand with their technical explanations may or may not win you a case, video evidence will.
 
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I would assume it is theoretically possible that the digital sensor in the brake pedal could fail
Yep, absolutely possible, but that would ring true for the camera too. The other negative against video is that the storage requirements for video are much higher than sensor data simply collecting little bits of text / numerical data. I have no knowledge of cases where the telematics were / were not enough in court, nor do I have any legal experience so I can't comment on why the sensor data was or was not helpful from a legal perspective.
 
Yep, absolutely possible, but that would ring true for the camera too. The other negative against video is that the storage requirements for video are much higher than sensor data simply collecting little bits of text / numerical data. I have no knowledge of cases where the telematics were / were not enough in court, nor do I have any legal experience so I can't comment on why the sensor data was or was not helpful from a legal perspective.
You could store the last hour of video and just have it overwrite until it detects an accident. Nowadays multiple gigs of storage has gotten very cheap unless you are using apple memory :)
I will refer to the Toyota case where I know they had the same digital data on the brake presses in the car, when people pressed the brakes etc and Toyota lost $1.2Billiion . In their case they said it had something to do with the floor mats getting messed up and stopping people from pressing the brakes, which is something you can see on video that you could not tell from telematics. No doubt there were many of those 527 Toyota claims that were potentially false and would have been dismissed with video if it was available.
 

Dan D.

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If Tesla or any other manufacturer is truly concerned about truth and openness they should have the black box data available freely to investigation by the owner or interested legal parties. Having the only 'key' to the data does not give the appearance of trust.

We have the driver's account, witness accounts, and Tesla holds the telemetry. Each of them is subject to manipulation and self-interest. A black box that is independent of the manufacturer's influence would establish some credibility in the data.
 
I would assume it is theoretically possible that the digital sensor in the brake pedal could fail, then it would not register a brake press?

If I remember correctly, this isn’t possible because the brake pedal is purely mechanical, unlike the accelerator pedal. That’s why autopilot physically moves the brake pedal to brake, while the accelerator pedal doesn’t move when accelerating.
 

Dan D.

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If the driver's account is correct, firstly consider the brake vacuum pump could have failed. That might account for the 'hard' pedal feel that he reported earlier that day. The mechanical side of the brake system may have become seriously compromised. So he may not have been able to push the pedal hard enough to provide much braking, and perhaps not far enough to trigger the brake light switch. That's assuming this is how the mechanical system works.

So let's say he no longer has much mechanical braking because the pedal won't easily depress.

Why would the car start accelerating? So perhaps there's a software/technical flaw (TBD) or perhaps because he's pushing so frantically on the hard brake pedal that he doesn't realize he's stepping on the accelerator also. Given he is a truck driver you'd think he'd know this, but we don't know yet. There doesn't seem to be a normal reason for the car to accelerate on its own to high speed, so either the driver was pressing the accelerator or a malfunction was simulating an acceleration effect. Maybe even he did something stupid like press so hard on the brake pedal that his foot slipped, maybe he had work boots on, and he ended up with his boot jammed under the brake pedal and flooring the accelerator - and he just didn't want to admit that.

I can see that the telemetry logs could say no brake pedal was pushed if the brake vacuum pump failed and he couldn't push it normally. The occasional flashes of brake lights - including the center light - could have come from the car regen kicking in, perhaps he freed his foot just before the final crash. All speculation.

It's possible there is a flaw in the car or software causing some of these issues too. I wouldn't expect Tesla to be entirely forthcoming about it if there was. There could also be third party alterations, amateur tinkering, or damage to the car from other reasons that could have set up some conditions of failure. Or the driver simply pressed the accelerator as the only cause. I wouldn't discount any reason as impossible, but let's see if the investigation actually is thorough enough to find out what happened.
 
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Tiger

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If the driver's account is correct, firstly consider the brake vacuum pump could have failed. That might account for the 'hard' pedal feel that he reported earlier that day. The mechanical side of the brake system may have become seriously compromised. So he may not have been able to push the pedal hard enough to provide much braking, and perhaps not far enough to trigger the brake light switch. That's assuming this is how the mechanical system works.

So let's say he no longer has much mechanical braking because the pedal won't easily depress.

Why would the car start accelerating?

This seems far fetched, as any touch of the brake pedal disengages the accelerator. Unless there is actually some debree or stuff under the pedal clogging it from moving but even in that situation an experienced driver would first report that the brake pedal felt odd.
 

Dan D.

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Here's one account of what the driver said:
Q: Did you make any phone calls and were you conscious at the time of the accident?
A: I was not answering my phone and was conscious.

Q: What happened when you arrived at your store and parked?
A: When I arrived at the store, I released my foot from the accelerator pedal and put it on the brake pedal. Under normal circumstances, the Tesla has an energy recovery feature and the car stops by itself. That day (November 5) I felt the car was different, it didn't stop, so I started to apply the brake. Under the first time I stepped on it, it felt like the brake pedal was hard. I used to drive a big truck, and when the brakes didn't work, I stepped on them twice more, when it still didn't work, and the vehicle was very slow at that time. I was feeling that the vehicle was functioning abnormally, so I pressed the park gear button, and at this time the vehicle automatically accelerated forward. It suddenly accelerated out on its own, and I stepped on the brake as hard as I could. At that time, there were already people on the road, and there was a motorcycle in front of me, so I instinctively turned the steering wheel.

Q: What happened after that?
A: By this time, I already felt that I could not control the vehicle. I used to drive a big truck and I knew what to do when I couldn't brake on a downhill. I quickly had an idea to find an obstacle to stop the vehicle. While I was thinking about this, the car was already going over 100 km per hour. At that time my eyes could only focus on the road, there were pedestrians and cars on the road, so I tried to avoid these vehicles and pedestrians. I kept one foot on the brake and kept wondering again if the brake would suddenly start to work and if I could get the vehicle to stop. As far as finding obstacles to bring the vehicle to a stop, my reflexes can no longer keep up with the speed of this car. There were vehicles and people on the road to avoid, and I was trying to avoid as much as I could, and the steering wheel was still usable at this time.

Q: Did you know that you hit someone on the road?
A: Driving at such a speed for 1 km, I had no idea what I hit. About 2km into the drive, this vehicle hit and stopped. I was very conscious and didn't think about what would happen to me, I just thought not to involve too many innocent people. By the time the car reached the spot it stopped, there was no place to get out of the way and the vehicle hit a tricycle. After a loud bang, I didn't know anything about myself and was unconscious. After the crash, someone who knew me came together to pry the door open and drag me out of the car. I woke up in a store, and after seeing familiar people, I asked how the people I hit were doing. They replied that you don't have to care about how those people are, you just passed out and you need to get to the hospital quickly. I was quickly taken to the hospital. That's how it happened.

Q: Did the police ask you to take blood tests and make a statement?
A: I had a blood test at the hospital. The traffic police did ask me to make a statement.

Q: There is a horn sound in the surveillance video, was it you who sounded the horn?
A: I had no way to sound the horn at that time, the horn sound was from another car. Both of my hands were on the steering wheel, and my right hand had to press the P gear button. My right foot was on the brake the whole time, stepping on it and then releasing it, then continuing to step on it and then releasing it, all the way.

Q: What is the state of the vehicle's brakes?
A: The free travel of the brake pedal is there, that is, it is hard when you step on it and there is no braking effect. The pedal is usually soft and works when stepped on gently. At that time, the brake pedal could be stepped on, but it was hard, that is, there was no braking effect on the vehicle when it was stepped on hard.

Q: Have you ever stepped on the accelerator pedal?
A: Never. I haven't touched the accelerator pedal since I had to stop and put my foot on the brake pedal. My foot was on the brake pedal the whole time, up to the point where I was about to hit the tricycle.
 

Tiger

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Here's one account of what the driver said:
Q: Did you make any phone calls and were you conscious at the time of the accident?
A: I was not answering my phone and was conscious.

Q: What happened when you arrived at your store and parked?
A: When I arrived at the store, I released my foot from the accelerator pedal and put it on the brake pedal. Under normal circumstances, the Tesla has an energy recovery feature and the car stops by itself.
If you are surprised by the behavior, you don't "released my foot from the accelerator pedal and put it on the brake pedal" instead you are first surprised and then put your foot on the brake pedal.
That day (November 5) I felt the car was different, it didn't stop, so I started to apply the brake. Under the first time I stepped on it, it felt like the brake pedal was hard. I used to drive a big truck, and when the brakes didn't work, I stepped on them twice more, when it still didn't work, and the vehicle was very slow at that time.
At what point in the video is the car slow?
I was feeling that the vehicle was functioning abnormally, so I pressed the park gear button, and at this time the vehicle automatically accelerated forward.
Could he have triggered TACC?
It suddenly accelerated out on its own, and I stepped on the brake as hard as I could. At that time, there were already people on the road, and there was a motorcycle in front of me, so I instinctively turned the steering wheel.

Q: What happened after that?
A: By this time, I already felt that I could not control the vehicle. I used to drive a big truck and I knew what to do when I couldn't brake on a downhill. I quickly had an idea to find an obstacle to stop the vehicle. While I was thinking about this, the car was already going over 100 km per hour. At that time my eyes could only focus on the road, there were pedestrians and cars on the road, so I tried to avoid these vehicles and pedestrians. I kept one foot on the brake and kept wondering again if the brake would suddenly start to work and if I could get the vehicle to stop.
Why would you keep only one foot on the break? Wouldn't one press it with both feet, in such a situation, if it feels jammed?
Where was the other foot?
As far as finding obstacles to bring the vehicle to a stop, my reflexes can no longer keep up with the speed of this car. There were vehicles and people on the road to avoid, and I was trying to avoid as much as I could, and the steering wheel was still usable at this time.

Q: Did you know that you hit someone on the road?
A: Driving at such a speed for 1 km, I had no idea what I hit. About 2km into the drive, this vehicle hit and stopped. I was very conscious and didn't think about what would happen to me, I just thought not to involve too many innocent people.
Is he/she thinking/knowing self not innocent? Was the car tuned somehow?
By the time the car reached the spot it stopped, there was no place to get out of the way and the vehicle hit a tricycle. After a loud bang, I didn't know anything about myself and was unconscious. After the crash, someone who knew me came together to pry the door open and drag me out of the car. I woke up in a store, and after seeing familiar people, I asked how the people I hit were doing. They replied that you don't have to care about how those people are, you just passed out and you need to get to the hospital quickly. I was quickly taken to the hospital. That's how it happened.

Q: Did the police ask you to take blood tests and make a statement?
A: I had a blood test at the hospital. The traffic police did ask me to make a statement.

Q: There is a horn sound in the surveillance video, was it you who sounded the horn?
A: I had no way to sound the horn at that time, the horn sound was from another car. Both of my hands were on the steering wheel, and my right hand had to press the P gear button. My right foot was on the brake the whole time, stepping on it and then releasing it, then continuing to step on it and then releasing it, all the way.
At least the video is not showing evidence of acceleration "pumping", so in case this action true, it would not be accidentally on the speed pedal.
Q: What is the state of the vehicle's brakes?
A: The free travel of the brake pedal is there, that is, it is hard when you step on it and there is no braking effect. The pedal is usually soft and works when stepped on gently. At that time, the brake pedal could be stepped on, but it was hard, that is, there was no braking effect on the vehicle when it was stepped on hard.
If brake power assist is down, this is how it could feel. Now the theory is that can ESC somehow misunderstand the situation and start accelerating, but at the same time Tesla says the accelerator pedal was depressed. How likely that both brake pedal and accelerator pedal simultaneously faulty?
Q: Have you ever stepped on the accelerator pedal?
A: Never. I haven't touched the accelerator pedal since I had to stop and put my foot on the brake pedal. My foot was on the brake pedal the whole time, up to the point where I was about to hit the tricycle.
The brake pedal should immediately disengage accelerator pedal even if both pressed, unless the car has been modified somehow (looks modified).
 

JulienW

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So the brake are working fine and he pulls over. Then in an instant the mechanical brakes completely fail AND the electronic accelerator senses a full press that is not there. And Tesla's recovery data suggest the brake was not pressed but the accelerator was pressed.

Astronomical odds so I'm WAY more inclined to invoke Occam's Razor and go with the ALL to common HUMAN ERROR. After all in the US NHTSA gets 100's of these "confused" peddle applications every year.
 

KArnold

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Lousy resolution and not many choices (best is first few seconds) but I don't see any clear image of brake lights coming on either. Would love to see other cams showing more of the rear of the vehicle.

I'd hope Tesla has the wrecked vehicle and can do some additional forensics on that specific car. If Tesla is being honest it would be better to attempt that than this kind of press. We know Elon has a lot of trouble telling the truth.
 

Dan D.

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People on this forum have reported their car accelerating from stop by itself. Often by some mistaken use of "pulling down on the stalk".

Some examples, there are others too:
Thanks for clarifying; does the vehicle ahead need to be moving forward when you engage Autopilot?
Nope. Dead stopped anywhere, even my kids school parking lot. As long as it has something it thinks is a lane line and it has a stopped vehicle in front it will let you double click down and you can choose your speed with the scroll wheel. When the car in front moves, you do too. I only have AP though, enhanced or FSD may act different.

I had an "accelerating on its own" incident a few days ago and figured out what happened within a few seconds.

I had pulled up to pick my daughter up at High School after her theater practice. It was much later in the day so there wasn't really a long line of cars, etc. There are lane markers in the parking lot just like on a street.

There was one car ahead of me waiting to pick up their child. I pulled up behind like I normally would and my Y went into Hold. My daughter came out a few minutes later and I pulled down on the stalk, thinking I was in Park, to put it in Drive. What I didn't realize was that I had just activated TACC.

I pulled around the vehicle in front of me and turned left to get to an exit lane out of the parking lot. As I approached the stop sign at the exit, I let my foot off the accelerator and it started to accelerate on its own. I was like what just happened as I put my foot on the brake and came to a stop. Then I remembered pulling down on the stalk and realized I had never put it in park. I surmised that I had enabled TACC unintentionally because a car happened to be in front of me in the pick up lane.

It was a good learning experience and now I make sure to check that I'm in park before pulling down to put in Drive.

I can easily see this happening when pulling into a parking spot. I've accidentally brushed the right stalk with my right hand when doing a hand over hand sharp turn. If it sensed a car in front of you while turning, it could easily start to accelerate if it didn't detect the parked car in front of you in time.

The driver in the China crash reported the car felt different earlier that day, before the final crash drive. Also that he seems to use one-pedal driving, perhaps not using the brake pedal a lot.

My guess to the crash:
1) Brake vacuum pump failed. Lack of mechanical braking and a 'hard' pedal, like he reported
2) He mostly one-pedal drove that morning but used the brake pedal a bit, noticing that it didn't seem to work properly
3) He pulled over to stop at his work place, on one-pedal drive - thus no brake lights as he stopped slowly enough. This is the beginning of the video
4) He says he "pressed the park gear button, and at this time the vehicle automatically accelerated forward". Possibly he inadvertently pulled the stalk down twice, engaging TACC. As reported by others on TMC, the car can sometimes start to accelerate on its own at this point. I believe that might have happened to him
5) The car started moving, but did not accelerate at full rate, it took him a bit of time to catch up to the motorbike that had just passed him
6) Due to the brake failure in the mechanical system he was unable to press the brake pedal ('hard' pedal) and [supposition] because of this he could not stop or slow the car, nor could he press the pedal far enough for the car to register a brake-press event. TACC continued to accelerate the car to whatever its set point was
7) Driver steered around objects, did not manage to stop the car or interrupt the acceleration. It was mentioned he tried to press the 'P' four times but did not hold it down. Whatever he was trying did not seem to be effective in cancelling the acceleration. Perhaps that was bad luck that he didn't hit on the correct cancel sequence
8) Brake lights are shown to come on at least once in the latter part of the video, including the center brake light. Unknown cause, could have been TACC braking because of traffic
9) Unknown why the car didn't stop after colliding with various objects. Perhaps he was pressing the accelerator at some times in his attempt to do something, and overrode some safety-stopping features
10) Telemetry has been reported to show no brake pedal use, possible if the pedal was 'hard'? Accelerator use was reported, possibly because he was trying things to control the car
11) Car crashes finally after losing control. It didn't say that the car was traveling at top speed, but it was going quickly. That could be a clue; if the accelerator was manually pressed the car might be going very very fast, if TACC was mostly controlling the speed it might just be very fast, and reached some limit
12) Telemetry should show whether TACC or other features were engaged. I hope Tesla is trustworthy and also that the investigators examine the logs themselves just to be sure there was no tampering

This is just one possible sequence. For those who say the car cannot behave in certain ways it would be good to look into the reports where other people have said it actually can accelerate unexpectedly. Imagine what would happen if you didn't disengage or couldn't disengage at that point. Would the car continue to accelerate? What happens if your brake pedal doesn't move properly - as the driver reported, and you fail to press the correct combination of stalks/buttons to disengage, out of panic. It seems possible, though foolish to drive in this way, but is it possible in a worst-case scenario? Arguably yes.
 
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Tiger

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The driver in the China crash reported the car felt different earlier that day, before the final crash drive. Also that he seems to use one-pedal driving, perhaps not using the brake pedal a lot.


My guess to the crash:
1) Brake vacuum pump failed. Lack of mechanical braking and a 'hard' pedal, like he reported
2) He mostly one-pedal drove that morning but used the brake pedal a bit, noticing that it didn't seem to work properly
3) He pulled over to stop at his work place, on one-pedal drive - thus no brake lights as he stopped slowly enough. This is the beginning of the video
4) He says he "pressed the park gear button, and at this time the vehicle automatically accelerated forward". Possibly he inadvertently pulled the stalk down twice, engaging TACC. As reported by others on TMC, the car can sometimes start to accelerate on its own at this point. I believe that might have happened to him
This is old behavior that if you had TACC set, disengaged it, and re-engaged it, it would proceed from the previously set speed. In current software versions it starts from 15km/h unless set otherwise, so it would not start speeding like crazy (unless it also saw a speedlimit sign saying 200km/h or something and automatically adapted to that, which would be a bug if it does that in a residential zone).

...
9) Unknown why the car didn't stop after colliding with various objects. Perhaps he was pressing the accelerator at some times in his attempt to do something, and overrode some safety-stopping features
10) Telemetry has been reported to show no brake pedal use, possible if the pedal was 'hard'? Accelerator use was reported, possibly because he was trying things to control the car

This 9 and 10 contradict with TACC speculation but maybe there was something in the footwell that didn't belong there? A poorly designed floormat? An empty soda bottle? Handbag? Furthermore, if you succeed to press brake pedal just a bit, it will also disengage TACC.

This is just one possible sequence. For those who say the car cannot behave in certain ways it would be good to look into the reports where other people have said it actually can accelerate unexpectedly. Imagine what would happen if you didn't disengage or couldn't disengage at that point. Would the car continue to accelerate? What happens if your brake pedal doesn't move properly - as the driver reported, and you fail to press the correct combination of stalks/buttons to disengage, out of panic. It seems possible, though foolish to drive in this way, but is it possible in a worst-case scenario? Arguably yes.

Devil is in the detail, each sudden unexpected acceleration case is different, probably leads to wrong conclusion trying to use partial correlations as broader causality here.
 
We are all speculating here. Best to wait for more details, because when we start considering “what’s technically possible”, the world’s your oyster. For example, did they have those 3rd party footwell liners that many in China install? That could have jammed the accelerator down.

What we do know is:
1) At least two separate systems had to have failed for this to not be the driver’s fault. That’s not likely. Namely, brake light sensor, brake pedal mechanical failure, TACC/navigation/GPS failure, and accelerator pedal mechanical failure, etc.

2) Brake pedal travel is very very short to trigger brake lights, so even in the case of hard brake pedal feel, the lights should trigger. Could this fail? Yes, but again this is adding more systems failing at the same time. And note we do see brake lights at the beginning of the video when he first pulls over and stops, so that sensor isn’t failing then/yet.

3) TACC doesn’t set max speed to that high over the speed limit. They’re seen speeding much faster than TACC would be set at. Again, “technically possible” it could have been set higher, like if the GPS is off and the navigation thinks the car is in a freeway nearby? Yes, but this is yet another separate system to fail/be faulty at that very moment.

4) If car data says accelerator pedal is depressed (even up to 100%), then that’s a mechanical/physical pedal input for acceleration, not TACC since TACC doesn’t physically move the accelerator pedal. Could the car data be wrong? Possible but yet another separate system to fail/be faulty.
 

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