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CR Engineers Show a Tesla Will Drive With No One in the Driver's Seat

RTPEV

Active Member
Mar 21, 2016
1,410
1,805
Durham, NC
Okay, I will say that there are probably a few more things that Tesla could do to combat this kind of thing, but honestly, when CR makes this statement:

It was a bit frightening when we realized how easy it was to defeat the safeguards, which we proved were clearly insufficient. [emphasis mine]

I have to call them out a bit.

To summarize, this is what they had to do:
  1. Start out sitting in the driver's seat sitting on top of the buckled seat belt (it won't work if the seat belt is unbuckled during the process--I don't actually know if it will refuse to engage autopilot if the seat belt is not buckled at the start, but they made a point of saying that it was buckled)
  2. Attach a weight to the steering wheel to simulate the driver applying torque
  3. Sliding over into the passenger seat (because opening a door would disengage autopilot) (actually, if the car was at rest, like it was in the experiment, it would even put it into park and turn off)
I mean, while not rocket science, those things are not "easy" and certainly indicate intent to defeat the safeguards. Yeah, Tesla could add more safeguards, but then those will be defeated as well.

Yeah, this was a tragic event. However, I'm sorry, but it's not Tesla's responsibility to play cat and mouse with idiots that intentionally try to defeat safety measures. This is not a case of someone becoming complacent. These acts were specifically and knowingly done to defeat the safety mechanisms, and this article is essentially no more than a click-bait hit piece.
 
Let me start this by saying, I agree with both of you who posted before me!
But looking back: people would add rocks to their gas pedals. No automaker - to the best of my knowledge - ever tried to stop the car due to that. Like @RTPEV said, it's just wasted effort because people will find a way around it.

I, personally, and I emphasize, THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, think Tesla is doing just the right amount of checks with the facial recognition camera.
I lift my butt to stretch at times and would hate to have AP disengage because of that. Sometimes it's 2 seconds, sometimes it's 10. But again, I'd rather have them spend their energy on improvements rather than anti-idiot measures that a bag of potatoes and a printed face could circumvent.
 

Tam

Well-Known Member
Nov 25, 2012
10,716
9,765
Visalia, CA
Start out sitting in the driver's seat sitting on top of the buckled seat belt (it won't work if the seat belt is unbuckled during the process--I don't actually know if it will refuse to engage autopilot if the seat belt is not buckled at the start, but they made a point of saying that it was buckled)

That is not hard! Lots of people hate seatbelts already so just buckle it up and sit on it instead of inside it seems to be very easy!


Attach a weight to the steering wheel to simulate the driver applying torque

That doesn't sound hard either. A youtube just wedged a fresh orange instead.


Sliding over into the passenger seat (because opening a door would disengage autopilot) (actually, if the car was at rest, like it was in the experiment, it would even put it into park and turn off)
That might be hard for arthritic elderly drivers but for those with no medical issues, that doesn't sound hard either.

those things are not "easy"

The only step that might not be easy is for an arthritic driver to move over to another seat. But otherwise, the procedure is not hard at all.


...certainly indicate intent to defeat the safeguards...
No doubt. That's why the software is called "beta". Don't beta users want to explore and test out all the bugs?

...Tesla could add more safeguards, but then those will be defeated as well....
No doubt. But it would be harder. People now have to drag a 100 pound weight with them. And when something goes wrong there's a clear evidence of what happened not conflicting claims between the police and Elon's tweet.

...it's not Tesla's responsibility to play cat and mouse with idiots that intentionally try to defeat safety measures...
If not, then why there's even a nagging system for Autopilot? Why just not let drivers use their own responsibility instead?

Current nagging system needs to be supplemented with the weight sensor.

...These acts were specifically and knowingly done to defeat the safety mechanisms...
It's easy to trash a dead medical director and a dead engineer because they can't speak up to defend themselves.

...and this article is essentially no more than a click-bait hit piece...

No. It dispels the rumor that it's impossible for Autopilot to drive without a driver because there's even proof from a Youtuber that as soon as the driver attempts to do that, the Autopilot would stop working.
 
To summarize, this is what they had to do:
  1. Start out sitting in the driver's seat sitting on top of the buckled seat belt (it won't work if the seat belt is unbuckled during the process--I don't actually know if it will refuse to engage autopilot if the seat belt is not buckled at the start, but they made a point of saying that it was buckled)
  2. Attach a weight to the steering wheel to simulate the driver applying torque
  3. Sliding over into the passenger seat (because opening a door would disengage autopilot) (actually, if the car was at rest, like it was in the experiment, it would even put it into park and turn off)
The thing is, they didn't have to do the weight on the wheel. That just let it go longer without a warning.
We have no idea if opening the door would cause AP to disconnect with the seat belt plugged in. That was not tested. You are making assumptions based on your observations of how the car behaves when the seat belt is unplugged, but we already know the car seems to assume a lot based on a plugged in seatbelt.
 
The Model S that was being driven does not have an interior camera (no S/X does).
The camera in the 3/Y is not in use yet. So what you are saying is not doing anything is the correct amount of checks.
I can agree with you about S/X. I had forgotten. I suppose the refreshed models will, though. And they might backport one too.
@verygreen - I might be wrong but I probably read somewhere that they have the harness without a camera for S/X, is that so?

3/Y, it is in use for City Streets. And that's what I refer to. I'm not making a jury case, we're just talking and I'm sure you knew what I was talking about.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: croman
The thing is, they didn't have to do the weight on the wheel. That just let it go longer without a warning.
We have no idea if opening the door would cause AP to disconnect with the seat belt plugged in. That was not tested. You are making assumptions based on your observations of how the car behaves when the seat belt is unplugged, but we already know the car seems to assume a lot based on a plugged in seatbelt.
I tested a few things and I'm happy to share the results:

Door button does not work when AP is engaged, even when at 0 speed
Door lever disengages AP
Unbuckling disengages AP
 
I think (hope) that CR and the media may have finally jumped the shark on this one. The CR piece is such a blatant hit piece that even non Tesla fans are starting to notice. Even though the individual steps were "easy", there were several of them and you had to purposely do it. Safety measures are to prevent accidents - not willful abuse of a system. I'm sure someone out there is trying to find a way to trick the IR cameras that GM and Ford are using and if (when) they do, I'll feel the same way and defend those companies as well.
 
Tesla do have to play cat and mouse unfortunately. You may know now that their safety systems can be defeated with a seatbelt click, a weight on a string, not opening the doors, and it doesn't matter if you get out of the seat. However many people didn't know that yesterday. Before people figured out the orange/water bottle/weight trick that safety system was adequate.

At some point your safety systems are known and you have to develop better ones. If you don't improve then you risk liability and devaluing your brand. My friend had an old Civic that you could open with a penny, Kryptonite locks could be opened with a Bic pen. Once it's known, they have to improve or no one will buy them. You have to put a fence around your pool to stop trespassers from drowning.

Tesla already have a seat sensor, may as well use it with a time delay. They have a camera, use it. If you do nothing then it makes you look bad. Poor Peloton are going through this too, their attitude of blame the user for the injuries and death may seem right to them, but it's not playing out well with the public.

Honestly, if with a few dollars of hardware and some trial & error you can enable a NoA Tesla to go for miles on the Interstate or drive to the mall without anyone in the car, then they've got to come up with something more secure. (Yes, nobody has done that, yet...). Nothing to prevent someone from messing with a Ford either. Their time will come.
 
Tesla do have to play cat and mouse unfortunately. You may know now that their safety systems can be defeated with a seatbelt click, a weight on a string, not opening the doors, and it doesn't matter if you get out of the seat. However many people didn't know that yesterday. Before people figured out the orange/water bottle/weight trick that safety system was adequate.

At some point your safety systems are known and you have to develop better ones. If you don't improve then you risk liability and devaluing your brand. My friend had an old Civic that you could open with a penny, Kryptonite locks could be opened with a Bic pen. Once it's known, they have to improve or no one will buy them. You have to put a fence around your pool to stop trespassers from drowning.
I'd like to suggest that you re-read this part of your post but having in mind the difference between Safety and Security systems. They are not quite the same.
 
I'd like to suggest that you re-read this part of your post but having in mind the difference between Safety and Security systems. They are not quite the same.
I must be too dense, I don't.

On a related topic, CR (and all of us) are kind of creating a how-to guide on defeating Tesla's systems. Many people could not on their own hack the system, they lack the mechanical, electrical, and computer training. Plus they'd be scared of breaking the car or somehow getting tattled-on by the car. I'm just wondering if we're enabling a whole new bunch of copy-cats.
 
The Model S that was being driven does not have an interior camera (no S/X does).
The camera in the 3/Y is not in use yet. So what you are saying is not doing anything is the correct amount of checks.
there's only one safety on a gun. and these vehicles are trying to save people. Tesla claims they're near 10x lower accident rate with autopilot. That's a decrease that *no other automotive innovation* has accomplished.
 

verygreen

Curious member
Jan 16, 2017
2,976
11,570
TN
@verygreen - I might be wrong but I probably read somewhere that they have the harness without a camera for S/X, is that so?
not harness, but hw3 itself for s/x has a header for selfie cam that nothing is plugged into (hw2.5 s/x units don't have the header populated, just a markup on silkscreen)

So in theory nothing stops Tesla from doing an interior camera retrofit by adding the camera (replacing the tri-camera cluster on the windshield?) and a wiring harness to connect it to the autopilot
 

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