Tesla engineer says self-driving video was staged

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According to a confession from Ashok Elluswamy, director of Autopilot software at Tesla; a 2016 video used by Tesla to advertise its self-driving technology was scripted to show functionality such as halting at a red light and speeding up at a green light that the system did not have.

In 2016, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted a link to the video, which reveals a Tesla driving and parking itself, maneuvering, and obeying red and green lights. The video begins with a message that states that “the person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons” and that “he is not doing anything. “The car is driving on its own.”

“The intent of the video was not to accurately portray what was available for customers in 2016,” Elluswamy reportedly said in the transcript of a July deposition taken as evidence in a lawsuit against Tesla for a 2018 fatal crash involving a former Apple engineer. “It was to portray what was possible to build into the system.”

During his last journey, the deceased was said to be playing a mobile phone game and did not interact with the steering wheel for six seconds before impact. According to National Transportation Safety Board crash investigators, his Tesla accelerated from about 100km/h to about 114km/h shortly before impact.

Elluswamy confirmed in his testimony that Tesla created the video using 3D mapping on a predetermined route. He also stated that Tesla repeated the run and that the test drivers intervened on several occasions.

The sources for this piece include an article in Reuters.

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