Tesla Takes a Stand: A Rare Response to Washington Post's Autopilot Critique

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla Responds to WP Story
Tesla Responds to WP Story
Tesla

In a notable deviation from its typical media strategy, Tesla has issued a pointed rebuttal to a recent Washington Post article criticizing Autopilot. This response is rare for Tesla, which generally remains silent in the face of media critique. The company's statement begins emphatically: "While there are many articles that do not accurately convey the nature of our safety systems, the recent Washington Post article is particularly egregious in its misstatements and lack of relevant context."

According to Tesla, the misrepresentation starts in the story's second paragraph. The Post states the driver of a Tesla who caused a crash in Key Largo in 2019 said he was “driving on cruise,” but that wasn’t the end of his statement. He continued, “I expect to be the driver and be responsible for this.” The Post had the driver's statements to police, reports, and statements made in litigation supporting that claim.

The Role of Driver Responsibility

The article goes downhill from there. The four reporters who contributed to this “exclusive” repeat known information, such as the ongoing investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The company points out that the Tesla driver in this 2019 incident settled with the crash victims, acknowledging individual responsibility. Tesla also highlights that Autopilot restricted the vehicle's speed to 45 mph, but the driver manually maintained a higher speed, which requires pressing the accelerator pedal. This was a critical factor in the crash.

Refuting Misleading Allegations

Tesla refutes several allegations in the Washington Post article, clarifying that the lawsuit regarding the Key Largo crash does not mention driver complacency or the so-called "Operational Design Domain." The company also notes that the driver involved in the collision admitted to his responsibility, countering claims of over-reliance on the Autopilot system.

The company emphasizes the role of driver responsibility, even when Autopilot is active. The company states that while Autopilot is a Level 2 driver-assist system, it requires the driver to always be in control and attentive. Tesla also mentions advanced safety measures like torque-based (the nag) and camera-based monitoring systems to ensure driver engagement.

Challenging Media Bias

Tesla's statement challenges what it perceives as biased and incompetent media reporting. The company argues for the necessity of balanced reporting that acknowledges both the potential and limitations of advanced driver-assistance systems.

Addressing the safety concerns, Tesla provides compelling statistics: In the 4th quarter of 2022, there was one crash for every 4.85 million miles driven with Autopilot engaged, compared to one crash every 1.40 million miles without Autopilot. This data, Tesla argues, demonstrates that Autopilot significantly enhances safety, contradicting the narrative presented in the Washington Post article.

Concluding its response, Tesla reaffirms its commitment to road safety and technological innovation. The company expresses its willingness to collaborate with global regulators to enhance safety on the road further.

This detailed response from Tesla underscores the importance of comprehensive and balanced media coverage, especially when discussing advanced technologies like Autopilot. However, does Tesla have the time, patience, or resources to combat all the adverse, biased reporting against it? It may have no choice but to correct misconceptions and highlight its dedication to improving automotive safety.

Tesla Is Removing Steam Gaming in New Model S and Model X Vehicles

By Karan Singh

Tesla is no longer including Steam support in any of its newer Model S and Model X vehicles, according to messages received by customers who are awaiting deliveries of the flagship vehicles.

Tesla previously introduced the Steam beta to newer versions of the Model S and Model X refreshes which had 16GB of RAM as part of the 2022 Holiday Update. This update didn’t support slightly older vehicles with only 8GB of RAM, but a retrofit was available for $2,000 USD.

Tesla No Longer Supporting Dedicated GPUs?

The Cybertruck also did not receive a dedicated graphic processing unit (GPU), with many people noting that they did not have access to Steam on their Foundation-series Cybertrucks and GreenTheOnly later confirmed the Cybertruck did not include a GPU. The Cybertruck also shipped with only 8GB of RAM, matching the Model 3 and Model Y MCU 3 versions based on AMD Ryzen chips.

This could be an indication that Tesla is phasing out the GPUs, as well as the larger RAM packages that came bundled with their top-end vehicles, likely due to cost-cutting, hardware streamlining, and optimization.

Tesla is removing Steam support on newer vehicles
Tesla is removing Steam support on newer vehicles
Randall

Future of Steam Support

While the AMD Ryzen RDNA-2 APUs that are built into every Tesla MCU are quite powerful and very capable of rendering 3D or 2D graphics when in mobile configurations, there has been a distinct lack of Steam support on other vehicles, due to the 8GB of RAM.

Given the removal of GPUs from the flagship vehicles, there is also a chance that the RAM on newer Model S and X vehicles will also be facing a reduction similar to the Cybertruck. The Steam Beta could very well be on its way out.

The other possible alternative would be an updated Steam Beta that supports 8GB of RAM, and does not require a powerful GPU, as people may not do too much hardcore gaming on their vehicles.

Gaming Alternatives

Some gaming applications still live on in Tesla’s Arcade Mode, including the ever-popular Cuphead, Sky Force Reload, and Vampire Survivors. We previously discussed Tesla’s lack of Google Casting and Apple Airplay, but a fantastic alternative would be providing HDMI pass-through support on the Glovebox USB-C port.

Imagine being able to connect your phone to Tesla’s displays and gaming on a much larger 19” screen (screen size comparison) as seen on the Cybertruck.

The Future of Tesla Compute

Elon Musk mentioned in the 2024 Tesla Earnings Call that the unused compute power of Tesla vehicles not being driven was equivalent to a larger computing system like Amazon’s AWS. One idea floated by Musk was to use the computers of parked vehicles to conduct inference, data processing, and other tasks – selling the compute capabilities of vehicles to external organizations, while also paying back the owner.

Tesla Releases FSD v12.4: New Vision Attention Monitoring, Improved Strike System With Update 2024.9.5

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla has just rolled out its latest FSD software, v12.4 to employees. Elon Musk announced that this update would be available to employees this past weekend, with plans to release it to the public in small numbers later this week.

Surprisingly, the new update is version 2024.9.5, which is likely based on the earlier 2024.8 branch and not Tesla's latest 2024.14. The spring update (2024.14) brings various new features such as a new media player, a new parked visualization, Audible support, and a Preview of Sentry Mode events, among others.

However, FSD v12.4 brings its own excitement with two new major changes.

Vision-Based Attention Monitoring

The release notes show a new Vision-Based Attention Monitoring feature that replaces the steering wheel nag as Musk previously mentioned.

However, as we predicted, Tesla will still leverage the steering wheel to detect attentiveness when the cabin camera is inconclusive.

The car can only rely on the vehicle's cabin camera, and therefore remove the steering wheel nag under certain conditions:

  • the camera is not occluded

  • there is sufficient lighting

  • the driver is looking forward

  • the driver is not wearing sunglasses

  • the driver is not wearing a low-brim hat or another object that covers their eyes

If any of these situations occur, or if the vehicle doesn't have a cabin camera, then the vehicle will continue to use the steering wheel to determine driver attention.

Tesla is careful to state that images and video from the cabin camera are not saved or transmitted unless you enable data sharing.

Updated Strike System

With FSD v12.4, Tesla has also updated its Autopilot Suspension feature which is designed to enforce the responsible use of FSD.

The current system lets the driver receive up to five strikes (three strikes for vehicles without a cabin camera) before Autopilot and FSD become unavailable. If that happens, then FSD is unavailable for one week. Strikes are only removed once the driver has accrued five strikes, or when Tesla wipes out strikes for everyone, which happens about twice a year.

The new system is more gracious about removing strikes. The vehicle will continue to issue strikes whenever the driver isn't paying attention, however, now the vehicle will gradually remove strikes for the driver after a certain period of time.

Tesla states that one strike will be removed for each 7-day period the driver goes without receiving a strike. So if FSD gets disabled due to strikes, the driver will still go one week without FSD, although now strikes are removed on an ongoing basis. This new strike system is expected to apply to vehicles with and without a cabin camera.

Other New Features

Other new features are expected in FSD 12.4 as well, which we outlined in our look at Tesla's FSD v12.4 article.

They include a focus on improved driver comfort by reducing the amount of hard braking, automatically seeking a parking spot when arriving at a destination and more. Driver interventions are also expected to be drastically reduced with Musk stating that Tesla expects to see a 5-10x improvement in interventions.

Eligibility

Unfortunately, due to FSD v12.4 being on branch 2024.9, it's expected to only be available to owners on update 2024.8 and below, which includes everyone currently on update 2024.3.25.

If no major issues are found with FSD v12.4, we could see it start to roll out to the public later this week.

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