Although Elon Musk would have you believe otherwise, Tesla cars might not be as safe as advertised. With a piece of tape on a speed limit sign, the new Tesla model cars can be tricked into speeding at dangerously high speeds. New footage shows that when someone put a piece of tape over a speed limit sign that read 35 miles per hour, the Tesla was tricked into accelerating all the way to 85 miles per hour just because of the manipulated sign.
As shares in Tesla continue to rise at unreasonable rates, the company has come under a lot of scrutiny. And when McAfee researchers decided to place a two-inch piece of electrical tape across the middle of the “3”, they were able to trick the Tesla car into misreading the speed limit as 85 miles per hour.
The Tesla Model X was from the year 2016 and was fooled by the altered sign when the vehicle was in cruise control. The vehicle, which relies on computers a lot more than other cars, accelerated the vehicle to 50 miles per hour before the driver figured out that the car was putting the driver into dangerous situations.
The shocking revelation came after Tesla found itself under investigation for 127 complaints from the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), claiming that there were “sudden unintended acceleration” in some situations.
The Tesla flaw resulted in 110 crashes and 52 injuries. Many drivers who spend lots of money on getting the Tesla found themselves thrust into dangerous situations because the engineers at the car company did not do their due diligence to make sure drivers would be safe when relying on the cruise control situation.
McAfee’s situation proves that if someone intentionally changes the speed limit with electrical tape, which could be dangerous for someone behind the wheel of the car even if the vehicle is not operated by a computer.
“By making a tiny sticker-based modification to our speed limit sign, we were able to cause a targeted misclassification of the MobilEye camera on a Tesla and use it to cause the vehicle to autonomously speeds up to 85 miles per hour when reading a 35 miles per hour sign,” McAfee said in their statement. “For safety reasons, the video demonstration shows the speed start to spike and TACC accelerate on its way to 85, but given our test conditions, we apply the brakes well before it reaches target speed.”
The company added, “It is worth noting that this is seemingly only possible on the first implementation of TACC when the driver double taps the lever, engaging TACC. If the misclassification is successful, the autopilot engages 100 percent of the time.”
Tesla does not feel that McAfee’s research is valid because it was an intentional way to trick the computer camera. But should it be considered? Should Tesla models be manufactured to prevent people from tricking it?
“Even to the trained eye, this hardly looks suspicious or malicious, and many who saw it didn’t realize the sign had been altered at all,” McAfee said.
What do you think?