Elon Musk's Tesla denies claims of unintended acceleration in vehicles

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/20/elon-musks-tesla-denies-clai.html

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Those cars record everything, and there would be a lot of evidence if this is true. I am surprised they deny it unless they are correct.

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Reminds me of the Malcolm Gladwell podcast: http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/08-blame-game

Toyotas cars had the same thing happen to them, but it appears it was never proven and is likely the result of people panicking and pushing the accelerator instead of the brake.

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The difference being that Tesla’s go really fast…

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Tesla is a public company. Elon Musk owns 22% of Telsa. So technically, or actually in reality, it is not “Elon Musk’s Tesla”, it is just Tesla. Way to go with the click bait title.

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Skepticism is in order. Apparently unfounded claims of “sudden unintended acceleration” also created a PR nightmare for Audi years ago, along with many others. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudden_unintended_acceleration

The Wikipedia article claims Tesla faced this claim with their Model X back in 2016 but their data logs showed that people had only pressed the accelerator. As MrFawkes points out Tesla, more than any other car company, has the receipts.

Of course, the media in general is extremely adversarial towards Tesla and Elon Musk. When you’re disrupting a slew of deeply-entrenched legacy industries you tend to make a lot of enemies.

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Gladwell actually didn’t go far enough. The analysis still guessed/hinted-at the idea that loose floor-mats, rather than simple confusion were the initial trigger for the drivers pinning the go-pedal as hard as they physically could. No loose floor-mats needed if you’ve hit the wrong pedal and you’ve now convinced yourself that your foot is on the brake, and that it has failed and gone completely to the floor, and that the engine has simultaneously and completely co-incidentally decided to go to maximum throttle.

The one-pedal driving option of Teslas may be a factor in some of their cases. It is usual for people used to automatics to be going at very low creep speed while not covering the brake, lifting off to let the idling engine creep the car along. If you select one-pedal in a Tesla, you do all very-low speed driving with your foot on the prissy-pedal rather than on the brake, easing off for the car to creep. It’s backwards. We switched back to more conventional “creep mode” in our Tesla after briefly trying the one-pedal option.

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Agreed. And I’m surprised BoingBoing tends to be so anti Tesla. It seems the poster company for BB: basically a DIY hobbyist battery pack and project that reached massive scale production; the absolute first smart car of the modern era; a user interface entirely shaped by software; tearing down all the old stereotypes of how a car is made, sold and powered; the first internet connected car; the first truly modern electric car, and lots more that I would think would make BB natural fans. But I guess Elon is a bit of a weenie so…

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Nothing about logs showing people pressing the accelerator is sufficient to avoid a more detailed investigation. If the logs are inaccurate, that would be found, if there is something about the design of the accelerator, that would be found. Logs are just one piece of evidence.

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These sorts of stories go back to the 1980’s at least and the diagnosis is almost always the same. No proof of any technical problem, but “pedal misapplication” is the problem, which seems to be result of putting the go-pedal next to the not-go-pedal, which is where it belongs.

This story references the 1980’s panic (Audi) and the early 90’s (Toyota). I’ve never seen any story or data about these things happening outside of the US.

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/nhtsa-no-toyotas-do-not-suddenly-accelerate-unless-you-press-the-accelerator/59696/

Disclosure: transport policy wonk.

(ETA - @PeaceLove covered the Audi part as well)

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Not true. There were well documented problems with the floor mats trapping the accelerator pedal which prompted a recall.

These days most cars’ ECUs will override the accelerator pedal and apply just the brakes when both the accelerator and brake pedal are pressed simultaneously as a result.

(ETA and like clockwork, here come the Musk fanboys to defend his “good name” or something.)

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FTFY

Seriously, what’s up with this? Almost all of the MSM reports of this (including the Reuters story the OP links to) managed to include that little detail

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A bit more information on that from CleanTechnica

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Aaand…like clockwork, I post that skepticism is warranted (as then supported by OWYAC’s post below) and an anti-Tesla voice comes in to attack me and others as “Musk fanboys.” Yes, when it comes to subverting the fossil fuel industry and creating what Consumer Reports described as “the best car we’ve ever tested” I think a bit of respect for his accomplishments is warranted. I’m always surprised when those who should be his loudest supporters have bought into the silly mainstream narrative that attacks a guy who literally spends his every waking hour working to subvert SEVERAL really toxic and powerful legacy industries.

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It appears to be mainly Xeni who has a beef with Musk & Tesla. BB in general seems to have moved away from it’s roots as a blog that’s largely skeptical of and adversarial to power. Cory still brings it on but this gradual mainstreaming may be an inevitable cost of its shift to a more corporatized, ad-filled space.

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I’m hoping your theory is wrong. It would be really sad to see such a great website mainstreamed and corporatized by the Gotham Steel Pancake Bonanza.

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We actually don’t know whether the Toyotas experienced unintended acceleration or not. Toyota settled nearly all of the lawsuits. In the one case that wasn’t settled, the jury ruled against Toyota because of software defects in Toyota’s electronic throttle control system.

The plaintiff’s expert witness’s investigation seems pretty damning. It demonstrated that the code contains bugs that can cause unintended acceleration and that the failsafes are insufficient. https://www.safetyresearch.net/Library/BarrSlides_FINAL_SCRUBBED.pdf

Interestingly, the failure that could caused unintended acceleration could also prevent the condition from being logged. Specifically memory corruption (which is demonstrably possible due to software bugs) could kill a key task in the engine control system. The failsafes and logging of that condition were implemented in the same task. So if the task dies, there is no evidence left in the logs that anything went wrong.

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Whoa, whoa… Tesla slams brakes on allegations of ‘unintended acceleration’ bug: ‘Completely false and was brought by a short-seller’

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He’s the fucking Trump of the auto world.

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BOING boing article also did not say the complaint was filed by ONE person who does not own a Tesla and is a Tesla short-seller! Should be fined for stock manipulation. Come on Xeni! Info Is readily available while Boing Boing headline spreads misinformation and fear. Not sure why this was flagged as spam?? (Maybe it was Sparks the short-seller?)

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