For years we've been reporting various incidents involving Tesla cars, where the (semi-) autonomous driving function known as Autopilot has been at the center of cases that have resulted in serious property damage and even death in some cases. This obviously doesn't sit well with Elon Musk, the company's owner.
But today, he's probably more upset than ever, as a package containing over 100GB of classified confidential information from inside the automaker has just been leaked, and among the documents are quite a few details that would suggest that the feature is actually a lot more flawed than we all think.
Tesla Motors finds itself at the center of the hurricane, as this leak would incorporate private information, but at the same time it would contain details that would more or less expose a series of internal metrics that could be used to analyze whether or not the company is keeping quiet about the actual number of problems with this feature.
Tesla's Autopilot could be more problematic than we admit: Elon Musk must not like it.
The reports examined by the European media suggest that Tesla itself has failed to adequately protect the data of customers, employees and business partners. But in particular, it exposes that thousands of complaints have been received from its own consumers regarding the driver assistance system popularly known as Autopilot.
The leak highlights 139 non-public reports of “involuntary emergency braking”, 383 reports of “phantom stops” triggered by false collision warnings plus other reports of sudden acceleration that can still endanger pedestrians, road users and other vehicles.
Other exposed data even includes database tables containing over 100,000 names of current and former employees, private email addresses, phone numbers, employee salaries, customer bank details and even Elon Musk's national insurance number.
The scale and volume of this leak is truly considerable and sensitive. In addition to its negligence, the company could be fined up to 4% of its annual sales by European regulators. A figure that could exceed $3.5 billion.