Thousands of Tesla Autopilot complaints laid bare in German report

A massive data dump containing thousands of customer complaints about Tesla’s Autopilot system has been shared with a German newspaper.

Handelsblatt says Tesla customers across the USA, Europe, and Asia reported more than 2400 self-acceleration issues and 1500 braking problems between 2015 and early 2022.

The newspaper says anonymous whistleblowers shared the complaints as part of a 100GB data dump containing more than 23,000 internal Tesla files.

“The number of crashes is more than 1000,” the newspaper reports, as translated from German to English.

“A table of incidents involving driver assistance systems where customers have expressed safety concerns has more than 3000 entries.”

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Handelsblatt says it contacted Tesla for comment on the alleged problems with Autopilot, at which point the carmaker “demanded that the data be deleted and spoke of data theft”.

In response, Handelsblatt editor-in-chief Sebastian Mathes said:

“Believe me, I prefer to report on successful innovations and I like bold entrepreneurial visions. But I have no doubt: this story belongs in the public domain.”

“The other car manufacturers are also struggling with autonomous driving. But hardly any car boss has made such big promises in this field as Elon Musk.”

The German report also lifts the lid on how Tesla communicates with customers who log problems with Autopilot, alleging the brand only shares details of any problems “verbally”, and warns employees against sharing reports into any issues in emails, text messages, or voicemails.

The Autopilot and Full Self-Driving Level 2 autonomous driving features have been making headlines of late.

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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert
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Camera IconSupplied Credit: CarExpert

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a US regulator, has two active investigations underway into the system, one of which is in the engineering analysis stage and is looking at crashes with stationary emergency vehicles, while the other is looking at phantom braking reports.

The agency confirmed it’s investigating the 17th fatal crash involving Autopilot, after a Model S collided with a parked fire truck in Contra Costa County, California in February.

Shareholders also recently filed a proposed class action suit against Tesla in federal court in San Francisco, arguing they had been defrauded by the company with false and misleading statements on technology that “created a serious risk of accident and injury”.

Tesla is also reportedly the subject of a US Department of Justice probe, reportedly examining whether Tesla misled consumers, investors, and regulators by making unsupported claims about the capability of its driver assist technology.

In one reprieve for Tesla, a California jury found in favour of Tesla earlier this month in a case involving its Autopilot system.

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Camera IconTesla Model 3 Credit: CarExpert
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