Tesla will assist Chinese authorities in investigating the dramatic Tesla Model Y accident in Guangdong, China, which resulted in two deaths and three injuries. But rumors have circulated on social media with potential causes of the accident, most of them false or impossible.
The incident occurred on November 5 and the video is circulating on Chinese social media. The CCTV video shows (warning: graphic) a Tesla Model Y attempting to park, then driving off on a two-lane road, swerving between lanes at high speed, whizzing sideways on cars and motorbikes before crashing into the shop window. a shop for about 30 seconds and 2.6 kilometers later.
An anonymous family member of the 55-year-old male driver said the driver had problems with the brake pedal when he was about to pull over in front of the family shop, Jimu News reported. As best we can tell, the driver survived with injuries.
Tesla, as is often the case, said vehicle logs show that the brake pedal was not operated during the accident and that the accelerator pedal was depressed for a significant portion of the event and warned against people who believe “rumors” about the accident. CCTV video shows that the brake lights weren’t on in the rear footage of the car, although they appear to come on shortly about 23 seconds after the crash began.
Guangdong police will work with a third-party agency to evaluate vehicle logs and CCTV footage to determine the truth about the incident.
(Warning: people are dying in this video, although it’s not immediately clear from the footage. Picky people may still not want to watch)
Tesla has faced other allegations in the past for brake pedal malfunction, including from a Chinese customer who organized a protest at their Shanghai Motor Show booth claiming that an accident he was in was the result of brake failure. . These allegations are not limited only to China, Tesla has also received many complaints in the United States, to which he responded in a blog post stating that “there is no ‘unintentional acceleration’ in Tesla vehicles”.
These complaints were reviewed by the NHTSA, which found that sudden unintentional acceleration accidents in Teslas were the result of driver error and were not due to vehicle design flaws. The NHTSA reminds drivers that there are 16,000 preventable accidents per year in the United States due to a pedal error and warns drivers to be aware of this problem.
However, that hasn’t stopped social media from swirling with rumors about Tesla’s latest crash. On both Chinese and English-language social media, there have been many posts suggesting various causes without evidence, most of which do not stand up to basic scrutiny.
Some claimed that the vehicle was attempting to park automatically and then went haywire, scurrying away at high speed. But the kind of steering and acceleration behavior shown in the video is not characteristic of Autopilot, much less automatic parking, and both would be disabled by tapping the brake pedal at any time.
Others have claimed that the vehicle’s engine is too powerful to be overtaken by the brakes, but as the brake lights were not on and the vehicle’s brakes are designed to overcome the strength of the engine / motor, this explanation is also unsatisfactory.
The allegations are similar to those with other vehicles. Notoriously, Toyota faced a “sudden involuntary acceleration” recall in 2009-2011, in which the automaker recalled various parts of its vehicles in response to an increase in reports of involuntary acceleration. Although design flaws in the floor mats or accelerator pedals may have contributed to some cases, most cases were found to be a driver error problem and were more common among older and unskilled drivers. The rise in reports has kept track of media coverage of the problem, with more reports coming in as media coverage intensifies.
China is Tesla’s second largest market. The company recently began to push demand levers, including price cuts, in response to declining sales in the country.
Take by Electrek
While it is entirely possible that there is some unexamined cause here, it is almost certainly the same cause that is always in these situations: someone pressed the wrong pedal, and then kept pressing it when they panicked.
This doesn’t mean there can’t be a design flaw involved. I noticed that Tesla drivers for the first time crossed the pedals (i.e., accidentally pressing both pedals at the same time) perhaps more often than I would expect in a vehicle. It’s possible that the position of the pedals is a little closer than it should be, even if I’m not an engineer with particular experience in pedal safety regulations, so take it with a grain of salt. Also, whenever this happens, the car has displayed a warning about the cross pedals and has automatically cut off power to the accelerator, favoring the brake on the accelerator, so that could not be the cause of this accident.
But attributing this to Autopilot simply doesn’t make any sense. This is clearly not autopilot behavior, as anyone familiar with the system (and aware of its downsides) can tell. I bet the third party investigation will find that the driver simply pressed the accelerator the entire time and that this was a human error, as is the case with many crashes. So why so much discussion about this particular Tesla crash?
Tesla is a popular topic on social media – it’s a high-profile brand, it’s different, and it’s generating a lot of traffic for various reasons, one of which is due to its CEO who loves being the center of attention. Whenever something happens with Tesla, people talk about it – there are fatalities in various cars every day, most of which don’t generate nearly as many social media discussions or articles (like this one, sigh) about them. People always have something to say about Tesla.
The presence of the social media “rumors” that Tesla has warned against is particularly predictable right now, as it is quite popular lately to “soak” Tesla CEO Elon Musk due to his recent behavior and the dumpster fire. associated with his purchase of the very social platform where many of these rumors circulate: twitter.
Twitter has long been a rapidly spreading source of disinformation, in which Musk himself participated. He has regularly spread disinformation about COVID-19 and other topics, while promising that his own purchase of the company would result in the removal of the guardrails intended to protect against disinformation on the social media site. For example, he recently tweeted (and later deleted) that “there is a small chance that there is more to this story than meets the eye”, echoing a false and bigoted conspiracy theory about a violent attack on Paul Pelosi, husband of the President of the United States of the House Nancy Pelosi.
This kind of active misinformation spreading from the CEO of Twitter and Tesla naturally leads to public resentment that the richest man in the world would spend so much of his time and effort polluting the streams of information. instead of fixing his companies. So a number of people won’t be interested in seeing “his side of him” in the story and will actively distrust anything he or Tesla has to say, since he’s been spending so much public effort lately to spread disinformation.
If Tesla’s mission is to “accelerate the advent of sustainable transportation” – and they I am the company currently most responsible for electrification, so it doesn’t seem particularly productive for the CEO to spend so much time spreading disinformation on social media, turning public opinion against him, his company and his mission. We’d love to see fewer of them.
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