Tesla Model 3's FSD drives into flood, driver blames the car and wants to sue
Hans · Aug 22, 2023 02:01 PM
The EV world is characterized by ‘software-defined cars’ – vehicles that rely on software (as opposed to differentiated mechanical hardware) to deliver unique user experience. Such cars are also capable of adding new functions over time, thanks to over-the-air (OTA) software updates.
Tesla epitomizes software-defined vehicles. Unlike other EVs, Tesla’s software updates improve not just the infotainment, but also the car’s driving capabilities. The Full Self-Driving (FSD) upgrade is one such example.
However, the problem with software-defined vehicles is that this new breed cars also attract a new group of buyers who treat cars like it’s a smartphone. With very little appreciation for mechanical parts and the physics behind motion, this new group of EV owners give their full trust to their ‘mobility device’ – some are foolish enough to take Tesla’s Full Self-Driving name as to literally mean that the car can drive itself.
Exhibit A is this male Karen of a driver in California, USA – the world’s capital of Tesla.
This Tesla Model 3 was shown on Youtube channel Wham Baam Teslacam to be cruising at 96 km/h using the car’s Full Self-Driving feature. It is important to note that Tesla’s FSD, while being one step above Auto Pilot, is still a Level 2 semi-autonomous driving aid feature.
Despite what Tesla fans insist, no road traffic authority recognizes FSD’s semi-autonomous driving capability as anything more than Level 2, meaning that FSD is no different from Honda Sensing or Toyota’s TSS or Subaru’s EyeSight. If a Tesla operating in FSD mode is involved in an accident, the driver will be held responsible.
This Tesla driver however, clearly believes that FSD is better than a human driver. First, car drove past a yellow warning sign that says ‘Flooded.’ He either didn’t notice it because he left the car on FSD, or willfully ignored the warning.
Soon the car approaches a wet stretch of road. The driver continued to ignore the potential danger, trusting in the superiority of artificial intelligence. When the car hit deeper puddles of water, physics took happened. The car lost traction, spun, and crashed into a huge pond of water deep enough to submerge the lower half of the Tesla.
The driver shared the video footage of the crash to Wham Baam Teslacam (bad idea) asking for assistance on taking legal action against the local city council and Tesla. He claims that his Tesla should’ve slowed down when reaching the flooded stretch of road.
Unfortunately for the rest of us, the thought of “I need to improve my driving skills” will never occur inside the heads of such users (let’s not call them drivers) of software-defined cars. It is always the car’s fault, the software’s fault, the road’s fault, the government’s fault, everyone but themselves is at fault.
Tesla’s AI-driven Auto Pilot, Enhanced Auto Pilot, and Full Self-Driving are among the best in the industry, but don’t for one moment think that it’s a replacement for the driver. Despite the name, Tesla’s owner’s manual clear states “While using Autopilot it is your responsibility to stay alert, keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times and maintain control of your car.” This caution also applies to Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving.
Auto Pilot is a standard feature on every Tesla model. It’s basically adaptive cruise control with active lane keeping assist.
Enhanced Auto Pilot is a RM 16,000 option (in Malaysia, for Tesla Model Y) that adds ability to indicate, switch lanes, exit highway ramps, while the ‘Summon’ function will drive the car out of the parking lot and drive towards you.
The most expensive Full Self-Driving is a RM 32,000 option that adds ability to recognized Stop signs and traffic lights. However, Tesla’s description of FSD also says the feature must be only be used “with your active supervision,” meaning that FSD is still an assist-only feature and the driver must always be ready to take over.