Can you trick Tesla’s Autopilot into driving with no driver?
Following a fatal crash in Texas in which authorities say they believe a Tesla was operating on Autopilot without a driver behind the wheel, two researchers with Consumer Reports decided to see if such a feat would be possible. They said they found the system could be “easily” tricked into thinking there was a driver when there wasn’t.
The researchers conducted their test in a Tesla Model Y on a closed-course test track. They found that they could simulate the pressure of a driver’s hands on the wheel, something that Autopilot monitors, by attaching a weighted chain to it. They were then able to accelerate from a full stop using the steering wheel dial, and Autopilot did the rest, driving the car for several miles. They were able to use the steering wheel dial again to return the car to a full stop.