Category Archives: Energy

“Quitting” When Unready: A Curious Case of Sleep Loss

The Air Force is having a moment regarding a decision to abort an exercise due to sleep loss.

“If it was a real world sortie, I can guarantee that those crews would get their energy drinks of choice, roll out to the plane, and fly to defend our nation,” he said. “I don’t know of any E3 member that would deny a flight if the Russians were coming no matter their state of rest. So in wartime, our asses would be flying and we would gladly do it. But this wasn’t real world. It was an exercise. You can’t replace the lives that would be lost if a plane went down.”

Smart move to cancel the exercise, I have no doubt from the details revealed so far… and this reminded me of two things.

First, recent neuroscience studies of mental and physical well-being showing clear degradation from sleep loss.

Three consecutive nights of sleep loss can have a negative impact on both mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation can lead to an increase in anger, frustration, and anxiety. Additionally, those who experienced sleep loss reported a change in physical wellbeing, including gastrointestinal and respiratory problems.

Second, I keep seeing leaders who accommodate rest and recuperation get criticized as “quitting”, which seems totally counter-intuitive.

If you don’t “quit” to eat and drink, the body risks even bigger shutdown. If you don’t “quit” to heal from injury you may fail to heal and cause wider injury. If you don’t “quit” to sleep… disaster.

Knowing when to not do something could be as important as knowing when to do it.

Somehow a blind and unthinking version of “don’t quit” (urging people to damage themselves in ways they can not continue anyway) is growing out of control to a point where people are using social media platforms to push others off cliffs instead of stopping/quitting to consider obvious consequences of such a predictable failure.

Even more complicated than sleep loss are the “twisties” as noted recently in Olympic gymnastics:

“We also do a lot of work to teach them how to listen to their bodies’ warning signs that they are heading down the wrong path,” he continued. Andrews noted that Biles had more stressors than most, being forced to represent USA Gymnastics, the institution that enabled her sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, because it’s the only pathway to the Games. …getting past the twisties can take time, sometimes days, weeks or even months to resolve. “This isn’t as easy to fix as just sleeping it off and hoping for a better day tomorrow,” one former gymnast and diver pointed out on Twitter. […] The worst case scenario isn’t a lost competition or even a serious injury, like a ruptured Achilles. In gymnastics, it can result in paralysis, or even death.

Getting well to avoid death is a form of “quitting” only in the sense it’s taking a very wise step to ensure survival and thus continuation. The case of Biles is especially telling because it is about a black woman who had been forced into sexual abuse.

Biles clearly has declared self-control over her own body in a multitude of ways. This latest demonstration is surely inspiring others to think about mental as well as physical success. Her stepping aside allows her also to be in a better place to help/support her team to succeed than if she experienced catastrophic failure. It’s a very wise choice demonstrating excellent leadership qualities, and something I expect any special operations team would recognize.

From that a number of white men seem to be upset and hyperventilating publicly about her “quitting”; issuing completely tone-deaf comments that a black woman be forced to do what they want instead.

So I encourage people to read about the USAF and then the Olympics to think about the parallels. Did they quit, or did they refuse to quit by taking a safety break?

Simon Sinek says we should start calling it “falling” instead of “failing” (let alone quitting) because it implies we get up again:

New Coyote Anti-Swarm Missile Straight Out of 1953

The first operational anti-aircraft missile system, the Nike Ajax, was launched by the United States in 1953.

A new guided missile system was needed which could destroy entire formations of high-altitude, high-speed aircraft at a greater ranges with a single missile. After extensive studies, it was determined that this new system would require the use of a nuclear warhead in a new missile having greater range and speed than the Nike-Ajax missile.

Fast-forward to today and Raytheon PR announces an anti-swarm missile system, the Block 3 Coyote, has “aced” a military test.

Block 3 utilizes a non-kinetic warhead to neutralize enemy drones, reducing potential collateral damage.

To be fair, Raytheon distinguishes the Block 3 as a reusable model, unlike the Block 2.

Unlike its expendable counterpart, the non-kinetic variant can be recovered, refurbished and reused without leaving the battlefield.

It’s interesting to differentiate it in the PR as non-kinetic, given how it probably has a kinetic effect (e.g. waves of power destroying or disabling electronics).

Also it’s not really fair to say a kinetic platform can’t be reusable, since that’s a design decision (e.g. explosive warhead could be launched like planes do with missiles).

I suspect someone demanded a lower-cost profile on the Coyote and marketing came up with the language to make a false distinction from the earlier design.

Can Electric Cars Be Made to Smell Like Real Horses?

An incredibly expensive electric car ($500-600K) has this to say about its simulation features:

Totem claims that using gaming algorithms and internal combustion engine calibration, it can make engine torque, gear ratios, power band, engine brake, and sound and vibration sound “realistic and customizable.” Even the gear lever can be made to have a conventional shifter’s mechanical feeling. Engine sounds are customizable as well.

Yuck. This reads to me like an electric carriage can be made to smell like it’s being pulled by animals. At some point people have to give up all the horseshit and move on.

In ancient Rome, Julius Caesar banned horse-drawn carriages due to gridlock and pollution. In New York City, though, that seemed implausible — horses were just too essential for urban transportation and shipping.

Things being too essential shouldn’t mean people are allowed to do the wrong things when those things no longer are essential, right? I guess someone would have to define what is wrong with things like engine sound.

Maybe for some this is yet another moment to celebrate technology holding on to distinct obvious smell and noise pollution of horse power. I still say yuck.

To be fair many years ago I spoke with nautical engineers about making a giant empty carbon fiber box with a tiny electric trolling engine that looked just like a $500K cigar boat with jet engines. Then I would slowly float and gurgle it along the Intracoastal Waterway with big speakers that made it sound real. True story. And we never built one but obviously there’s a market.

Why Mass Electric Car Concepts of 1940s May Finally Arrive in 2020s

Electric trucks charging in Goods Depot, St Pancras Station, London 1917

The BBC makes a classic error in their new report by saying GM started electric mass vehicle development in 1990s (shutdown in 2002 by President Bush).

Why electric cars will take over sooner than you think… The first crude electric car was developed by the Scottish inventor Robert Anderson in the 1830s. But it is only in the last few years that the technology has been available at the kind of prices that make it competitive.

Source: BBC.

Sooner? I think electric cars are VERY late in taking over despite being price competitive 100 years ago.

And why is that BBC image caption so wrong?

Not only was the EV1 very clearly NOT the first GM attempt at an electric vehicle (many attempts had been made for a long time prior due to favorable economics, all the way back to the early 1900s), even the EV1 was “launched” long before 1998.

Real history: GM mass-produced 682 electric trucks in 1912 with lead-acid and Edison nickel-iron batteries. Does that count as a first attempt?

GM Advertisement for its electric engine trucks in 1912. (Click to enlarge)

Apparently charging the popular GM electric vehicles back then looked something like this:

Moreover “the kind of prices that make it competitive” isn’t any kind of new story, since those started waaaay back in time.

By 1900, electric cars were at their heyday, accounting for around a third of all vehicles on the road. During the next 10 years, they continued to show strong sales.” By 1912, there were 38,843 on US roads.

The infamous Henry Ford in 1914 announced the “Ford Electric” he would sell for $900 with a range of 100 miles (based on the Anderson “Detroit Electric”, which sold for around $3,000 at that time).

1914 Detroit Electric Model 47 Brougham electric car driven by Ford that nobody ever talks about. Source: The Henry Ford.

Clara Ford, wife of Henry Ford, drove this Detroit Electric. In the years before World War I many women chose electric cars because they started instantly without hand cranking and had no difficult-to-shift transmission. The superintendent of the Detroit Electric factory employed his daughter, Lillian Reynolds, to sell to women — including Clara Ford, who drove this car into the 1930s.

The following Detroit Electric brochure even spells out having 100-mile range in the very car Ford was driving around (real world tests turned in double that range) while her husband claimed he could get the price down 2/3 (to $25,000 in today’s terms) if he shifted the company from manufacturing to assembling.

Click to enlarge

The news of 1914 reported “Detroit Electric is not overpriced — or even high priced” when Ford and Edison purchased them.

Fun history fact: Ford today will charge you basically the same $50,000 whether for a gasoline or electric variant of their F-150 truck.

To recap, in 1907 William Anderson started producing electric vehicles under the brand Detroit Electric. In 1909 it acquired the Elwell-Parker electric motor and controller manufacturer (considered the best available). In 1911 it offered an Edison nickel-iron battery option to replace its rechargeable lead-acid. The company was so successful in sales and engineering it was even owned in 1914 by Ford, Edison and several major automobile executives… manufacturing electric cars and home chargers all the way to the 1940s.

Think for a minute about the fact that artificially polluting a market to deny the true economics of an electric car might just be an entirely political move made by a particular group of American men.

I mean when an electric car stops, you stop paying for power consumption, for example. And electric cars don’t spew dangerous lead fumes and toxic noise into neighborhoods that everyone else has to pay to clean up for decades afterwards.

The 1970s battery innovations were indeed the very definition of market response to a loss of control over monopolized gasoline prices: panicked predictions of fuel prices going over $2/gal (prices had spiked from an average of $0.36/gallon — $1.75/gallon in today’s dollars — to $1.19/gallon in 1980 — $2.95/gallon in today’s dollars).

Yes, people in America used to go into a total panic at the realization gasoline is a centrally-controlled and planned system that could artificially reach $3.00/gallon.

“Americans’ fear turned a small interruption in supply into a major crisis. In truth, the major oil companies were able to shift around distribution in ways that should have minimized the impact in the 1970s. But panic took hold, and the rush to tank up compounded the situation.” …the response to the 1970s oil shocks gave the planet a life-saving head start in the struggle to avoid catastrophic climate change.

That kind of panic ties into the fact that modern affordable electric mass vehicle development really comes from 1940s energy scarcity issues (postwar Tokyo’s acute gasoline shortages coupled with an abundance of hydro-electricity), as I’ve written here before.

Nissan’s car manufacturing origin story delivers us this 1946 electric car (predecessor to Datsun 1200), including “bomb bay” rapid battery replacement doors on the sides.

Fun history fact: hydro-power generated a full third of America’s electricity by 1940, and nearly 80% of power in the western states… and yet somehow Japan’s air force (after losing the world war) were tasked by America with creating the modern mass-produced electric car.

Anyway, it’s out of this foundation in real history that we should never forget that by 1980 the executives at GM were openly promising mass electric cars would be on the road in just 5 years, long pre-dating the EV-1.

G.M. is planning to put a mass-produced electric car on the road by the mid-1980’s. Alex Mair, vice president in charge of technical staffs, said that by 2020, 10 to 15 percent of G.M.’s total production will be electric vehicles. “We think we’re leading the world this time around,” Mr. Mair said.

This time around meant what decade…?

The EV-1 was at least their third major attempt at promoting mass production of an electric car and came late. Definitely NOT the first attempt.

Maybe I’m splitting hairs somewhere in here on terminology, but it probably matters.

When GM displayed in 1990 their very poorly branded “Impact” electric car (alleged predecessor to their EV-1), at best we could call it a first GM model “designed to be an electric vehicle from the outset”.

But we just can’t avoid the fact so many other electric GM cars had been attempted before an EV-1.

The GM-based Silver Volt, for example, was a 1980 plug-in hybrid based on a Buick station wagon.

1980 GM Silver Volt electric station wagon

There even was a 1979 joint venture between the Department of Energy, GE and Chrysler called the Electric Test Vehicle (ETV-1).

Before the EV-1 came the ETV-1. Makes sense, I guess.

Watch the following 1980 TV archive footage with the cool 1978 GM Electrovette for what they officially sounded like to the public at that time (“…by the year 1990 GM says 10 out of 100 drivers could be behind the wheel of this kind of vehicle.”):

That’s right, a GM plan for mass-produced electric cars dates to at least 1976 as this one clearly shows.

A 1976 concept (fueled by the obvious economics of electricity — fear of gasoline supply monopoly) produced GM’s 1978 Chevrolet Electrovette

BUT WAIT. The GM heritage center itself tells us that the 1970s aren’t early enough:

The Electrovair was developed in 1964 as a conversion of the popular Chevrolet Corvair. The engine and transmission were removed and replaced with electric system components. It had a pioneering 90 HP AC induction motor and a 450-volt silver-zinc battery. […] The Electorvair II was announced in 1966. It was more powerful than the Electrovair I with 115-HP and 532 volts. Its silver-zinc batteries enabled a top speed 80 MPH and a range 40-80 miles.

There’s even a video of that too. Here’s GM’s 1966 electric car, an upgrade from their 1964 model, where they end on a sour note:

I could do this all day. Here’s the 1969 GM XP 512E, where “E” clearly stands for electric:

Apparently charging GM electric vehicles in 1969 looked something like this:

These micro vehicles might look silly by today’s monster-truck standards of power-projection… yet someone took their Enfield E8000 ECC (Electric City Car) and updated the batteries to produce 1,000HP, posting a quarter-mile run at 12.56-seconds going over 101 mph!

When originally manufactured in 1974, the E8000 was equipped with 300 kg of lead-acid batteries for 96 volts, now Smith equipped his with 145 kg of li-ion batteries for 378 volts.

This wasn’t a GM, or even an American car. It was a design instigated by the United Kingdom Electricity Council in 1966 (perhaps aligned with the 1963 US Clear Air Act). I just mention it here because its design was so good it allegedly seriously alarmed California’s Governor: Ronald Reagan.

There’s only one dog in this E8000 promotional photo from 1975.

To be clear, all these modern attempts by GM to innovate in electric cars through the 1960s and 1970s were ruthlessly shut-down for purely political gain by the GOP under the thumb of the oil industry when Reagan became President in 1981.

And somehow nobody remembers any of the electric cars from these decades?

The BBC falsely calling an EV-1 the first attempt by GM… not only ignores an obvious reality in car history, it badly obscures how electric car innovations were AGAIN aggressively shut-down in the 2000s by President Bush… a sad repeat of America’s short-sighted right-wing party addiction to oil.

White House Joins Fight Against Electric Cars: The Bush administration went to court today to support the automobile industry’s effort to eliminate requirements in California that auto manufacturers sell electric cars.

Let me spell this out more clearly. Ronald Reagan in the 1960s led the GOP to carve out an exception in California to national clean air regulations so they could kill the electric car. Yet when Reagan unexpectedly became president in 1980s he flipped around to kill the electric car nationally, facing the awkward fact that California had been carved out and trying to keep the electric car alive.

This kind of soft flopping around wasn’t unusual for Reagan. He fought to ban guns in California so the police could more easily kill Black Americans, yet after becoming president he opposed bans on guns… so the police could more easily kill Black Americans. See the consistency within the contradiction?

Such hyper-political winds so very artificially manipulating markets and blocking innovation in America always has been the real problem stalling an inevitable arrival.

That, plus the sad fact that people seem to not learn history.

Did you even know Reagan tried to destroy electric cars, not to mention ban guns? Shame on the BBC for getting American history so wrong. They’re not even American so what’s their excuse for such ignorance?

Bonus history points: Here’s a poster with some obvious reasons from 1917 why inexpensive electric trucks make more sense than a highly-centralized and environmentally destructive model of gasoline that caused panics in the 1970s… all which still read true today (click to enlarge).

The Detroit Electric company in 1912 offered these contemporary-sounding thoughts on the subject in their brochure.

Electric delivery will supersede all other modes for city use, just as naturally as electric street railways, electric elevated railroads and electric locomotives for steam railroad terminals are taking the place of all other forms of locomotion. Wherever electricity has solved any problem, it has done so better than any other form of power. […] When the car stops, the power stops — and the expense for power. Detroit Electric commercial vehicles are noiseless, odorless… particularly appreciated by customers in all residential districts.

Click to enlarge

Or as the Smithsonian put it:

Come the turn of the 19th century, battery-powered machines were also entering into the fold; Ogden Bolton Jr. was issued a U.S. patent for his battery-powered bicycle in 1895.

We’re just now “entering the fold” like it’s 1895 again.

Even those annoying “new” electric scooters are as old as the electric car.

Source: Smithsonian. “Autoped Girl by Everett Shinn, in Puck, 1916”

Tesla CEO Gaslighting Autopilot Safety Failures

Update April 22, 2021: A statement from Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, Jake Fisher confirms that the Tesla vehicles lack basic safety — fail to include a modern-day equivalent of a seat belt.

In our test, the system not only failed to make sure the driver was paying attention — it couldn’t even tell if there was a driver there at all.

Other manufacturers neither have the safety failures of Tesla, nor the exaggerated safety claims, nor a CEO who encourages known unsafe operation of his sub-par engineering.

Source: My presentation at MindTheSec 2021

“2 dead in Tesla crash after car ‘no one was driving’ hits tree”. Source: NBC

Just a few days ago on April 14th the CEO of Tesla tweeted a prediction:

Major improvements are being made to the vision stack every week. Beta button hopefully next month. This is a “march of 9’s” trying to get probability of no injury above 99.999999% of miles for city driving. Production Autopilot is already above that for highway driving.

Production Beta

You might see a problem immediately with such a future leaning statement clearly meant to mislead investors. “Production Autopilot” means it already is in production, yet the prior sentence was “Beta… next month”.

Can it both be in production while under continuous modifications for testing, while still being a month away from reaching beta? It sounds more like none of it is true — there is the least possible work being done (real testing and safe deployment is hard) but they want extra credit.

Also make special note of the highway driving reference. Production is being used as a very limited subset of production. It’s still being tested in the city because not ready while being production ready for highway, but all of it is called production while being unready?

This is very tortured marketing double-speak, to the point where Tesla language becomes meaningless. Surely that is intentional, a tactic to avoid responsibility.

Let’s move on to April 17th at 3:45PM when the CEO of Tesla was tweeting Autopilot claims about being standard on all Teslas, as part of a full endorsement of extremely bold marketing claims like this one:

Even when you’re driving manually, Autopilot is looking out for you

Hold that thought. No matter what, even manual mode, Autopilot is there. Got it? This is important in a minute.

Also this is not a statement about it being a production highway-only Autopilot. It is not specifying the beta button of vision of Autopilot. There is nothing anything about this or that version, in this or that situation.

This is a statement about ALL Autopilot versions on all Teslas.

ALWAYS on, looking out for you.

Standard. On ALL Teslas.

These are very BOLD claims, also known as DISINFORMATION.

Passive means active? Who engages in such obviously toxic word soup?

Just to be clear about sources, the above @WholeMarsBlog user operating like a PR account and tweeting safety claims is… a Tesla promotional stunt operation.

It tweets things like “2.6s 0-60 mph” promoting extreme acceleration right next to a video called “Do not make the mistake of underestimating FSD @elonmusk”

Do not underestimate “full self driving”? Go 0-60 in 2.6s?

That seems ridiculously dangerous advice that will get people killed, maybe even launching them straight into a tree with no chance of surviving.

Here’s the associated video, a foreshadowing at this point.

To summarize, an account linked to the CEO explicitly has been trying to encourage Tesla owners to do highly dangerous performance and power tests on small public roads that lack markings.

Now hold those two thoughts together. We can see Tesla’s odd marketing system promoting: Autopilot is always looking out for you on all Tesla models without exception, and owners should try extreme tests on unmarked roads where underestimating Autopilot is called the “mistake” — drive dangerously.

See the connections?

I see the above introduction as evidence of invitation from Tesla (they certainly didn’t object) to use Autopilot for high performance stunts on small roads where even slight miscalculation could be disastrous.

Next, on April 17th just hours before yet another fatal Tesla accident, the CEO tweeted his rather crazy idea that a Tesla offers a lower chance of accident when it is compared to all automobile crash data combined.

Specifically, the CEO points to his own report that states:

NHTSA’s most recent data shows that in the United States there is an automobile crash every 484,000 miles.

Where does it show this? Most recent data means what? Are we talking about 2016?

This is what I see in the 2020 report, which presumably includes Teslas:

Overview of Motor Vehicle Crashes in 2019. Source: NHTSA

Tesla offers no citations that can be verified, no links, no copy of the recent data or even a date. Their claims are very vague, written into their own report that they publish, and we have no way of validating with them.

Also, what is defined by Tesla as a crash? Is it the same as the NHTSA? And why does Tesla say crash instead of the more meaningful metric of fatality or injury?

NHTSA publishes a lot of fatality data. Is every ding and bump on every vehicle of any kind being compared with just an “accident” for Tesla? All of it seems extremely, unquestionably misleading.

And the misuse of data comes below statements the company makes like “Tesla vehicles are engineered to be the safest cars in the world.” This is probability language. They are to be safe, when? Sometime in future? Are they not the safest yet and why not? Again misleading.

The reverse issue also comes to mind. If a child adds 2+2=4 a billion times, that doesn’t qualify them as ready to take a calculus exam.

However Tesla keeps boasting it has billions of miles “safely” traveled, as though 2+2 is magically supposed to be equivalent to actual complex driving conditions with advanced risks. It’s a logical fallacy, which seems intentionally misleading.

You can see the CEO pumps up generic Autopilot (all of them, every version, every car described as totally equivalent) as something that will prevent huge numbers of crashes and make an owner exponentially safer, based only on hand-wavy numbers

Now let’s watch after a crash happens and he immediately disowns his own product, splitting hairs about this or that version and claiming there’s no expectation of capability in any common situation.

His next tweet on the subject comes April 19th at 2:14PM when he rage tweets about insider information (secret logs) to dispute claims made by witnesses and reporters.

To recap, before a fatal accident the CEO describes Autopilot as a singular product across all Tesla that dramatically reduces risk of a crash no matter what. And then immediately following a fatal accident the CEO is frantically slicing and dicing to carve out exceptions:

  • Enabled
  • Purchased FSD
  • Standard Autopilot
  • Lane lines
  • This street

These caveats seem entirely disingenuous compared with just a day prior when everything was being heavily marketed as safer without any detail, any warning, any common sense or transparency.

Note that the WSJ report that prompted the tweet is gathering far lower social numbers than the CEO’s own network effects, which helps explain how and why he pushes selfish narratives even while admitting facts are not yet known.

The CEO is trying to shape beliefs and undermine the voice of professionals to get ahead of the facts being reported accurately.

Now just imagine if the CEO cared about safety. On April 17th he could have tweeted what he was saying on the 19th instead:

Dear loyal fans, just so you are aware your Standard Autopilot isn’t like Purchased FSD and it won’t turn on unless it sees something that looks like a lane line…don’t overestimate its abilities. In fact, it doesn’t turn on for a minute or more so you could be in grave danger.

Big difference right? It’s much better than that very misleading “always on” and “safest car in the world” puffery that led right into another tragic fatality.

Seriously, why didn’t his tweets on the 17th have a ton of couched language and caveats like the 19th?

I’ll tell you why, the CEO is pushing disinformation before a fatality and then more disinformation after a fatality.

Disinformation from a CEO

Let’s break down a few simple and clear problems with the CEO statement. Here it is again:

First, the CEO invokes lane lines only when he replies to the tweet. That means he completely side-steps the mention of safety measures. He knows there are widespread abuses and bypasses of the “in place” weighted seat and steering wheel feedback measures.

We know the CEO regularly promotes random evidence of people who promote him, including people who practice hands-off driving, and we should never be surprised his followers will do exactly what he promotes.

The CEO basically likes and shares marketing material made by Tesla drivers who do not pay attention, so he’s creating a movement of bad drivers who practice unsafe driving and ignore warnings. Wired very clearly showed how a 60 Minutes segment with the CEO promoted unsafe driving.

Even Elon Musk Abuses Tesla’s Autopilot. Musk’s ’60 Minutes’ interview risks making the public even more confused about how to safely use the semi-autonomous system.

We clearly see in his tweet response that he neither reiterates the safety measure claims, nor condemns or even acknowledges the well-known flaws in Tesla engineering.

Instead he tries to narrow the discussion down to just lines on the road. Don’t let him avoid a real safety issue here.

In June of 2019 a widely circulated video showed a Tesla operating with nobody in the driver seat.

…should be pretty damn easy to implement [prevention controls], and all the hardware to do so is already in the car. So why aren’t they doing that? That would keep dangerous bullshit like this from happening. Videos like this… should be a big fat wake-up call that these systems are way too easy to abuse… and sooner or later, wrecks will happen. These systems are not designed to be used like this; they can stop working at any time, for any number of reasons. They can make bad decisions that require a human to jump in to correct. They are not for this. I reached out to Tesla for comment, and they pointed me to the same thing they always say in these circumstances, which basically boils down to “don’t do this.”

September of 2020 a widely circulated video showed people drinking in a Tesla at high speed with nobody in the driver seat.

This isn’t the first time blurrblake has posted reckless behavior with the Tesla…. He has another video up showing a teddy bear behind the wheel with a dude reclining in the front passenger seat.

Show me the CEO condemnation, a call for regulation, of an owner putting their teddy bear behind the wheel in a sheer mockery of Tesla’s negligent safety engineering.

March of 2021 again a story hit the news of teenagers in a Tesla, with nobody in the driver seat, that runs into a police car.

That’s right, a Tesla crashed into a police car (reversing directly into it) after being stopped for driving on the wrong side of the road ! Again, let me point out that police found nobody in the driver seat of a car that crashed into their police car. I didn’t find any CEO tweets about “lane line” or versions of Autopilot.

Why was a new Tesla driving on the wrong side of the road with nobody in the driver seat, let alone crashing into a police car with its safety lights flashing?

And in another case during March 2021, Tesla gave an owner ability to summon the car remotely. When they used the feature the Tesla nearly ran over a pregnant woman with a toddler. The tone-deaf official response to this incident was that someone should be in the driver seat (completely contradicting their own feature designed on the principle that nobody is in the car).

People sometimes seem to point out how the CEO begs for regulation of AI, talks about AI being bad if unregulated, yet those same people never seem to criticize the CEO for failing to lift a finger himself to regulate and shut down these simple bad behavior examples right here right now.

Regulation by others wouldn’t even be needed if Tesla would just engineer real and basic security.

The CEO for example calls seat belts an obviously good thing nobody should ever have delayed, but there’s ample evidence that he’s failing to put in today’s seat belt equivalent. Very mixed messaging. Seat belts are a restraint, reducing freedom of movement, and the CEO is claiming he believes in them while failing to restrain people.

There must be a reason the CEO avoids deploying better safety while also telling everyone it’s stupid to delay better safety.

Second, lines may be needed to turn on. Ok. Now explain if Autopilot can continue without lines. More to the obvious point, does a line have to be seen for a second or a minute? The CEO doesn’t make any of this detailed distinction, while pretending to care about facts. In other words if a line is erroneously detected then we assume Autopilot is enabled. Done. His argument is cooked.

Third, what’s a line? WHAT IS A LINE? Come on people. You can’t take any statement from this CEO at face value. He is talking about lines like it’s some fact, when Autopilot has no real idea of what a line is. Again his argument is cooked.

Sorry, but this is such an incredibly important point about the CEO’s deceptive methods as to require shouting again WHAT IS A LINE?

Anything can be read as a line if a system is dumb enough and Tesla has repeatedly been proven to have extremely dumb mistakes. It will see lines where there are none, and sometimes it doesn’t see double-yellow lines.

Fourth, the database logs can be wrong/corrupted especially if they’re being handled privately and opaquely to serve the CEO’s agenda. That statement was “logs recovered so far”. Such a statement is extremely poor form, why say anything at all?

The CEO is actively failing to turn data over to police to be validated and instead trying to curry favor with his loyalists by yelling partial truths and attacking journalists. Such behavior is extremely suspicious, as the CEO is withholding information while at the same time knowing full well that facts would be better stated by independent investigators.

Local police responded to the CEO tweets with “if he has already pulled the data, he hasn’t told us that.”

Why isn’t the CEO of Tesla working WITH investigators instead of trying to keep data secret and control the narrative, not to mention violate investigation protocols?

…the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which removed Tesla as a party to an earlier investigation into a fatal crash in 2018 after the company made public details of the probe without authorisation.

The police meanwhile are saying what we know is very likely to be true.

We have witness statements from people that said they left to test drive the vehicle without a driver and to show the friend how it can drive itself.

Let’s not forget also this CEO is also the same guy who in March 2020 tweeted disinformation “Kids are essentially immune” to COVID19. Today we read stories that are the opposite.

…government data from Brazil suggest that over 800 children under age 9 have died of Covid-19, an expert estimates that the death toll is nearly three times higher…

Thousands of children dying from pandemic after the Tesla CEO told the world to treat them as immune. Essentially immune? That’s double-speak again like saying Autopilot is in production meaning highway only because still testing urban and in a month from now it will achieve beta.

Or double-speak like saying Autopilot makes every Tesla owner safer always, except in this one road or this one car because of some person.

Who trusts his data, his grasp of responsibility for words and his predictions?

Just as a quick reminder, this crash is the 28th for Tesla to be investigated by the NHTSA. And in 2013 when this Model S was released the CEO called it the safest car on the road. Since then as many as 16 deaths have been alleged to be during Autopilot.

Fifth, the location, timing (9:30P) and style of the accident suggests extremely rapid acceleration that didn’t turn to follow the road and instead went in a straight line into a tree.

This is consistent with someone trying to test/push extreme performance “capabilities” of the car (as promoted and encouraged by the CEO above and many times before), which everyone knows would include people trying to push Autopilot (as recorded by witnesses).

Remember those thoughts I asked you to hold all the way up at the top of this post? A reasonable person listening to “Autopilot is always on and much safer than human” and watching videos of “Don’t underestimate FSD” next to comments about blazing acceleration times… it pretty obviously adds up to Tesla creating this exact scenario.

Tesla owners dispute CEO claims

Some of this already has been explored by owners of Tesla vehicles who started uploading proofs of their car operating on autopilot with no lines on a road.

In one thread on Twitter the owner of a 2020 Model X with Autopilot and FSD Capability shares his findings, seemingly contradicting Tesla’s CEO extremely rushed and brash statements.

@LyftGift Part One

7:55am, I returned to the parking lot to show you folks how the Autopilot engages with no lines marked on the road as @elonmusk claims is necessary. I engaged autopilot without an issue. I didn’t post this video right away, because I wanted to see how y’all would twist it.

@LyftGift Part Two

Show me a line. Any line. Show me a speed limit sign. Any sign.

@LyftGift then reiterates again with a screenshot: “At 2:15 both icons are activated. Cruise and AP” with no lines on the road.

Something worth noting here, because the tiny details sometimes matter, is the kind of incongruity in Tesla vehicle features.

The CEO is saying the base Autopilot without FSD shouldn’t activate without lines, yet @LyftGyft gives us two important counter-points.

We see someone not only upload proof of Autopilot without lines, it is in a 2020 Model X performance, with free unlimited premium connectivity.

An eagle-eyed observer (as I said these details tend to matter, if not confuse everything) asked how that configuration is possible given Tesla officially discontinued it in mid-2018.

@LyftGift replies “Tesla hooked me up”.

So let’s all admit for the sake of honesty here, since Tesla bends its rules arbitrarily to say what is or is not available on a car, it is really hard to trust anything the CEO might say he knows or believes about any car.

Was it base Autopilot or is he just saying that because he hasn’t found out “yet” in his extremely early announcements that someone at Tesla “hooked” a modification for the owner and didn’t report it.

22 Hammock Dunes Place

Maps show that the empty wooded lot where the car exploded had desolate, simple lanes, near a golf club, where the roads were in perfect condition. The only complication seems to be the roads are constantly curved.

The car allegedly only went several hundred yards on one “S” curve and lost control, before exploding on impact with a tree. The short narrow path and turn suggests rapid acceleration that we’ve read about in other fatal Tesla crash and burn reports.

I would guess the Tesla owners thought they had chosen a particular safe place to do some extreme Autopilot testing to show off the car.

Apple satellite imagery looks like this:

Google StreetView shows these areas aren’t being mapped, which honestly says to me traffic is very low including police and thus a prime area for vehicle stunts:

Zillow offers a rather spooky red arrow in their description of the lot, also pointing roughly to where the burning car was found.

And I see lines, do you see lines?

Howabout in this view? Do you see lines plausibly indicating side of a road?

Ok, now this will surely blow your mind. The men who allegedly told others they were going to show off the Autopilot capability on this road were driving at night.

Look closely at the yellow light reflecting on this curve of the road like a yellow… wait for it… line!

Emergency services personnel stand near the site of the Tesla vehicle crash in Spring, Texas, on April 17, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Fighting the Fire

The Houston Chronicle quotes the firefighters in self-contradictory statements, which is actually kind of important to the investigation.

With respect to the fire fight, unfortunately, those rumors grew out way of control. It did not take us four hours to put out the blaze. Our guys got there and put down the fire within two to three minutes, enough to see the vehicle had occupants

This suggests firefighters had a very good idea of where the passengers were in the vehicle and how they were impacted, when everyone was reporting nobody in the driver seat.

The firefighter then goes on to say fighting the fire took several hours after all, but the technical description means it wasn’t live flames, just the ongoing possibility of live flames. Indeed, other Tesla after crashes have reignited multiple times over several hours if not longer.

Buck said what is termed in the firefighting profession as “final extinguishment” of the vehicle — a 2019 Tesla — took several hours, but that classification does not mean the vehicle was out-of-control or had live flames.

And then a little bit later…

…every once in a while, the (battery) reaction would flame.

It wasn’t on fire for more than three minutes. It could have reignited so we were on it for several hours. It was reigniting every once in a while.

So to be clear, the car was a serious fire hazard for hours yet burned intensely only for minutes. Technically it did burn for hours (much like an ember is burning, even when no flames are present) although also technically the fire fighters prefer to say it was a controlled burn.

Conclusion

Tesla is a scam.

As I’ve posted on this blog before

Tesla, without a question, has a way higher incidence of fire deaths than other cars.

There already are many twists to this new story (pun not intended) because the CEO of Tesla is peddling disinformation and misleading people — claiming Autopilot is always there and will save the world until it doesn’t and then backpedaling to “there was no Autopilot” and tightly controlling all the messaging and data.

Seems to fit the bill for gaslighting. Autopilot is both on always but off, as the car is to be safest yet smashed into a tree and on fire for minutes and burning for hours.

Tesla’s production highway tested beta manual autopilot using passive active safety literally couldn’t see a tree for the forest.