'Tesla Files': Lukasz Krupski, ex-exec, leaks safety failures of Elon Musk's EVs

Contrast to Lukasz Krupski, Elon Musk said "Tesla has by far the best real-world AI"

By Web Desk
December 05, 2023
Lukasz Krupski at a Tesla office. — Tesla

Lukasz Krupski, a former Tesla employee told the BBC that the technology powering the company's self-driving vehicles is not safe enough to be utilised on public roads.

In May, Lukasz Krupski exposed data to the German publication Handelsblatt, including consumer concerns about Tesla's brakes and self-driving software.

He said that attempts to raise his concerns inside were disregarded.

Requests for comment were not returned by Tesla.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pushed the company's self-driving technology.

"Tesla has by far the best real-world AI," Musk said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on Saturday.

However, in his first UK interview, Krupski raised the alarm with the BBC's technology editor, Zoe Kleinman, about how AI was being utilised — to power Tesla's autopilot service.

Its autopilot feature, for example, provides assistance driving and parking - however, despite its name, it still requires a driver in the driver's seat with their hands on the steering wheel.

"I don't think the hardware is ready and the software is ready," he said.

"It affects all of us because we are essentially experiments in public roads. So even if you don't have a Tesla, your children still walk in the footpath."

Krupski stated that he discovered evidence in business data indicating that standards about the safe operation of cars equipped with a specific degree of autonomous or assistive-driving technology had not been met.

He went on to say that Tesla staff had told him about automobiles randomly braking in reaction to non-existent barriers, a phenomenon known as "phantom braking." This was also revealed in the data he collected on client complaints.

According to Tesla's data, by the end of 2022, US consumers using Autopilot experienced one collision with an airbag deployment every 5 million miles driven.

It states that Tesla drivers who did not use it did so once every 1.5 million miles or so.

The average US motorist drove once every 600,000 miles. Tesla's statistics cannot be independently verified by the BBC.

Krupski stated that he felt obligated to inform data protection authorities of his findings.

Since January, the US Department of Justice has been scrutinising Tesla's statements about its assisted driving capabilities.

Tesla has also received similar examinations and questions regarding its autopilot system from regulators such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The "Tesla Files" were released by the German publication Handelsblatt after Krupski revealed 100GB of internal material he obtained.

The Dutch data protection authority, where Tesla's European headquarters are located, acknowledged to the BBC that it had been warned of the data breach and was investigating the matter.