Tesla Knows When a Crash Is Your Fault, and Other Carmakers Soon Will, Too

Tesla Knows When a Crash Is Your Fault, and Other Carmakers Soon Will, Too, by Tom Simonite.

Everyone makes mistakes, and many people try to cover them up. But if you try to hide an error made behind the wheel of a car made by Tesla Motors, you are liable to be caught out. In fact, trying to hide what really happened in any kind of car accident could soon become just about impossible.

That’s the lesson of an incident over the weekend in which the owner of a Tesla Model X SUV crashed into a building and claimed it had suddenly accelerated on its own. But Tesla vehicles are constantly connected to their manufacturer via the Internet, and the company had this to say in a statement to the Verge: “Data shows that the vehicle was traveling at 6 mph when the accelerator pedal was abruptly increased to 100 percent … Consistent with the driver’s actions, the vehicle applied torque and accelerated as instructed.”

Cars increasingly have black boxes and connect to the Internet:

The majority of cars sold in the U.S. now have event data recorders—sometimes described as black boxes—that log data to be examined in the event of an accident.

Most of those devices don’t record as much detail as Tesla does, or send it out over the Internet. But Internet connectivity in cars is becoming more common, and carmakers are keen to make use of whatever data they can get from our vehicles.

Only about a quarter of new cars have the necessary technology today, but that’s expected to reach over 90 percent by 2020.