Find personal data from your old car on eBay

[An amateur] researcher, who described himself as a “Tesla tinkerer that’s curious about how things work,” recently gained access to 13 Tesla MCUs — short for media control units — that were removed from electric vehicles during repairs and refurbishments. Each one of the devices stored a trove of sensitive information despite being retired. Examples included phone books from connected cell phones, call logs containing hundreds of entries, recent calendar entries, Spotify and W-Fi passwords stored in plaintext, locations for home, work, and all places navigated to, and session cookies that allowed access to Netflix and YouTube (and attached Gmail accounts)…

“It looks like some service center employees sell intact units on the side instead of returning them…the researcher said in an interview. “I know some people running salvage yards that say that’s one source of units they have for sale.”…

[His] discovery reveals a risk posed not just to Tesla owners but drivers of virtually any vehicle that has onboard devices that store personal data or provide remote tracking. A man who rented Ford vehicles from Enterprise Rent-a-Car reported having the ability to remotely start, stop, lock, and unlock the vehicles long after he returned them not just once, but a second time four months after the first. As is the case with Tesla MCUs that make it back onto the market, the failure of rental companies to mandate that employees fully wipe infotainment systems of all previous customers’ data represents a safety and privacy risk that could easily be avoided.

I know you can’t selectively destroy recording systems in a car you’re selling or trading-in; but, at a minimum you should do a factory reset. I’m not a fanatic about privacy (yet); but, I see no reason to skip utilizing the procedures built-in to maintain some level of security.

Tesla uses the cars they sell…like computers

Volkswagen CEO Hebert Diess has admitted that Tesla has a significant lead when it comes to software and its use in its self-driving program, according to leaked internal communications.

Tesla pioneered over-the-air software updates in the auto industry.

At first, it was touted more as a smartphone-like feature that enables your car to have a better user experience over time.

However, Tesla’s use of over-the-air software updates has evolved, and it is also now at the center of the automaker’s effort to achieve a fully self-driving system.

But what is of greater concern for VW’s CEO is Tesla’s use of software in its Autopilot program:

“What worries me the most is the capabilities in the assistance systems. 500,000 Teslas function as a neural network that continuously collects data and provides the customer a new driving experience every 14 days with improved properties. No other automobile manufacturer can do that today.”

No shit, Sherlock. At least, Hebert Diess recognizes the qualitative change wrought by Elon Musk. He’s brought motor vehicle production into the realm of digital management. He built-in a feedback loop providing information using conduits every competitor should be using to update their products. And using them to provide frequent, near-live data…if not live. Built into the vehicle operating system.

Families driving opposite directions in Teslas hit by the same falling tree

TESLA’S AUTOPILOT STOPPED THEM SOONER THAN EITHER DRIVER COULD!


Click to enlarge

Two Tesla owners in two different Model X vehicles going in two different directions were hit by the same falling tree on the road and claim that Autopilot saved their family’s lives by applying the brakes before they could.

The incident happened last weekend in Dorset, in southwest England, where Storm Dennis has been hammering parts of the country with wind and rain…

Laurence Sanderson was driving his Model X with his wife and three kids when a giant oak tree fell in the middle of the road.

He told the Mirror that he saw the tree coming down, but Autopilot applied the brakes before he could…

Josh Whitelock was in the other Model X with his girlfriend and her mother. All three also came out mostly unharmed from the crash…

Whitelock also claimed that the Autopilot’s Auto Emergency Braking system did the work.

Given the circumstances – and other similar accounts – autonomous driving or not, Autopilot is a winner for driving safety. The one truly terrible auto accident I was in [many years ago] would never have happened if I had a system like this in my car.

Wall St worries about broken glass, BladeRunner Tesla pickup truck

❝ Tesla’s…launch of its futuristic Cybertruck pickup suffered a setback when its “armored glass” windows shattered, but it was the overall look of the electric vehicle that worried Wall Street on Friday, driving the automaker’s shares down 6%.

In the much-anticipated unveiling to cheering fans late on Thursday, Tesla boss Elon Musk had taken aim at the design, power and durability of mainstream trucks, only to be shaken when his boast about his new vehicle’s windows backfired…

❝ Some Wall Street analysts praised the launch on Friday, but others doubted the futuristic design’s mass appeal…“Musk has been enthusiastic about his Blade Runner-inspired design for months, but we were still surprised how futuristic he went with this one and believe it may shatter his dreams,” Cowen analysts wrote…

“While we are pleased to see Tesla enter the most profitable segment of the North American passenger car market, we do not see this vehicle in its current form being a success.”

The comparison to Blade Runner is apt, appropriately futuristic. Our household liked Blade Runner for more than the cultural politics. Same goes for the Tesla pickup. Quoting “car guys” who hate the look is like Road & Track mag’s hatred of modern racing-level automatic transmissions. Which keep on winning all the important races on traditional courses.

The comparison with Fords is also appropriate. They usually lead the pack though Rams received the same rap when introduced in 1994…and ended up often challenging and beating Ford sales. My ’94 Ram has had only 1 major repair in 25 years – tranny replacement – and the speedo quit several years ago at 211,000 miles.

Most interesting engineering comment came from an engineer with specialized glass qualifications…who learned Tesla bounced the 1kg steel ball off the windows 5 times the day before. He felt they never considered cumulative microfractures and should have done the demo with unimpacted glass.

Estimate of pre-orders by the end of the evening was 200,000.

Tesla getting ready to introduce million-mile electric vehicle battery


Battery on wheels

❝ Battery research revealed earlier this month and affiliated with Tesla could suggest that the company is well on its way to bringing a million-mile battery to market.

The result could last three times as long as Tesla’s current cells—6,000 cycles, across a wide temperature range—and be the electric-car brand’s “secret sauce” as it moves to prove its vehicles as high-mileage self-driving workhorses.

❝ The work was presented by pioneering lithium-ion battery researcher Jeff Dahm, and focused on a new “single crystal nickel metal hydride (NMC)/artificial graphite” chemistry.

“We conclude that cells of this type should be able to power an electric vehicle for over 1.6 million kilometers (1 million miles) and last at least two decades in grid energy storage,” the paper’s authors outline…

❝ Research presented in the paper, published September 6 in Journal of The Electrochemical Society, was supported by Tesla Canada and included years of testing…

Notable in other articles/interviews with Dahm is that Musk isn’t trying to hold the technology secret. Building the EV industry as a whole is also beneficial to Tesla. After all, they’ll still probably be first on the street with this tech.

Coppers adopting TESLA Model 3

❝ The Bargersville, Indiana, Police Department is updating its fleet to Tesla Model 3s after they figured out that they will save a lot of money on gas, and that the Tesla Model 3s don’t compromise performance compared to the Dodge Chargers…

❝ The Luxembourg Police converted two Model S sedans to patrol cars, and the largest fleet of Tesla police patrol vehicles is in Switzerland…

❝ As for cost, Model 3 is the clear winner. The Standard Range Plus version that they bought is a little more expensive at ~$41,000, but they expect gas savings of about $6,000 per year, which means that the Model 3 will almost pay for itself over its lifetime (they expect six years as a police vehicle).

And here’s another one of those changes resulting from our recent Great Recession. People realized they didn’t need a new car as often as previous. Lots of folks bought new cars as things got better into the Obama years. Then slooowed way down below new purchase cycles of earlier generations.

Elon Musk said what?

❝ In many ways, Tesla — Elon Musk’s lightning rod of a car company — is the perfect allegory for modern Silicon Valley. The ongoing psychodrama of personalities drowns out the amazing technical achievements that are happening all around us…

As usual, this has been a real “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” kind of week for Tesla. It had a disastrous earnings report card, and Elon keeps creating all the wrong sorts of headlines. But in the middle of this maelstrom, the company announced a new chip that is going to eventually become the brain for their electric car. This chip is not just any chip — it will be able to make sense of a growing number of sensors that allow the car to become better and better at assisted (if not fully automated) driving…

❝ Tesla’s module is based on two AI chips — each one made of a CPU, a GPU, and deep learning accelerators. The module can deliver 144-trillion operations per second, making it capable of processing data from numerous sensors and other sources and running deep neural network algorithms. Ian Riches, an analyst with Strategy Analytics, told EE Times that this is “effectively the most powerful computer yet fitted to a production vehicle.” And Tesla is going to make a next-generation module that will be more powerful and will consume a lot less power.

As usual, Om Malik provides more depth, analysis and understanding than most of his peers. Please, RTFA, gather in another chunk of insight into Elon Musk’s apparently endless journey to reinvent the automobile along with any other software and hardware he bumps into in his young life.