How bad is Tesla Autopilot’s safety problem? According to thousands of complaints allegedly from Tesla customers in the U.S. and around the world, pretty bad.
A huge data dump based on a whistleblower’s leak of internal Tesla documents shows that problems with Tesla’s automated driving technology may be far more common than media reports and regulators have let on, according to the German newspaper Handelsblatt, which published an article about it Thursday.
The reportedly leaked files add to the troubling anecdotes that have appeared in the media and on social media over the years about Tesla’s Autopilot and the experimental technology it has branded as Full Self-Driving. They spotlight Tesla’s attempts to keep safety complaints secret and what appears to be a strategy to limit customer communications that might end up in lawsuits.
In an article titled “ ‘My autopilot almost killed me,’ ” Handelsblatt said it received 100 gigabytes of data and 23,000 files including 3,000 entries about customers’ safety concerns and descriptions of more than 1,000 crashes. The complaints cover Teslas manufactured from 2015 to March 2022, the article said. The files contain more than 2,400 complaints about sudden acceleration and more than 1,500 complaints about braking problems, including unintentional emergency braking and so-called “phantom stops,” when the car suddenly brakes for no apparent reason, according to the article.