Elon Musk's controversial Tesla drive breaks laws, has terrifying moment, but police unmoved | Tech News

Elon Musk's controversial Tesla drive breaks laws, has terrifying moment, but police unmoved

The Tesla and SpaceX CEO demonstrated the capabilities of Tesla’s newest FSD update in a livestream on Friday, but it resulted in Musk breaking a law, as well as violating his company’s handbook. Police have reacted in a surprising way.

| Updated on: Aug 29 2023, 10:25 IST
Elon Musk
Elon Musk held a 45-minute video livestream on Friday to give a demo of the Tesla FSD v12 update. (REUTERS)

When Elon Musk left the Tesla Engineering HQ in Palo Alto on Friday clutching his smartphone and a livestream, he would not have anticipated the controversy it might cause. For 45 minutes, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO drove around the city and demonstrated the capabilities of Tesla's newest Full Self-Driving (FSD) update, FSD v12, thereby breaking several laws of the land in the process. Here's everything that happened during the eventful Musk live stream.

Tesla FSD demo: What went down

Everything was going fine initially, with Musk's Tesla coursing through roads, corners and roundabouts autonomously with relative ease, but that changed in the 19th minute as the vehicle almost jumped a red light and ran head-on into a busy intersection, causing Musk to intervene. It was a scary moment!

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“So that's our first intervention because the car should be going straight,” said Musk in the video as he took control of the vehicle.“That was a controlled left turn where there was a green light for the left turn but not a green light to go straight. And, so, we'll feed it a bunch of video of controlled left turns and then it'll work.”

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Tesla FSD beta updates are only released to the beta testers and not the public in general as they are still in the testing phase. V12 is not even out to beta testers yet.

Around 27 minutes into the demo, Musk then Googled Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg's address, saying that he was going to drive to his house. This is not the first time that Musk has publicly announced to visit Zuckerberg's home. Around a few weeks ago, the Tesla CEO suggested the same in preparation for their unlikely cage match.

Rules broken by Musk

For starters, Musk broke the rules for FSD set by Tesla itself. The company handbook states, “Keep your hands on the steering yoke (or steering wheel) at all times, be mindful of road conditions and surrounding traffic, and always be prepared to take immediate action.” On the other hand, Musk was often visible with just one hand on the wheel in the video.

Moreover, Musk also broke a city law that prohibits drivers from holding their phones while at the wheel. The initial punishment is a $20 fine, but it can result in a point getting docked on the license if the offence is repeated twice in a span of three years.

Despite breaking the law, Musk won't get any punishment for the offence. The Verge reached out to the Palo Alto Police Department who mentioned that since there was no police at the scene as a witness who can testify in court about the offence, they won't be issuing fines.

What is Tesla FSD?

Full Self Driving or FSD is Tesla's suite of driver assistance features that provide an assisted driving experience and active guidance under supervision. While it is not completely autonomous, FSD aims to better the Autopilot mode in vehicles with a completely autonomous driving experience in future Tesla vehicles.

Unlike other vehicles that use LiDAR and radar as part of the autonomous driving experience, Tesla FSD uses cameras onboard the vehicle. Musk recently highlighted that the upcoming FSD v12 would run entirely on cameras and AI.

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First Published Date: 29 Aug, 10:25 IST