Are Foreign Hackers Taking Control of Tesla’s AI?

The software which enables certain Tesla cars to drive themselves has been leaked, enabling hackers outside of the USA to hit the streets hands-free.

The so-called ‘Full Self-Driving’ (FSD) package is a long awaited feature for Elon Musk‘s pricey electric motors. Until now, certain Tesla owners in the USA that pay up to $10,000 have been granted limited test access to the ‘beta’ (or trial) software which enables the feature.

So far, Tesla cars outside of the US haven’t been eligible for the software, as the artificial intelligence powering the system is currently trained only on US road signs.

But that software has now reportedly leaked to the Tesla hacker community, granting Tesla drivers outside of North America the chance to make their vehicles self-driving.

A Tesla owner in the Ukraine posted a video of his car running the FSD Beta software in his vehicle as he drives through the streets of Kiev. While the car encounters some issues due to the difference in roads, it performs remarkably well.

The Full Self-Driving software can be downloaded directly to Tesla vehicles. Using a range of sensors and powerful artificial intelligence, it enables drivers to type in a location to their satnav, which the car will then attempt to drive to.

Drivers are currently required to constantly supervise the vehicle, and remain legally liable for any accidents. The software itself has been criticized for its safety, after a number of Tesla drivers were involved in collisions.

However, it does theoretically enable a car to drive itself without the need for a driver to steer, brake, or accelerate.

Tesla cars are ultimately designed to one day be ‘fully autonomous’, which means they should one day respond to any road situation without needing external instructions or input from a driver. To get there, they need to gather lots of data from real-world traffic situations, and currently, that data is only coming from the US.

Tesla was reportedly not made aware of the leak until recently. While the Tesla hacker community is said to be trying to limit the circulation of the software, it’s said that there have been attempts to purchase it.

Written by CFP Staff Writer

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