Tesla Whistleblowers allege that Tesla CEO Elon Musk misled potential buyers and exposed safety risks with the Autopilot system. This Autopilot driver was once blamed for fatal car crashes.

Ex-workers have made damning claims that Musk was responsible for the deaths of Autopilot workers due to his desire to only use cameras and ditch sensor.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency reports that at least 10 victims were killed in 8 accidents in which Tesla Autopilot was used since 2016.

Initial implementation of Tesla’s Autopilot technology included sensors, cameras and radar. 

Musk (55) had previously asked engineers to create a vehicle that used cameras only for autopilot, sources said to The New York Times.

‘They said the Autopilot team continued to develop the system using radar and even planned to expand the number of radar sensors on each car, as well as exploring lidar — ‘light detection and ranging’ devices that measure distances using laser pulses,’ the outlet reported.

 ‘But Mr. Musk insisted that his two-eyes metaphor was the way forward and questioned whether radar was ultimately worth the headache and expense of buying and integrating radar technology from third parties,’ according to four people who worked on the Autopilot team.

Elon Musk in August admitted that Tesla's new self-driving software is 'not great' but the firm is trying to fix it

Elon Musk, in August, admitted that Tesla’s latest self-driving system is not great but that the firm was working on it.

Pictured: emergency personnel work a the scene where a Tesla electric SUV crashed into a barrier on U.S. Highway 101 in Mountain View, California on March 23, 2018.  The Apple engineer who died when his Tesla Model X crashed into the concrete barrier complained before his death that the SUV's Autopilot system would malfunction in the area where the crash happened

Pictured is an emergency crew responding to the Tesla electric SUV that crashed into a barrier along U.S. Highway 101 Mountain View on March 23, 2018, in California.  Apple engineer and victim of the Tesla Model X crash into concrete barrier, died on March 23rd 2018.

A separate investigation has been opened by the U.S. Securities regulator into Tesla in connection to a whistleblower complaint that Tesla failed to adequately notify shareholders and the general public about fire risks related to solar panel defect over many years. According to an agency letter,

Tesla is clear on the Autopilot capabilities and has stated that their vehicles cannot be self-driving. 

According to the company, Autopilot and Full-Self-Driving Capability should be used only with attentive drivers who are always on the road and available to drive at all times. 

The complaints Walter Huang made to his family and friends were detailed in a trove of documents released in 2020 by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the March 2018 crash that killed him

Walter Huang’s complaints to family members and friends were documented in a trove document released by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board in 2020. This board investigated his March 2018 death in a crash.

“While these features can become more efficient over time, they do not render the vehicle fully autonomous.

DailyMail.com did not reach out to Tesla for comment. 

An Apple engineer was killed when his Tesla Model X crashed into a barrier in California on March 2018. 

Walter Huang had complained about Autopilot malfunctioning in his SUV before his death, according to documents that were released by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (which was looking into the accident) in 2020.

Huang, father-of-2, was killed in hospital after his Tesla crashed in the Silicon Valley. He had been trying to avoid crashing into concrete barriers.

Huang did not attempt to stop the SUV or steer it around the obstacle in the time before it crashed. Also, the car accelerated from 62mph up to 71 mph right before it crashed.

Apart from the Autopilot malfunction description, documents contained data showing that Huang used his phone during the crash but didn’t have the steering wheel.

Tesla began rolling out its Autopilot software in 2015, with features including autosteer, auto lane change, automatic emergency steering and side collision warning, and auto park

In 2015 Tesla started rolling out Autopilot software. It features autosteer and automatic lane changes, side collision warnings, and parking assistance.

Autopilot was first introduced by the electric automaker to 60,000 users in 2015. This included Model S sedans and Model X SUVs.  

The first edition featured autosteer which maintained the vehicle in its current lane and automatic lane change. There were also side collision warning and auto park.

Tesla engineers originally installed radars on Model S sedans late 2014. However, Musk didn’t like the look of it. It was hidden in a hole next to the front bumper.

Tesla has been clear about the capabilities of its Autopilot technology, and on its website notes that its vehicles are not self-driving

Tesla made it clear that Autopilot technology is available to them. It also noted on its website that the vehicles were not autonomous.

The Times reports that he directed his employees to put a rubber seal on it. 

‘[He did so]Even though employees had warned the seal could freeze snow and ice, the outlet stated that they were not aware of any.

What is Tesla’s Autopilot? 

Autopilot employs radar and ultrasonic sensors as well as cameras to detect and perceive the surroundings around the vehicle. 

Drivers are able to see their surroundings through the sensor and camera suite. 

These inputs are processed by the powerful onboard computer in milliseconds. This, according to company claims, makes driving safer and more enjoyable.

Autopilot can only be used with an attentive driver. 

The Tesla is not made autonomous or self-driving.

Autopilot must be activated before the driver can agree to keep their hands on the wheel and take full responsibility for his/her car. 

Autopilot is activated once the engine has been started. Insufficient torque will be applied and Autopilot will send an alarm sounding audio and visual message reminding drivers that they need to keep their eyes on the road. 

Autopilot is not available to drivers who repeatedly ignore these warnings.

Autopilot features may be disabled at will by applying brakes or steering.

The Autopilot does not function well in poor visibility.

“These people claimed the company followed Mr. Musk’s directions without testing the design during winter. But, after customers complained about radar not functioning in winter, the company resolved the matter.

According to sources, Musk rejected proposals from Hal Ockerse that he include hardware and a computer chip in Autopilot’s second iteration to make sure backups are available in the event of a malfunction. 

The article stated that Musk had rejected the idea because it was too disruptive to Tesla’s efforts to create a vehicle-driven system. 

Musk was already angry that Autopilot failed on the morning drive of the day. The paper reported that Musk criticized Ockerse for suggesting this idea.

Ockerse quickly left the company.

Tesla’s Autopilot feature caused problems for legal reasons in the past.

A family representing a teenage boy killed in an autopilot collision involving a Tesla Model 3 earlier this year filed a lawsuit against Tesla.

Jovani Maldonado was travelling with his dad Benjamin on the Ford Explorer pickup truck in California Interstate 880, August 24, 2019, when the Tesla rearended it and sent it rolling.

According to police reports, Jovani was not wearing a seatbelt and was then thrown out of the car. He was found face down in the pool of blood near the accident site.

According to the data, the Tesla driver and the autopilot feature did not stop until just a few seconds before the Explorer was hit. The Explorer is located four miles away from Tesla’s Fremont main factory.

According to the New York Times, in July, the crash has become the focus of a lawsuit against Tesla Electric Cars. The New York Times reports that the autopilot function’s reliability was questioned. 

Two men died after a Tesla 'on autopilot with no one driving' crashed into a tree in Houston. The remnants of the vehicle are seen following the April 27 crash

After a Tesla “on autopilot without anyone driving” crashed into a Houston tree, two men were killed. Following the collision on April 27, these are the remains of the car.

Two men were killed in April when a Tesla on autopilot crashed into a Houston tree. This set off a massive fire which required 32,000 gallons water to put out.

After the Model S, a fully electric 2019 Tesla Model S, crashed into Carlton Woods on April 17, before bursting into flames together with all the passengers.

Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman stated that an investigation found “no one was driving” when the accident occurred. One man was in the passenger seat in front, and another in the rear.

In August, the US government said it would formally investigate Tesla’s Autopilot partially automated driving system over 11 accidents – one deadly – feared to have been caused because the system has trouble spotting parked emergency vehicles.

In August 2021, the NHTSA launched a wide-ranging investigation into numerous accidents involving Teslas and parked emergency vehicles. Pictured: A 2019 Tesla on Interstate 70 in Cloverdale, Indiana, hit the back of a parked firetruck

NHTSA opened an investigation into many accidents that involved Teslas and other parked emergency vehicles in August 2021. Pictured: In Cloverdale (Indiana), a 2019 Tesla was struck by a stationary firetruck.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that the probe covers nearly all Tesla domestically sold vehicles since 2014. 17 were hurt and one died in the eleven crashes identified during the three-year period.

The fatal accident occurred in Cloverdale (Indiana), December 2019. Jenna Monet was a passenger in the Tesla that her husband Derrick drove. She crashed into a stationary firetruck and she died.

Tesla claimed on its website, that all new vehicles are equipped with eight extra cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensor as well as a powerful onboard computing system.

The Model 3 and Model Y cars, which are designed for North American markets, do not have radar. The vehicles are dependent upon Tesla’s cameras as well as ‘neutral Net Processing.

Musk acknowledged that Tesla’s latest self-driving system is not great, but that the firm was working on it.

A billionaire entrepreneur, he tweeted that Full Self-Driving was in the process of improving its self-driving technology.

FSD is an upgrade to Autopilot. It’s a package that includes advanced driver-assistance features.

“FSD Beta 9.2” is not a great imo [in my opinion]Musk posted that Autopilot/AI is working hard to make improvements as soon as possible.

‘We’re trying to have a single stack for both highway & city streets, but it requires massive NN [neural network] retraining.’

Former Tesla field quality manager Steven Henke filed a whistleblower complaint on the solar systems in 2019 and asked the agency for information about the report.

Steven Henke was a former Tesla quality manager and filed a whistleblower report on 2019 solar systems. He asked the agency to provide information.

Tesla’s problems extend far beyond the electric car. On Monday, it was revealed that a U.S. securities regulator has opened an investigation into Tesla over a whistleblower complaint.

Following the release of the investigation’s findings, shares in the company fell by 3 percent on Monday. 

This probe puts regulatory pressure on the most valued automaker in the world. There is already a federal safety investigation into incidents involving driver assistance systems. While there have been concerns regarding Tesla solar systems catching fire, the investigation is only the beginning.

In response to Steven Henkes’ Freedom of Information Act request, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission revealed the Tesla probe. Henkes was a former Tesla field manager and filed a whistleblower claim about solar systems in 2019. He asked for details from the agency.

“We have verified with Division of Enforcement staff, that the investigation from the which you seek records” the SEC stated in a September 24, response to Henkes. It declined to supply its records and said, “We have confirmed mit Neben get dispose back actively des darin relevant prioritize apparently simultaneously potentially embarrassing uns attempted 

According to the SEC official, the letter shouldn’t be taken by agency officials as a sign that there were any violations of law.

Henkes was a former manager of the Toyota Motor quality division and was dismissed by Tesla in August 2020. He sued Tesla, alleging that the firing was in retaliation to raising safety concerns.

Henkes claimed that Tesla and SolarCity did not disclose their ‘liability to property damage, the risk of injury of users and fire to shareholders’ prior to and after they acquired SolarCity in 2016.

In the SEC complaint, Henkes said Tesla and SolarCity, which it acquired in 2016, did not disclose its 'liability and exposure to property damage, risk of injury of users, fire to shareholders' prior and after the acquisition

Henkes claimed that Tesla and SolarCity did not disclose their ‘liability to property damage, the risk of injury of its users, or fire to shareholders’ prior to and after they acquired SolarCity in 2016. 

The complaint also states that Tesla did not notify customers that their defective connectors might cause fires.

Tesla informed consumers it had to maintain the solar panel system in order to prevent a system failure. Henkes reported that it did not advise of potential fire hazards, provide temporary shutdowns to minimize risk or notify regulators about the problem.

His lawsuit against Tesla Energy, filed last November overwrongful termination, claims that the issue affected more than 60,000 U.S. residential customers and 500 commercial accounts.

Several residential customers or their insurers have sued Tesla and parts supplier Amphenol over fires related to their solar systems, according to documents provided by legal transparency group PlainSite

PlainSite has provided documents that show several homeowners or their insurance companies have brought suit against Tesla and Amphenol regarding fires caused by their solar systems. 

The number of these remains after Tesla’s remediation isn’t clear.

Henkes was a former quality manager in Toyota’s North American quality department. He moved to SolarCity in 2016 as a quality engineer, months before Tesla bought SolarCity. He told Reuters that his duties had changed after the acquisition and that he was aware of the problem.

In the SEC complaint Henkes stated that he had told Tesla management to stop the solar system from catching fire, notify the public and report it to safety regulators. He filed complaints to regulators after his repeated calls went unanswered.

“Any communication about this topic to the public is a threat to Tesla’s reputation,” said the Tesla top lawyer. He stated in the SEC complaint that he considered this to be criminal.

The concerns and litigation over defective connectors and issues with the Tesla solar system date back many years. Walmart in a 2019 lawsuit https://www.reuters.com/article/us-walmart-tesla-solar-lawsuit-idUSKCN1VA26B against Tesla said the latter’s roof solar system led to seven store fires. The allegations were denied by Tesla and both parties settled.

Business Insider published Tesla’s 2019 program to repair defective parts of its solar panels.

PlainSite has provided documents that show several homeowners or their insurance companies have brought suit against Tesla and Amphenol regarding fires caused by their solar systems.

Henkes filed a complaint to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. CNBC reported that this year, they were investigating the matter. Reuters demanded comment from Amphenol but the CPSC did not respond.