Elon Musk Wanted To Record Drivers In Attempt To Absolve Tesla Of Fault

Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes (Reuters)
Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes (Reuters)

Walter Isaacson’s new biography of Elon Musk works diligently to show the side of Elon that those of us in automotive media have known for years. The callous mercurial billionaire child-in-a-dad-bod has been known to put himself and his companies ahead of all else. One revelation from the book, posted as an excerpt on Reddit, exposes a meeting the Tesla CEO held in which he proposed using the car’s internal monitoring camera to record driver behavior behind the wheel in the hopes of disproving crash lawsuits as driver error.

Many automakers, particularly those with advanced driver aids (similar to those Tesla markets as “Autopilot” and “Full Self Driving”), use in-car cameras to monitor driver attentiveness and warn drivers if their eyes wander from the road for too long. Musk, according to Isaacson’s book, wanted to use these clips as evidence, initially without the driver’s knowledge. “At one meeting, he suggested using data collected from the car’s cameras – one of which is inside the car and focused on the driver – to prove when there was driver error.”

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Earlier this year a class action lawsuit was brought against Tesla when in-car camera images were shared “for the tasteless entertainment of Tesla employees.”

For now, I think I’ll stick to my old cars that don’t record me at all. At least until privacy law has been updated to prevent any company from receiving that in-cabin video without my express consent on a per-video basis. That would be real nice.

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