Tesla Black Box?

FutureBoy

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So, I am still hearing various stories/analyses of the Texas crash a little while ago. One of the things that keep coming up is how the data log on the SD card was destroyed. It seems like it might be wise for Tesla to keep these SD cards in a "black box" similar to how airlines do it. If the box can survive a full-on airline crash, then it should be able to survive an auto crash. Even with a battery fire.

For those looking for downsides, the black box would add some extra weight but it really shouldn't be very much of an issue in a vehicle as compared to an airplane where weight is even more important. Also, maintenance or data checking of the SD card might be a little more difficult than without the box. But since there needs to be a data connection to save the data on the SD card, there ought to be a way to easily connect the SD card for data retrieval without removing it from the black box.

I think that given all the technology in a Tesla vehicle, there should be a black box that will ALWAYS survive a crash no matter what. The black box should protect ALL the data that would be important to have after an accident. Say full video from ALL the cameras for the previous 10 minutes and subsequent 10 minutes (or until the cameras stopped working). Plus preserve all the data logs from the same time period. Including what FSD or other automated driving systems are "thinking"/doing. And data from all other sensors in the vehicle.

There are so many Tesla cam videos out there that are soooooooo revealing when it comes to accidents that happen around Tesla vehicles. I'd really like accident investigators to always have the full set of data within minutes of extracting the black box.





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Bill906

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I've got an even better idea. Let's make the entire car out of what the black box is made of!!! 😁

Seriously though... How did Elon know that autopilot was not engaged? Does the car do an upload to the cloud? If it does, does it do this always? Or just when it detects a crash, like airbag deployment?

Then there's the debate of which is better, physical black box or data dump to an 'offsite' (off vehicle?) location. Blackboxes do not always survive, but I speculate they would for most crashes. Data dump over network won't work if the accident happens in an area without cell service. I would again speculate that most crashes will happen in an area with cell service. I suspect if a bad crash happens in a remote location neither will work. Remote location typically means slower response from first responders and fire trucks. The longer the black box is under extreme heat the lower the chances for it's survival. And of course remote location also means less likely for cell service.

Maybe when the airbags are deployed it also triggers a device that jettisons the memory card out of the car and the memory card has a bright orange parachute attached. Just make sure it's jettisoned at an angle so it doesn't come straight back down onto the burning car.

Thoughts?
 

akcoyote

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The idea of a crash/fire resistant box for the data recorder has merit.

I've got an even better idea. Let's make the entire car out of what the black box is made of!!! 😁

Seriously though... How did Elon know that autopilot was not engaged? Does the car do an upload to the cloud? If it does, does it do this always? Or just when it detects a crash, like airbag deployment?
If one bothers to read the actual info released about the car instead of the BS put forth by idiots, they would learn that the vehicle did NOT have FSD (owner did NOT purchase the option) and only basic driver assist functions. And in that location (no lane lines) only TACC (cruise control) not autosteer could have been active. Battery fires usually take a couple of minutes to burn into the passenger compartment, so the real question is why both occupants were unable to escape the vehicle. (intoxicated???)
 

Crissa

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There is a limited amount of data that is 'phoned home' when a Tesla connects to wifi or in the event of an accident.

But yes, the accident is fishy. This is what we know:

Battery fires are slow, because they're meant to be: The pack has a cooling system and intermediate foam which suppresses the reaction. The cabin has a firewall between it and the pack, keeping them separate. Batteries that catch fire can only heat up the next battery over, which limits the speed it can spread and grow. 'Instant fireball' is not a mode a Tesla can do.

The steering wheel seems to have been deformed, as if a weight (like a body) hit it.

Autopilot requires lane lines. No lane lines on that street.

The vehicle did not have FSD.

Cruise control requires seat belt to be buckled.

All the seat buckles were unbuckled.

In tests, Tesla cars would immediately begin regen braking when the buckle was un-buckled, dropping the speed significantly.

The only way to make cruise control go from 0 requires lowering it from 5, and holding the steering button down (like Consumer Reports detailed).

The SD card may or may not have been recovered by officials, just, Tesla doesn't have it.

And the reason recording boxes usually survive is because they're small, not because they're stronger than any other piece of the vehicle.

-Crissa
 

OneLapper

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I may be wrong but doesn't the Tesla store all the video on the SD cards?

Telemetry is on the "black box" / ECM.
 

firsttruck

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"All the seat buckles were unbuckled" is one of the most confusing parts for most people.

This needs to be clarified.

After the firefighters put the fire out they found "All the seat buckles were unbuckled".
It is currently unknown if the driver seat was buckled at the time of the crash.

The anti-Tesla people, FUDsters & trolls are using this time inaccuracy to sow doubt.
 
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FutureBoy

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If the vehicle truly had a black box (I hear on airplanes they are actually yellow and red) with all the video, telemetry, and sensor data, then it should have been a matter of hours before the full set of data was available to responders and probably Tesla. I wouldn’t expect the public to see that data within even weeks. But there should be next to no confusion for Tesla and responders about what happened within hours.

In this case it is pretty clear that this data was not easily available after the crash and possibly won’t ever be available.
 

HaulingAss

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"All the seat buckles were unbuckled" is one of the most confusing parts for most people.

This needs to be clarified.

After the firefighters put the fire out they found "All the seat buckles were unbuckled".
It is currently unknown if the driver seat was buckled at the time of the crash.

The anti-Tesla people, FUDsters & trolls are using this time inaccuracy to sow doubt.
I don't understand what uncertainty you are speaking of.

Because the driver's seatbelt was unbuckled, we know there was a person in the driver's seat. Because the car will not drive by itself without the seatbelt buckled.

Also, those people who are trying to point your attention to the data in the black box that may have burned are trying to distract you from the fact that every Tesla, when it senses a crash has just occured, immediately transmits key data over the LTE network about the status of the car, the force of the impact, etc.

And that is where Elon Musk got the information that Autopilot had not been engaged at the time of impact.

From all these facts we can conclude that the elected official who said they knew with "100% certainty" that no one was in the driver's seat at the moment of impact was incorrect and acting irresponsibly. He was not a trained investigator and I doubt he even had much if any law-enforcement training.

But the Tesla haters are going to try to keep this story alive any way they can.
 

HaulingAss

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Battery fires usually take a couple of minutes to burn into the passenger compartment, so the real question is why both occupants were unable to escape the vehicle. (intoxicated???)
When a car crashes into a thicket of trees, it's not uncommon for the doors to be held shut by the spring tension of all the green branches the car just crashed into.

Of course this was a very hot fire that left a burned-out circle devoid of vegetation around the car.

There is also a high likelihood that the car was initially hung up in the tree, nose pointing straight up. This is evidenced by the large fresh, white vertical scar in the bark extending 10 feet off the ground. It's also evidenced by the second 911 caller who said she saw a car burning "in a tree". It's very difficult to open a car door when gravity is fighting the door and it's blocked by green branches. But you might fall and/or climb down into the backseat to try the back doors.
 

HaulingAss

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If the vehicle truly had a black box (I hear on airplanes they are actually yellow and red) with all the video, telemetry, and sensor data, then it should have been a matter of hours before the full set of data was available to responders and probably Tesla. I wouldn’t expect the public to see that data within even weeks. But there should be next to no confusion for Tesla and responders about what happened within hours.

In this case it is pretty clear that this data was not easily available after the crash and possibly won’t ever be available.
The most important information was transmitted immediately, when the car crashed. We know this because Elon Musk saw the data logs and commented that they showed that Autopilot was not engaged at the time of the crash.
 

firsttruck

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Also, those people who are trying to point your attention to the data in the black box that may have burned are trying to distract you from the fact that every Tesla, when it senses a crash has just occured, immediately transmits key data over the LTE network about the status of the car, the force of the impact, etc.
How is car going to send all this info if the crash breaks the transmitter?

How is car going to send all this info if the crash breaks the antenna?

Do we even know where in the car all this comm stiff is mounted?

Even having info on conditions before the crash, unless a driven car is streaming over LTE every second in real-time it is very likely there are minutes or hours time gaps where old collected info was never transmitted.
 

Bill906

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Because the driver's seatbelt was unbuckled, we know there was a person in the driver's seat. Because the car will not drive by itself without the seatbelt buckled.
There is evidence to suggest someone was in the drivers seat but we don't know anything for certain. For example an unlikely but plausible explanation would be the front passenger pushed on the accelerator pedal with a stick.

Did the official report say there was no driver at the time of the crash? Or did they simply say there was no body found in the drivers seat and others had twisted that to say no one was driving.
 
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FutureBoy

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The most important information was transmitted immediately, when the car crashed. We know this because Elon Musk saw the data logs and commented that they showed that Autopilot was not engaged at the time of the crash.
Perhaps the data you think is the most important was delivered to Tesla. But all the questions about a driver could have been answered with the internal video of the driver. In this exact case that data would be critical. And the SD card needing to get sent to specialists to get data off of it indicates that not all the data considered important in this case was immediately available. And if that data cannot be retrieved then it will apparently never be available.

While it is important I’m sure from Tesla’s point of view to know that Autopilot was not engaged at the time, that does not provide a clear understanding of what DID occur. Clearly there is room for improvement in this area.

There is a robust model in airlines that could be implemented by Tesla that would set the standard for all other automakers. Being the first to implement would allow Tesla to define the specifications.
 

Bill906

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Tesla's would not be the first car to have an EDR (Event Data Recorder) aka black box.

https://www.hyperlube.com/blog/blog/does-my-car-have-a-black-box/

An excerpt from the website link above:

If your car is a model from this century, there’s a fair chance you do indeed, have a black box fitted somewhere within it. Black boxes have been in some of the major American car brands, like Buick, Chevy and Cadillac, since all the way back to 1994. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been using them to collect car accident data since early in the 2000s. If your car is from 2013 or later, you are almost guaranteed to have a black box. Less than 5 percent of new cars came without one in 2013, and they are mandated in all new vehicles since 2014.
 

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