tesla has special code for crash testing in its cars, and it’s raising red flags

It was discovered that Tesla has special codes in its vehicle software related to crash testing with auto safety agencies. It is raising red flags with those agencies.

Tesla has an incredible record when it comes to crash safety. Its electric vehicles have consistently achieved top safety ratings with auto safety agencies around the world.

Most recently, the Model Y has been getting a lot of accolades.

We previously reported on the Model Y acing its safety test with NHTSA and achieving the highest possible IIHS safety rating.

Last week, Euro NCAP and Australia’s ANCAP released their own testing results for the Tesla Model Y, and the electric vehicle achieved the highest Euro NCAP overall score under its new protocol.

But now, those results are put into question due to a strange finding in Tesla’s software.

Green, a well-known Tesla hacker who often finds interesting tidbits of information in Tesla’s software, reported that Tesla has been adding code that involves crash-testing agencies, including ANCAP and EuroNCAP, which just tested the Model Y:

Tesla just added ANCAP support in their code. This is in addition to already existing “I VISTA” (Chinese testing grounds), EuroNCAP and Korea NCAP

One wonders why do it (they also give testing houses one-off builds with the testing house in the name (with tweaked settings?) )

— green (@greentheonly) September 10, 2022

Green was able to confirm that Tesla has been giving “one-off builds” to crash-testing agencies and that the tweaks that the software code brings are “non-visible settings on the autopilot side.”

Crash-testing agencies do test for advanced driver assist features like Autopilot, and Green speculated that it possibly could be “to better conform to the test criteria.”

It is raising some red flags with safety agencies. An ANCAP spokesperson told Drive that it is looking into the situation:

We’re aware of the claims made on Twitter and are looking into it.

To be clear, there are no specific allegations of cheating here, but the special code related to crash testing does raise some questions, which Tesla is not answering, since it doesn’t have a media relations department.

The concern is that Tesla might be changing settings in its vehicles to optimize for the tests, which could be cheating. It’s not unlike what happened during the Dieselgate scandal when automakers were caught having software that detected when the vehicles were emission tested and optimized for better results than would happen outside of the lab.

While the special code doesn’t mean that Tesla is cheating, the automaker has some explaining to do.

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