Tesla Sends Model S Owner Detailed Log After “My Car Crashed Itself” Incident


A few days ago, we reported that a Utah County Model S owner claimed his Tesla Model S decided to take a joyride on its own, and crashed into the back of a trailer, via a report from KSL.

Tesla denied the owner’s claim, stating the following:

“Tesla has reviewed the vehicle’s logs, which show that the incident occurred as a result of the driver not being properly attentive to the vehicle’s surroundings while using the Summon feature or maintaining responsibility for safely controlling the vehicle at all times.” 

Tesla Model S Impacts Trailer (via KSL)

Tesla Model S Impacts Trailer (via KSL)

The Model S owner disputed Tesla’s claims, which prompted the automaker to send him a complete log of the events that led to the crash. Here’s a look at that log, via NBC News:

“The vehicle logs confirm that the automatic Summon feature was initiated by a double-press of the gear selector stalk button, shifting from Drive to Park and requesting Summon activation. The driver was alerted of the Summon activation with an audible chime and a pop-up message on the center touchscreen display.”

“At this time, the driver had the opportunity to cancel the action by pressing CANCEL on the center touchscreen display; however, the CANCEL button was not clicked by the driver.”

“In the next second, the brake pedal was released and two seconds later, the driver exited the vehicle. Three seconds after that, the driver’s door was closed, and another three seconds later, Summon activated pursuant to the driver’s double-press activation request.”

“Approximately five minutes, sixteen seconds after Summon activated, the vehicle’s driver’s-side front door was opened again.”

It’s hard to dispute the evidence, which comes directly from the car’s log.

Tesla issued a statement as well:

“Safety is a top priority at Tesla. We remain committed to ensuring our cars are among the absolute safest vehicles on today’s roads. It is paramount that our customers also exercise safe behavior when using our vehicles — including remaining alert and present when using the car’s autonomous features.”

Categories: Crashed EVs, Tesla

Tags: ,

Leave a Reply

90 Comments on "Tesla Sends Model S Owner Detailed Log After “My Car Crashed Itself” Incident"

newest oldest most voted

So it was a double tap of the stalk button. Im guessing his hazards didn’t flash for some reason like in the Kman video.

I’m guessing he was in a hurry for some reason, so preoccupied in his brain that he didn’t hear the warning sounds or see the flashing lights.
Humans! sheeesh!;-)

I suggest getting rid of the double-tap. Too easy for humans to mess up. Sequence needs a bit more complexity.

Triple tap for safety and no double tap at all.

How about “TESLA” in Morse code.

– . … .-.. .-

A shrill whistle and some hay….

You can’t triple tap a double tap!!!

I TRIPLE tap dare you!

No erasies! (or in this case, no stopsies)

Yes, it should be triple tap, and press screen to CONFIRM, not CANCEL. You would have thought the engineers would have seen this scenario when developing the software.

It’s possible that a court would agree that the cancel message is insufficient warning for an inadvertent double tap of the selector. This would be an easy software fix to make it foolproof.

It simply should not be double or triple or quadruple taps or whatnot.
Humans are terribly bad at counting taps. You just need to watch how many people are confused between single and double clicks on computers to see the problem. And that’s when people actually focus on the computer.

Since pressing once is park and forget (which people are very used to),
having a 2-press on the same control to activate summon, with no other action and no dead-man stick is a fatal ergonomics mistake.

I think Tesla need to change their ergonomics for this feature.

If Tesla keeps the double tap on the park button, it seems like a bad design to have a cancel button on the center screen, instead of a confirm button that would timeout if not pressed within a set amount of time.

I think that is better, but knowing humans we could find a way to screw up anything.

sven, your comment is based upon an incorrect assumption. What you suggest is only a problem if the car would actually start moving while you are still in it.

It will not. It only starts moving once you exit the vehicle and close the door.

Once you have exited the vehicle and closed the door, it does not matter whether the cancel is on the stalk or on the center screen. At that point the cancel has to be done from outside the car.

I was referring to a situation where the owner forgets he double tapped activating Autopark (i.e.: driver gets a phone call after double tapping, but while still in the car). Upon the “forgetful” owner exiting the car and closing the door, the car will start moving. If the owner is walking away, not looking at the the car, he will not notice the car is moving. If he does notice the car moving, then in a panic he must do one of the following to stop the moving (Summoned) car: – dig into his/her pocket/purse to find and retrieve the key fob and fumble with it to press a button to stop the car – dig into his pocket/purse to find and retrieve a smartphone, possibly punch in an unlock code, open the Tesla app, and hit a button to stop the car – run back to the car and pres a door handle to stop the car being Summoned – run back to the car and jump into the path of the car to get it to stop. A confirm button (whether it times-out or not) might avoid the situation of a distracted owner forgetting he double tapped the… Read more »

Double tap is fine, they just should make the prompt a confirm prompt not a cancel prompt. It is easy to double click the park button on the stalk by accident. Touching a confirm prompt that is only up for a minute or two by accident is not easy. Tesla also can prove some of the events like door open, door close, time of events, but probably not that the flasher actually flashed (could show that action was triggered but can’t prove it happened) or the audible alarm actually sounded. The self driving AI should not allow running into stationary objects, period. The owner shares responsibility but if he contacted them discretely about the issue, they should have worked with him to resolve it and not throw it back on him 100% even if they adamantly believe it is 100% the driver’s fault. Penny wise and pound foolish, IMO.

It should not be a double-tap. It should be a more deliberate press and hold (for 3 seconds or something), with chime (or audio message “summon activated”) and a visual message on-screen, and then perhaps one more tap to confirm (or tap on a button on-screen).

It would hard to press-and-hold 3 seconds and then confirm by mistake.

A confirm tap on the screen after is enough, IMO.

The moment some injuries and deaths come to pour in, wtth suspicions of self-driving system being held responsible for such outcomes, all those promoting and introducing them will immediately be outcast. Human body is often not possible to repair, nor is it possible the human life to retrieve. Entrusting people’s lives into hands of some autonomous machinery – that is more than prone to failures – borders with insanity, not some well-intended doing. All stinky self-driving systems to be discarded at once. End of discussion.

Ever flown in a commercial airliner?

Please take some time to read this :


..and see how fast things are changing and how machines will soon be much much much more reliable than humans.

If you want a fair comparison, go talk with any random firefighter or cop about the human factor behind the wheel. The extremely rare occurrence of autonomous vehicles causing human injury/death compared to the DAILY human injury/death caused by humans who are drunk, texting, tired, old, inexperienced, etc. isn’t even close. I laugh how folks seize exceptions as if they’re the norm. Last summer we had a 90-year old man drive his car through a house and killed 2 small children. The total vetting process for drivers is a whole 1-time driving test in the course of their entire lives.

Piss in the wind much? Change is coming whether you like it or not. There are plenty of human caused traffic fatalities every singe day. A <5mph summon feature is unlikely to kill anyone even if they could suspend themselves in the air so the current iteration of the feature doesn't see them.

Even though Tesla summon only drives <5 mph won't kill any independent adult, it can and will kill disabled people, toddlers, and elderly people who can't move out of the way.

It is a deadly weakness and it is why summon should always be performed under supervision of the user.
Even though the car can move on it's own, it cannot drive on it's own.

I wonder what Utah County Model S owner has to stay now?

So Tesla’s “safe autonomous” car will run into enormous tractor trailers unless you press the right button? I probably don’t understand the summon feature, but thought the car was supposed to come to you. What’s the point of the feature if you have to be “alert and present”? If present, wouldn’t it be simpler to just get into the car?

I want to see autonomous technologies succeed, and if Tesla does as well they should take more care to prevent these scenarios, it only takes one person getting hurt, to severely damage the reputation of the technology as a whole.

Agreed, but there is still missing a sensor for objects above the hood.

You mean like this fail from Volvo (allegedly the safest car company)

The demo ghost strikes again!


Interesting. Anyone want to try to duplicate “Trailergate” with their Model S?

This was an idiotic salesman, not a self driving car. The idiot thought the volvo would autobreak when coming near an obstacle. The assumption was correct except that FULL throttle overrules the autobreaking, because otherwise you would hve no way to use your car to take out an armed evil guy. 😉

It’s more a case of ‘if you don’t press the wrong button’ but yeah, generally though this technology’s ultimate test bed is letting the public use it in a beta state.

I’m confused, why would a summon feature be activatable from inside the vehicle? Would you not just drive to where you need instead of getting back out then watching your car crawl along? Seems a little pointless.

Yes. I don’t understand it either.

tight parking spaces? drive it into a very tight garage or trailer? entertainment factor of showing it to a friend?

I believe it was “auto park” like what was shown in the Kman video. So if you have a tight garage, you can park outside, initiate auto park, leave the vehicle, and it will pull into the garage.

Then why does Tesla call it “Summons”. So you Summons your car by pushing a button in the car twice? Makes no sense.

As i understand it this is the way you ACTIVATE the feature. Then you still have to INITIATE the process from the outside w app or fob.

That is incorrect. Autopark automatically initiates Summon after you exit the vehicle.

Per Tesla:
“New Activation Mode for Summon”
“Summon has a new mode that requires you to press and hold a button in the Tesla mobile app to operate the feature. This mode is enabled by default.”

“You can disable this mode by selecting NO for the REQUIRE CONTINUOUS PRESS setting. When you do so, more convenient ways to park and retrieve your vehicle become available:”

“- Automatically initiate Autopark after you exit the vehicle: Simply double-press the Park button on the end of the gear selector and a pop-up will appear on the touchscreen that displays the direction Model S will move after you exit the vehicle.”


When Summon is activated by the key fob (presumably outside the car) Tesla calls this Summon. When you double press the park button inside the car to activate Summon, Tesla calls this Autopark, not Summon. Autopark is just Summon activated by the park button inside the car, which then automatically initiates Summon after you exit the vehicle. To add to the confusion, Autopark is also the name of the feature that autonomously parallel parks your car.

I would like to know what exactly is written in those logs, how they are kept (encrypted?, in the car only or on Tesla’s servers), and how/under what policy one can access them?

I agree. I am creeped out by how much they know about our driving at any second.. I don’t trust companies with my data

i agree, i think that it was really creepy that tesla can pull information about your personal driving habits without your permission. information about where you go and when you go there is highly valuable and can be mined and sold. that’s why i passed on the free on-star activation when i bought my Volt.

good luck ever buying anything online or signing up to any websites if you don’t trust people with data

Not creepy at all. Why do you care? I’ve driven my cars for over 1,000 days and I couldn’t care if someone was keeping track of every single little thing I do in the car (besides camera recording of course)

Its great for safety purposes, just like this.

Agreed. It seems Tesla feel they can release customer driving logs at will. Anyone who owns a Tesla and has a bad day can expect to be publicly humiliated by Tesla.

It’s also disturbing that they have an “automatic” summons feature that will crash the car if it isn’t babysat. What is the point of such a feature?

It was intentionally designed to humiliate and confuse you. Clearly, you should not own a Tesla.

That ordered list of events would also have speed, GPS coordinates, and VIN information that can be tied to an owner.

You’ve never, ever done something stupid behind the wheel?

If the answer is no, then you’re either not human or you’re a liar.

They released these particular logs because they have a reputation to uphold when they’re being slanderously accused of it being anything other than human error

So anyone’s driving logs are public information if Tesla decide their reputation is potentially harmed?

How about the government? Shall we let the NSA release private individual’s phone GPS records any time that person slanders the government?

How is such a policy in any way acceptable in a free society?

My understanding is they are on the vehicle. But Tesla can go “pull” them in certain circumstances, akin to the black box on an airplane.

While there is valid privacy concerns, for understanding complex events and improving the vehicles it is an outstanding feature.

I would like Tesla to state clearly where the logs are, and how long they are kept.

Also, do they seek the authorisation of the car owner before reading the logs? Releasing them to a 3rd party?

Logs are simply an ordered
List of Events. There is no personal information contained within them, so no permission is required by law to paraphrase the details of such, for the sake of bringing empirical clarity to a dispute.

there is also GPS information, which identifies vehicle location. there is a wealth of information that can be retrieved from that car. i consider where i go and when i go there to be personal information.

Agreed; however, I’m afraid that the law probably does not.

if you’re referring to the 4th amendment, that only applies to the government, not to private corporations. then again, the supreme court has so gutted the 4th amendment that it doesn’t mean much anymore.

Automotive Event Data Recorders (AKA “black boxes”) are in the vast majority of all cars now built (90+%). They have been around for years.

Please tell me this isn’t the first time some of you guys are first hearing about this?!?!?

No, Tesla didn’t suddenly become the first car maker who datalogs collisions, just like this collision. This is normal and standard for the automotive industry. It is likely being done in the car you drive right now (unless you have some old beater).

But other car makers’ black boxes record a minute or couple of minutes of info that gets constantly overwritten, while Tesla records and saves data from every second you drive for an unknown length of time.

If on that fateful night of June 12, 1994, OJ was driving a Model X from the future that he got via his Hot Tub Time Machine, we would know the second-by-second whereabouts of his key fob and Model X that night.

Likewise, Onstar also records your car’s data and tracks it’s location. And a non-connected GPS headunit collects location info of where your car has traveled. Likewise, your cell phone’s location is tracked and stored.

So if you’re going to commit a crime or cheat on you spouse, or get into a deadly accident on account of your reckless driving, don’t drive a Tesla or Onsat or carry a cell phone. You are being tracked and recorded. Prosecutors and divorce lawyers will use that info against you at trail.

let me put it this way: it’s one thing to have an on-board data recorder that has limited memory and that can be retrieved and analyzed. in that case, as long as you control the car, you control access to the data. it’s another thing altogether if you have a device that transmits data to third parties at any time without your knowledge.

this kind of feature has been used for years by car rental companies to track where renters are taking their cars. but in that instance, at least the rental company owns the car.

insurance companies have also begun using this kind of feature with private automobiles in exchange for lower insurance rates…no thanks, i’ll pay a higher rate and shop around to other companies to maintain my privacy as to where i go and when i go there.

Autonomous driving is the next 3D TV IMO,

Driverless trains yes, Anti Collision, sure if they can get it to work.

A nice gimmick but I would rather they focus efforts in improving battery tech and QC infrastructure in the industry than this to stop all those stinky trucks & buses from polluting everywhere,

It’s only my opinion of course !

I can’t really understand how anyone would view it like that. The stuff being mislabeled autonomous today, I agree. It’s pointless and I imagine *more* stressful to have the car drive when you are still responsible and have to monitor it. But there’s little doubt the cars will become much better drivers than we are, and then it would be stupid to disallow them. Eventually I think the opposite will be the case and we won’t be allowed to drive cars manually on public roads – or if we are, the car will be monitoring us and intervening if it seems it necessary. But once the cars drive themselves everything will change. It won’t make sense for me and everyone else in my building and neighborhood to own a car each. Instead we will have access to a fleet and choose a vehicle that suits each trip and our mood. A shared ride to work with others living and working near me. A cabriolet for me and my date a sunny summer day. A van for furniture shopping. A minibus for a family trip. All at a lower cost than owning a car and without ever having to park a… Read more »

Living in the snow belt of New York I truly wonder how an autonomous car is going to be able to distinguish the white road from white landscape. Radar can see vehicles or objects in the road but what is going to see the winding road. Cameras will be useless. I doubt there will ever be an autonomous program for every situation. Not disputing it for most situations just not all. I had an accident where I slid through a stop sign on black ice going down a hill. What computer program is going to see black ice. Only a human being warned about black ice and overriding the autonomous drive would avoid an accident.

“Cameras will be useless.”

What do you use in such a case? Your eyes I presume? Eyes are just biological cameras.

What’s the difference? It is the intelligence behind the eyes/cameras. And in case of computer intelligence, things are moving fast.

People that are still convinced that computers will never be as intelligent as humans will be in for a surprise.

Image recognition is improving, but the human brain is still light-years ahead of computer algorithms when it comes to image recognition.

What you’ll find is that major roads will probably end up having embedded markers (either passive or active) that will allow sensors on the vehicle to determine the road location in situations of snow cover or poor visibility.

“I had an accident where I slid through a stop sign on black ice going down a hill”

Ok, so you, human, failed. How could an autonomous drive system do worse?

“Only a human being warned about black ice”

Another obvious case where there is no difference. What is a warning? Information.

If there is one thing that excels at storing, retrieving and processing information it is a computer.

There are weather services in The Netherlands that make detailed predictions of where there is risk of freezing and where they need to salt the road. That data can be fed into the autonomous drive system which will not go like: “oops I forgot to watch the weather forecast last night.”

Crowdsourced data about where black ice is likely to occur will be part of the data set an autonomous car uses to control the vehicle, so it will know better than any driver could. Further, the cars will know where deer are likely to cross, where the pavement is loose, and even where recent potholes are. I’d expect even most quiet residential streets to average over 100 updates a day.

All it takes is a statistical analysis of ABS, traction control, suspension travel, and other sensor readings from a fleet of cars traveling on public roads to make drivers not only obsolete, but a public safety hazard.

The only place a driver will have better control will be on private tracks where sensorless cars aren’t permitted. Because even while in manual mode, cars are likely to be collecting safety data.

I don’t disagree with Autonomous cars, just don’t see it as important as EV battery technology and getting people out of polluting cars & trucks at this point is all,

Like I said, it’s just my opinion and many will not agree.

That’s what concerns me. I just get flashbacks from “I, Robot” every time I read about this rabid push for autonomous vehicles by the industry.

Great movie, by the way – I’ll have to read Asimov’s book sometime, on which the movie was based. I really like Will Smith’s serious films (I, Robot; Enemy of the State).

Again, why couldn’t the car see the trailer it was about to hit, whether or not the driver was observing it? It looks like sensors need to be added near the top of the car, to supplement those at bumper-level. A human driver would have known what was about to happen.

It’s not a big deal, just one step on the learning curve towards autonomous cars. Tesla will probably consider it a lesson learned and move on.

I agree. Top sensors front and rear, since the car can be summoned in reverse.

Yeah, the car shouldn’t run into anything when nobody is in the driver seat.

Though I think it’s Tesla’s fault for the vehicle not being able to see a bigass trailer in front of it, I hope this is a big learning step for them and all other manufacturers to take note and ADAPT!

Btw the car moves about two car lengths. We would have to presume the trailer platform was already there. The guy parked behind it then.
should have put the wheels to the curb.

which is actually illegal in some places

plus Summon/Autopark will just straighten them out

If you aren’t new to Tesla, you now know to take “beta” seriously. To take rear hatches that climb up to 7’3″ seriously. To employ autopilot with abundant caution. FWDoors? To trust that the parking sensors sometimes get closer than indicated.

On my first Model S, I also discovered there was no secondary catch to the front hood. As me how I found that out? -They stopped coming that way, a long time ago.

I still quickly got to a symbiotic relationship with features I wouldn’t want to give up.

Pardon is previously posted.

Tesla Accident-Car Summoned into Semi Trailer— How It Most Likely Happened!


Unrelated to Auto Park, or to Summons, this driver was still parked on the wrong side of the street, pointed the wrong direction.

Also, what if a Semi Cab or Tractor came to pick up the load? Was the Tesla parked so far away as to give the freight company access to their vehicle, without being an obstacle, the self?

See the other car, to the right of the photo – it is parked on the correct side of the street, and pointed in the right direction, and is a decent space behind the trailer, and its load!

Too bad the owner did not get a picture of the car as parked, before Auto Park actions began!

I saw this guy on the news in DC, complaining about Tesla, I don’t get it what he wants a new P90D?

Tesla said: “Safety is a top priority at Tesla. We remain committed to ensuring our cars are among the absolute safest vehicles on today’s roads.” I disagree with Tesla. Tesla rolled out this new Autopark activation for Summon in the update after the Consumer Reports story. To address the safety concerns raised by Consumer Reports, this update added a “hold down” function (dead man switch) to the smartphone app, while the key fob didn’t get a “hold down” function. So Telsa added Autopark, a third way (mode) to use the Summons function, which like the key fob method doesn’t have a “hold down” function for safety. The newly added Autopark is actually more unsafe than using the key fob, because Summons starts automatically after you exit the car, there is no “dead man” switch, and you don’t have the key fob or smartphone in your hand to suddenly stop it if need be. But it can be stopped by pressing the door handle, or (hopefully) by jumping into the car’s path. But get this. To use Autopark you must disable the “hold down” safety function in the smartphone app!!! So in response to the Consumer Reports story, Tesla updated the… Read more »

Yep, with all that they’ve done well, this combination of features has EPIC FAIL written all over it. Absolutely no fail-safes or deadman settings, or apparently, not even a way for the car to “see” where it’s going?!? Fools.

I don’t know who’s responsible for what. But geez, a black Model S, with tinted windows and blacked out rims. And in Utah County, where it easily gets to 115 in the summer (believe me, I know). This has wealthy kid douchebag written all over it.

From the description, I agree with some of the comments here that Tesla should modify the Summon/auto park features that after double tap, it should ask the owners to confirm first before activation. If no confirmation, it should auto disable the feature.

People are often distracted or forgetful or make mistakes.

Features like this should be “idiot proof”.

Also, if the feature is activated, maybe using the windshield mounted camera along with low mounted sensors is also a good thing?

Regardless of double tap, quadruple tap, or whatever, the car should not crash into other object, this is a failure from Tesla. What a shame!

Even if the log is exactly what happened, it just reveals the tremendous stupidity for Tesla not sensing obstructions correctly and relying on users to babysit the car (to cancel in time) while using its autonomous feature. I mean, seriously?

i’m not so sure that yours is a fair criticism of tesla. looking at the photo, the “obstruction” is windshield height. that is a pretty high obstruction given that the obvious place to check for obstructions is bumper height and lower.