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Tesla FSD: Latest Update Able To Detect Cheating Devices Trying To Fool Autopilot

The beta version of the FSD autopilot (Full Self Driving) has led many - reckless - users to try to deceive the system so as not to meet the security requirements in order to continue driving safely. Tesla has now started to take action to prevent it.


Tesla's famous Autopilot Full Self Driving (FSD) continues to generate controversy in the US and in fact, around the world. Adding to the investigations of the NHTSA related to the supposed accidents caused by the system, it was necessary to also add the prohibition of this same institution of devices specifically designed to deceive the detection mechanism of the driver in the steering wheel.

Just as a reminder for those outside the USA, NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), is a US government organization that oversees the safety of drivers. In June 2018, the administration had to ban devices designed to fool the driver detection system that Tesla incorporates into the steering wheel of its vehicles.

To be more specific, the beta version of the autopilot or FSD system requires the driver to keep their hands on the wheel at all times, permanently. However, Tesla does not have a sensor that actually detects the presence of hands on the steering wheel, so instead it uses a pressure sensor that from time to time must be touched or pressed by the driver to keep the autopilot running. This in turn has led many system users to seek ways to deceive the pressure detector and thus not have to do it themselves repeatedly, time after time.

Tesla Model Y, Courtesy of Tesla Inc.

As we've already mentioned the NHTSA once had to ban some devices for sale that fit on the steering wheel and exert pressure on the sensor, in order to trick the FSD. Some of these mechanisms were even camouflaged in many different ways, i.e. as supports for mobile phones, although they were also very quickly forbidden. Other users were looking for more homemade methods, such as plastic bottles that exerted pressure on the steering wheel, and other things like that.

Now Teslascope, a company that specializes in the brand founded by Elon Musk, has reported that the latest update to the FSD system (v10.69.3.1) has the ability to detect certain systems specifically intended to cheat Autopilot. According to that information, when the new software detects that a deception mechanism is put in place, it forces the autopilot to automatically turn off, disconnect itself. From that moment on, the Autopilot cannot be used again until the next trip. This new functionality will be implemented progressively and will be adapted to whatever new deception methods that are detected.

Tesla Model X, courtesy of Tesla Inc.

With this move Tesla will try by all technological means that the beta version users of this complex system keep their full attention on driving, as well as to make sure that drivers can immediately take control of the steering wheel, if necessary. Not surprisingly, Autopilot FSD actually still needs a lot of development in order to become a fully reliable and safe driving system.

For that very purpose Tesla is also using the cabin-facing camera to monitor driver attention, sending different sorts of warnings to the driver whenever their eyes are not specifically focused on the road ahead.

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.


Amanda Mealer-… (not verified)    January 6, 2023 - 8:55AM

I have had this warning errantly activate on me. It didn’t cancel the autodrive function, but I am sure it would have eventually. Personally, I hate the way you have to turn the steering wheel every 20 seconds or so, because either I don’t turn it hard enough and get locked out of autodrive features for the rest of the drive, or I turn it too much which deactivates autodrive yourself. I read that the weight required to keep autodrive “happy” is approximately the weight of a man’s hand. This is obviously problematic for me, as a woman, whose weight must be well under what they use, because I can never keep autodrive engaged without constant peskering by the car (despite having my hands on the wheel).

JJ (not verified)    February 4, 2023 - 12:25AM

In reply to by Amanda Mealer-… (not verified)

It’s not just a woman’s weighted hand, bc the same thing happens to me. It annoyed me so much that I put a weight on the steering wheel. If this is handing out strikes that will disable AP for more than just the rest of the trip, they better get better at recognizing that our hands ARE on the wheel. Have to move slightly to register is already annoying. But the worst is when I still doesn’t register and disengages quite dramatically or just simply cancels it the rest of the drive.