Today the internet is buzzing with talk of a curiously chilling TikTok video showing a Tesla vehicle seemingly detecting a ghostly presence in a cemetery. The mystery has even piqued the interest of noted academic, Dr. Chetsada Denduangboripant, from the esteemed Department of Biology at Chulalongkorn University. However, instead of attributing these findings to the supernatural, the good doctor proposes that the ghostly figure might simply be the result of a flaw in the vehicle’s sensor systems or software.
The video currently taking social media by storm was shared by TikTok user @aunnyc. In the footage, we see her navigating through a graveyard in her technologically advanced Tesla electric car. The built-in Tesla Vision system, engineered to detect and dodge obstacles, registered the appearance of a humanoid figure looming close to the vehicle. An unsurprisingly alarmed @aunnyc clarified that no one else was present at the location, ensuring viewers that the video was not planned or staged.
As it turns out, this isn’t a standalone incident. Dr. Chetsada cites numerous similar incidences worldwide, especially from the United States, where Tesla’s popularity is soaring. Reports and videos of the electric vehicle recognizing non-existent humanoid figures are increasingly common. Some spirited Tesla owners, seeking a brush with the paranormal, are even taking their vehicle for ghost hunting tours in graveyards and other eerie locales.
To logically consider the situation, setting aside beliefs of spirits haunting cemeteries and Teslas having paranormal sight, the issue could lie with the vehicle’s Tesla Vision system. This system utilizes an intricate network of eight cameras and twelve ultrasonic sensors. Misfunctioning hardware or flawed software could be the potential culprits behind these erroneous detections.
The most grounded explanation is a ‘false positive,’ a common phenomenon in the tech space where the system erroneously detects a non-existent obstacle. Perhaps, the vehicle’s sensors picked up on innocuous objects such as flowers, bushes, or tombstones and wrongfully processed them as hazardous hurdles. Tesla’s collision avoidance mechanism collaborates sensor and camera data to assess its surroundings. This data is then presented on the vehicle’s display as graphical representations and not literal video footage, creating a sizable room for glitches like tombstones being misinterpreted as pedestrians.
In the owner’s manual, Tesla does caution users about the occasional inefficiency or malfunction of the collision avoidance setup. Various factors can diminish its effectiveness, inducing unnecessary collision alarms, bogus alerts, or misreadings. From a safety standpoint, it is preferential for a self-driving vehicle like Tesla to register a ‘false positive’ rather than a ‘false negative,’ where the system fails to identify a real obstructing object.
The advantage of false positives, however, has limitations. Sudden braking, as a response to these incorrect alerts, can make way for perilous circumstances, potentially resulting in accidents. Tesla has even encountered legal trouble in Illinois, USA, for a similar situation. A user sued the company claiming that a malfunction triggered a false front collision warning, thus putting the vehicle at risk for a possible accident. To tackle this issue, Tesla has gone to the extent of recalling models that were overtly sensitive and prone to frequent false braking incidents.
All Tesla owners who encounter these odd ghost detections should without delay take their vehicle for inspection at a service center. A system reboot of the autopilot software can sometimes rectify errors. Several models, such as Model X and Model S, can be rebooted by simply pressing the scroll wheels on the steering wheel. This will switch off the car’s touch screen and commence a restart within seconds.
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