Last month the Tesla Model Y excelled in European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) testing, achieving the highest score of any vehicle ever tested.
The results were quickly put into doubt after Tesla hacker @greentheonly said he found evidence of ANCAP (Australia’s version of Euro NCAP, which shared the same results) being added to Tesla’s software code.
Green speculated that Tesla could be tricking their software to perform differently during testing than a regular consumer vehicle would in the same situations.
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
The tweet caught the attention of Euro NCAP, which has conducted an investigation and so far found no evidence that Tesla attempted to cheat on their safety tests.
Euro NCAP program director Aled Williams confirmed the findings of their investigation in an email to CNN last week, adding they are still seeking more information from Tesla.
“The integrity of its star-rating scheme is of utmost importance to Euro NCAP and we will continue to do all we can to ensure the rating reflects the safety which consumers can expect from their vehicles,. So far, Euro NCAP’s investigations have not revealed any evidence of an attempt to ‘cheat’ the tests by Tesla,” Williams said.
Some of what they looked into was whether Tesla used geofencing to activate or deactivate a certain function at a particular location. Euro NCAP found no evidence of this during their investigation, and Tesla confirmed this in writing as well.
“It is possible that GPS location is used to identify that the car is at a specific test track,” Williams said. “It’s one of the possibilities we put to Tesla and they absolutely deny that this is done.”
As for the reason why there is an additional ANCAP code in the software, Williams said this is only used to identify how a vehicle is configured for a particular region.
“Different regions (such as Europe, Australasia etc.) differ in terms of legislation as well as road conditions/markings etc.. The recent addition of ANCAP to the code of Model Y coincides with the start of sales of that vehicle in Australasia,” he said.
Williams also noted that follow-up investigations like these are not uncommon, but that because Tesla was involved it was more high-profile than others. Euro NCAP will conduct more testing to see if they can replicate the results from the first tests.