Tesla has finally taken steps to fight back against owners who disregard their warnings and disclaimers and use Autopilot cheat devices to trick the car into thinking their hands are on the wheel.
With the latest release of Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta, the car can now detect if you are using an Autopilot cheat device and initiate a forced Autopilot disengagement, resulting in a strike against your record.
Since Autopilot was introduced, if you did not have your hands on the steering wheel the car would remind (or nag) you to apply force so that it knows you are still there and paying attention.
Seeing an opportunity to make money, companies created small weighted devices that can be attached to the wheel that provide just enough force for the computer to think it is your hands that are on the wheel. When this happens, you don’t get nagged and can drive for hundreds of miles on Autopilot or FSD Beta without having to put your hands on the wheel.
Fast forward to this week and Elon Musk announced this week that FSD Beta was now available to all owners in North America who have purchased FSD capability. Based on what we’ve been told one of the big stumbling blocks to getting to a wide release of the self-driving software, other than the obvious, was having a way to ensure owners are being responsible and not using one of the multitude of cheat devices available for purchase on the internet.
Tesla has been able to figure this out and your car can now detect when at least some of these devices are being used. According to third-party software tracker Teslascope, this new code was added with the latest FSD Beta 10.69.3.1.
This information has been corroborated by Tesla Service employees.
Tesla obviously didn’t include this new ability in the release notes, and has not officially announced it is there, so we don’t know for sure how they are detecting these devices.
One possibility is that Tesla knows when your hands are off the wheel (no force), and they also know with a high level of confidence when your hands on the wheel (varying force). While a weighted cheat device can provide the necessary feedback to trick the computer, it behaves in a very different way than a human who can’t apply the exact same amount of pressure continuously.
We assume that Tesla has analyzed the data and the differences between force and no force, and when the computer is confident enough that a cheat device is being used, you get kicked out of Autopilot.
As noted by Teslascope, not all of the Autopilot cheat devices can be detected by this new code, for now. It is assumed Tesla will continue to analyze the data and the code will mature to be able to detect most, if not all cheat devices.
If you have one of these cheat devices, let us know in the comments below if you are still able to use it with FSD Beta 10.69.3.1.