drivers left unable to start their cars after outage

Tesla drivers say they have been locked out of their cars after an outage struck the carmaker's app.

Dozens of owners posted on social media about seeing an error message on the mobile app that was preventing them from connecting to their vehicles.

@dimitrisk @rysiek @pluralistic
Ok, so some people are using hardware keys instead of apps for 2FA/MFA for silly services like twitch, but companies are telling us it's totally ok to use crappy apps and OSes you can not control for your car or house? Though I'm not sure I feel sorry for those car owners. What worries me is that in 10-15 years, you won't be able to buy and drive a car without Google or Apple account

Relying on a central authority to unlock your car is a really bad design idea... Time for people to start installing custom firmware?

@rysiek @pluralistic

@rysiek so the other day I learned that truck brakes work differently to car brakes.

Truck brakes are always on, and turn off when the truck is engaged. The default position they're trying to get back to mechanically is full braking.

That means whatever happens, any fault, it'll stop immediately. It's a hard won lesson in car mechanics designed to make people safe, and it's common across the industry because they learn from others

And it feels like Tesla refuses to learn from anyone else

@rysiek I realised this may have seemed a bit out of left field, but

Cars just don't come out of nowhere like Tesla think they do, and Tesla keep making mistakes that are generally solved in industry, exactly like this

We've had the "handles don't open and firemen can't pull people out the car", we've had "handles auto open at low speeds with enough force to open the rear doors", we've had "the central battery isn't accessible if the car doesn't have power". It's just mistake after mistake

@Eden yeah, as much as I don't like cars, their engineering is amazing and honed for decades.

This is what I mean when I say evolution is often better than revolution.

Thank you for sharing this!

@rysiek On evolutionary improvement:

There's a common perception that automobile safety has increased tremendously in the recent past, at a rate much greater than it did historically. This is false.

Other than the first decade of the mass automobile market (1910--1920), automobile safety, measured in deaths per passenger mile, has roughly doubled (that is, dealth/p-m halved), every 20 years.

The exception was the first decade, in which they halved in only 10 years.

Some of that improvement comes from auto design, though not all. Much comes from highway engineering, traffic laws, and related safety regulations (safety-belt requirements, stricter drink-driving laws, etc.), so there's some carry-over to older vehicles.

That's the red line in this plot:

Note also that distance travelled (and total deaths) tends to fall during recessions, world wars, and oil embargos / price spikes.


@dredmorbius @rysiek Absolutely! The safety involving a vehicle has to be a holistic improvement, although the discussion isn't just danger, but QoL to users.

Seat belts are a great one, as they are one of the few patented items that are now free to use across the industry due to how much they save lives.

There's also the use of roundabouts, which are finally taking hold in the US after decades of improving safety in the UK, and placement of non predatory speed cameras.

@dredmorbius @rysiek I'd love to see something similar happen for bucket seats, as they're more common in cars that have high fatality rates like the Toyota MR2.

Those cars are primarily fatal due to the high power to weight ratios and engine placement that absolutely fuck with a driver's expectation coming into that car. There's very little you can do about that without fundamentally changing how the car behaves.

@Eden How do bucket seats play into that?

They contribute to safety? Or deaths?


@efraim @dredmorbius @rysiek they contribute to safety but only when you're using a racing harness and have a rollcage (

And unfortunately if you're using a rollcage and you don't have a helmet, you now have the equivalent to a metal bat to the head sitting an inch from you at all times.

People don't throw on helmets that often to go to the shops. And because of how the car is setup, they're really easy to spin out on corners, which can lead to rolling.

@efraim @dredmorbius @rysiek so everything is really stacked against the driver.

Bucket seats help keep you safer, but also present a risk. Better industry standards for harnesses would help, so would improvements in rollcages that don't increase risk if you're not wearing a helmet.

@Eden This sounds like it's far more a matter of performance and fore/aft weight distribution than it is of bucket seats.

How would changing the seat design / type alone improve on this?

@efraim @rysiek

@Eden @dredmorbius @rysiek I love roundabouts!! I wish we had more of them in NA. Every time I visit EU I’m like “this is a no-brainer for nearly every intersection back home”… all the smaller side roads, and even plenty of main roads. I say this even having driven in Nice and Geneva during major festivals and stuff. It’s still better and keeps traffic flowing.

I liked this episode of 99% Invisible: "For the more than 30,000 fatal car crashes that happen each year, information gathered on the side of the road goes from the accident report form into a federal database: the Fatality Analysis Reporting System."
@rysiek @Eden

@dredmorbius @rysiek @Eden At least in the US, auto safety is overly focused on the safety inside the car and less outside of the car, which is part of why we have a trend of grills getting taller and cars getting heavier. Both of those are marginally safer for those inside, at the cost of the safety of everyone else nearby, especially pedestrians/motor-/bi-cyclists/small cars.

The DOT also doesn't suggest crosswalks until numerous ped injuries or evidence of significant x-ings across a road.

@edd @dredmorbius @rysiek absolutely! We're seeing this trend in the UK too that cars become larger and safer for passengers in an arms race against others.

It seems more of an issue of rugged individualism compared to care about society, which isn't just related to cars

@edd @dredmorbius @rysiek that said, UK roads are considerably safer than roads in the US, which is surprising.

Some of that is increased safety features in the road - excluding smart motorways which actually end up killing more people - and legislation that just wouldn't pass in the US like the depth of MOTs

@Eden @dredmorbius @rysiek Some of that might be narrower roads that make people drive more carefully. The US has some pretty wide roads, especially in rural areas.

@edd @dredmorbius @rysiek you need to come to Cornwall if you think it makes for safer driving. I think the local cabbies could take on rally drivers

@Eden @dredmorbius @rysiek Pass, driving on Ireland's backroads was terrifying enough 😅 Nothing wakes you up quite like a tractor cresting the hill you're driving up, spread from fieldstone fence to fieldstone fence.

@edd @dredmorbius @rysiek then you gotta hope the last passing place was close, and you're good at reversing (;

@Eden @edd @dredmorbius @rysiek

also CCTV, genuine enforcement of laws against speeding and DUI, and things like bollards in the road to narrow it, allow pedestrians to cross and discourage hooning (I counted 18 sets of these bollards just in my suburb on my drive from home to work or the supermarket)

@Eden @edd @dredmorbius @rysiek

a lot of the UK's traffic laws got beefed up in the 1990s, the driving test has been made progressively more difficult and since 1997 new drivers who commit more egregious traffic violations in first 2 years of driving (as few as just 2 incidents of speeding or 1 of using a mobile whilst driving or any DUI offence) get their licence revoked and have to retake their test - this does seem to have some effect on young drivers (also insurers insist on spy boxes)

@vfrmedia @edd @dredmorbius @rysiek I had to look up hooning, but that's going into daily use!

Bollards & speed bumps are genuinely a great way to enforce this. The amount of lowered cars who have to drive diagonally at 2mph to get over them is proof enough that they change driving behaviour

@edd @dredmorbius @rysiek Just adding more smart motorway things for our US friends who don't have them

the idea is great. If you break down in the fast lane, then we use lane signifiers to close that lane automatically, and ensure no one comes crashing into you.

in practice if you see an empty lane, and you like going fast, you're going to use that lane anyway. which just results in more crashes.

(Also we don't have laws about having a safety triangle & lights in cars yet)

@Eden @dredmorbius @rysiek I'm hesitant to go straight to blaming individualism. I think it's a mix of the consumerist "keeping up with the Joneses" and "bigger is better" on top of poor metrics. It's certainly possible fewer people would drive tall, heavy SUVs if their safety ratings were drastically lower due to being more lethal to other road users. Most people probably don't think beyond "it's rated high in safety" into what's actually measured.

@edd @dredmorbius @rysiek I do want to add to this, as my much more factually informed partner told me - bigger grills can be safer for car to pedestrian impacts because it changes the force to "sweep up" the pedestrian and carry them with the car instead of a blunt impact

@Eden @dredmorbius @rysiek This might be a US/UK difference. All the tall grills I see here are mostly flat walls that slam right into your chest. It might sweep me off my feet, but I think I'd rather take the knee damage and know I'm rolling over the hood than the risk of going under an SUV/pickup.

@rysiek @Eden It's typical of Musk. SpaceX has the same issues. The only reason they eventually succeeded is because NASA patiently poured money into them for a long time.

Triple redundancy is a thing in the aerospace industry, and SpaceX needed to be told that at the pointy end of a stick, I hear.

@jens @Eden Not surprising. I'd love some hard source on this for my files.

@rysiek @Eden Yeah, that's difficult for me to give you.

My wife works in the space industry, and used to work on a project that cooperates with NASA. We have friends still working there.

It's not exactly secret stuff, but also things that maybe my friends should not be quoted on.

@Eden @rysiek This was an issue when Volvo wanted to show off the new transmission in their FH16 trucks. They set up a stunt where a 750hp truck was to pull 750 (metric) tonnes, but that involved quite a number of trailers attached to each other in a train. Truck and trailer brakes are maintained closed by springs and forced open using compressed air, but in that case the line was so long the pressure drop meants the farthest trailers wouldn't open their brakes

@Eden @jkb a case of "system works as expected, user tried to use the system outside of the safety envelope."

@rysiek @jkb As all fun demos should be!

Like this one ( of a driver using their car in a reasonable but not forseen way.

@rysiek @Eden Haha exactly. They worked around the issue by adding an external compressor down the line and the 750 tonnes pull happened.

I certainly feel safe in the knowledge that the trucks I see on the road will come to a stop in case of failure instead of becoming battering rams that pack huge momentum.

And I think Tesla can eventually make great cars, but that would involve firing Elon first

@jkb @rysiek fully agree - they eventually will.

Hopefully they'll also learn about aesthetic car design by then. How is it that people can identify common features between almost any car brand except Tesla.

@Eden @rysiek Note that "fail-safe" brakes like this do come with downsides, e.g. it's impossible (or at least very difficult) to tow a vehicle if it loses power. Pneumatic train brakes are an interesting middle point in this regard

@Eden The same is true with train cars. There's a compressed air line running from the engine all the way to the last car and pressure through that line is what keeps the brakes from engaging. If something happens to that line, all the brakes engage

alas, fail-safe engineering is underrated these days

@rysiek Tesla seems to be at the forefront of this trend in the auto industry..especially the electric segment if the industry... to produce vehicles laden with expensive, complex, immature and poorly designed technology.

Why must we have "sexy" (sorry... S 3 X Y) vehicles foist upon us? Stop with all the garbage and produce affordable, reliable, safe and efficient electric transportation.

@msh @rysiek I agree! I'd love to have a simple car, 4 tires, couple of doors, basic sensory for motor and old and proven security features and no more. I don't even want air conditioning in the car.

@rysiek People are trying to computerise everything as if they hadn't ever had to deal with a computer error before.

@rysiek this is hilarious timing, as I was just saying to someone yesterday that it’s a matter of when, not if, all Tesla owners have their cars out of service because of their cloud connectivity. I honestly expect even worse, like malware hitting all Tesla vehicles at once. I’m actually surprised it hasn’t already happened (that I know of).

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