While Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that the automaker is implementing some narrow AI technology in its vehicles, primarily for the Autopilot program, he insists that it is not the kind of AI that could take over – a la Skynet.
But it doesn’t stop some parked Tesla vehicles from freaking out people around them by seemingly randomly flashing their lights in the dark.
A Tesla owner known as ‘Kushari’ on the Tesla subreddit posted a video of himself walking around in a Tesla Service Center parking lot while a bunch of unattended Tesla vehicles started flashing their headlights.
“I was just charging my car when I noticed a light. I looked closer and saw a car’s lights turned on and off. I thought someone was sitting in the car and was saying hi. Then I noticed that no one was in the car. And then other cars in the lot started doing the same. I’ve never seen this. Was kind of scary.”
Here’s the (kind of) scary video:
The leading theory right now is that the cars are becoming sentient and flashing their lights is so far the best way they have to communicate with each other.
Unfortunately for science, that’s not true. The actual leading theory is that the vehicles are updating.
Tesla vehicles have been known to randomly flash their lights when updating and there’s a persisting rumor, with some decent anecdotal evidence, that Tesla vehicles automatically receive updates when they are connected to the Wifi of a Tesla Service Center, which if true would explain why several cars are doing it at the same time here.
Though another instance of a Model S flashing its lights on its own has already been reported and not at a Tesla Service Center: