Tesla is in the news this morning over an alleged ban of its vehicles on Chinese military complexes, but here’s why it’s not really a big deal.
This morning, several news outlets are running with some versions of the headline: “Tesla is banned from Chinese military bases.”
Based on the headlines, you would think that the Chinese military considers Tesla vehicles to be ticking time bombs that could present a danger, but it’s much less ominous than that.
The news originates from a notice that The People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, issued on one of its bases asking Tesla owners to not park the vehicles on bases and in housing complexes:
There are concerns about the fact that Tesla vehicles are equipped with multiple cameras that record and send data back to Tesla to improve its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving system.
The military has rules about recording on its property, and those systems in Tesla vehicles could infringe upon them.
Obviously, the US had similar concerns about consumer products from China spying on them, such as the US ban on Huawei products or DJI recently being added to the US Entity List.
But more specifically relating to Tesla vehicles, when police departments in the US started looking at Tesla vehicles as potential patrol vehicles, they had some similar concerns about the implication of Tesla’s camera systems sharing data.
Tesla gives the owners the option to accept sharing video data as part of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving program.
Ultimately, one police department even worked with Tesla to use the cameras in Tesla vehicles for their patrol vehicles instead of using third-party cameras installed aftermarket.
But we do expect the issue of smart cameras controlled ultimately by Tesla to become a more complicated issue in the case of security in the months and years ahead. What do you think?
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