It's not every day that you catch yourself accidentally driving somebody else's car.
According to the Washington Post, a weird bug is allowing Tesla owners to drive off with somebody else's Tesla by using the EV maker's bespoke smartphone app.
Owner Rajesh Randev told WaPo that earlier this month, he walked up to a nearly identical white Model 3 in Vancouver without realizing it wasn't his, used the app to unlock it, and drove around a bit before realizing that it wasn't, in fact, his car.
Randev said it took him about 15 minutes of driving the stranger's Tesla to realize something was amiss: there was a crack in the windshield that hadn't been there before, and a phone charger was missing from where he usually kept his.
It was around the time he noticed the missing charger cable that Randev said his phone buzzed, alerting him to a new text message from an unknown number.
"Do you drive a Tesla?" the unknown texter asked. Randev responded affirmatively, and the other person texted back that they thought he may be "driving the wrong car."
Understandably, the mix-up left him feeling pretty wigged out.
"It’s such an expensive technology," Randev, who works as an immigration consultant, told WaPo. "More than $70,000 to get this car. And my family is not feeling safe right now."
The other car was, per the report, owned by Mahmoud Esaeyh, who had let his brother Mohammed borrow the car while he was at home. The brother was, even more unsettlingly, able to get into Randev's car using Mahmoud's key card, and once he was inside, he realized that it wasn't the right one.
Fortunately, the bizarre story has a happy ending.
Esaeyh was able to track his car's location using the Tesla app, but unable to lock it remotely, the report notes. So, after finding Randev's phone number on some documents inside his car, the two brothers were able to get in contact with him and swap back cars, all while initially sharing a laugh about the incident.
"My friend, you were able to drive my car?" Randev asked Mohammed.
"Yes, it was very fun," the Esaeyh brother responded.
While this specific situation was handled amicably – Randev even got permission from Esaeyh to keep driving his car because he needed to pick his kids up from school — it's nevertheless another stark reminder that Tesla seems to have some glaring bugs to iron out in its software.
"If just a normal person was able to get access [to someone else’s car] due to malfunction or software or whatever reason..." he told the WaPo, "the hackers can do anything, right?"
To add insult to injury, Randev said that he got stonewalled when he tried to email Tesla about the situation.
"It’s very frustrating," he said. "I even tweeted [at CEO] Elon Musk."
Both men said they intend to keep driving their respective Teslas because of how much they save on gas, but they're nonetheless irked by the incident.
"I cannot throw the car away because I don’t feel safe about it," Esaeyh said. "But to be honest, it’s kind of scary sometimes. I’m afraid that thing may happen again."
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