An anonymous hacker claims they've uncovered a hidden mode within the code of Tesla vehicles equipped with the Full Self-Driving beta that allegedly allows for completely hands-free driving.
The hacker, who goes by the online handle "greentheonly," or "Green" for short, calls the secret driving feature "Elon Mode," but Tesla calls it something else internally, as the hacker later clarified in an interview with CNBC.
The hacker's findings, detailed across multiple threads on Twitter, could hint at upcoming new driver assistance features that could really push the boundaries of what's safe, in spite of widespread safety concerns over FSD and ongoing legal battles.
But it should be noted that it's still unclear why exactly the mode exists, or if Tesla is ever planning to make it more widely available.
When activated, "Elon Mode" introduces noticeable changes in how a Tesla running Full Self-Driving behaves on the road, according to Green. For one, it doesn't require the active attention of the driver.
The misleadingly named driver assistance feature, which costs a whopping $15,000 to activate, doesn't actually allow a Tesla to fully drive itself. It periodically requires drivers to move the steering wheel or keep their eyes on the road to confirm their alertness.
Annoyed customers have nicknamed this integral safety feature a "nag" — and apparently this secret mode disposes of it entirely.
Green uploaded footage of "Elon Mode" in action, titled "Look ma, no nags," showing a Tesla cruising down the highway without the alertness checks.
That isn't the only difference, though. Green observed the car driving less efficiently, too, noting in an extensive thread that it would unexpectedly slow down and randomly change lanes.
"I'd just plan for late arrival as much as possible" and ignore "the current very annoying deficiencies," the hacker wrote.
Danger On Wheels
Tesla owners may be chomping at the bit to get their hands on this version of FSD, but it's impossible to overlook the dangers posed by this version that completely eliminates what little human involvement its widely available versions require.
Tesla is already bogged down by controversy and investigations into the feature's safety and its misleading marketing. Anecdotally, many drivers have reported crashes caused by the system. Videos of those often circulate online.
In spite of these major concerns, Musk has reaffirmed his promise to deliver an FSD update without "nag" — and "Elon Mode" may be its nascent form.
For now, there's no way to know how many Teslas out there could already have "Elon Mode," Green told CNBC, "unless you work at Tesla, or otherwise have access to relevant databases at the company."
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