Paul van Gerven
22 October 2021

Tesla’s closely-guarded driving data has been decrypted for the first time, according to the Dutch national forensic lab. The Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI) says it found that a “wealth of information” that would be extremely valuable for “forensic investigators and traffic accident analysts”, for example to “help with a criminal investigation after a fatal traffic accident or an accident with injury.” The NFI has published a paper on how they managed to reverse engineer the vehicle logs.

Credit: Tesla

It was already known that Tesla vehicles store accident-related data in an Event Data Recorder (EDR), but not which data and how much. The NFI researchers found far more data on-board than expected. Among other things, the operations of Autopilot driver assistance system, speed, throttle position, steering wheel angle and break usage are stored. Comparisons with real-world data showed that the logs are “very accurate”. Tesla has remote access to data, which is also periodically uploaded for product improvement, but generally only shares it after a court order or at the request of a customer.