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Old 18th January 2017, 10:36   #1
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Default Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

Hi guys, I came across this hilarious incident and I felt that it's worth a read

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It’s evident that Elon Musk takes pride in Tesla being the de facto disruptor in the auto industry, but even they still need keys.

Take the case of Ryan Negri, who shared his story on Instagram Sunday of how he found himself stranded out in Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon, six miles from home, when his phone lost cell reception.


It sounds bizarre, but it’s one of the Tesla’s big selling points. The company offers an app for iPhone and Android that allows for “keyless driving,” where all you need to do to drive the car is open the app and press the button. Unfortunately, Negri didn’t think to take his physical key with him, so he drove into the canyon and, before turning around to go home, decided to make some adjustments to his dogs’ car bed.

Unfortunately, when he stopped the car, he couldn’t start it again as the phone couldn’t connect to the car. The service depends on cellular connectivity to work, a slight oversight considering large areas of the U.S. lack cell reception. In the end, Negri had to get his wife, Amy, to run for two miles until she got cell service. The car also needs cell service, though, so Amy called a friend to retrieve the fob and bring it out.
Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!-screenshot_20170118102236_com.android.chrome_1484715197475.jpg

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The photo and its accompanying story was shared by “Internet of Shit,” a Twitter account that documents the worst gadgets in modern life that, for whatever reason, come with internet connectivity. This sparked a debate over whether Negri’s faux pas counts as a flaw on Tesla’s part. Lee Hutchinson, senior technology editor at Ars Technica, thought Tesla was in the clear on this one:

@AdamSinger @internetofshit @RyanNegri Sure, but “cellular start may not work if you have no cell service” is a pretty forgivable caveat.

— Lee Hutchinson (@Lee_Ars) January 14, 2017
Negri can be forgiven for thinking that his smartphone was a dependable alternative to carrying a key, and it’s a vision phone makers have expressed before. A do-all smartphone, so you don’t even need to carry your keys!

As Negri learned the hard way, we’re not quite there yet.
Source:INVERSE
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Old 18th January 2017, 11:38   #2
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Default re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

The problem with US is also the less and sparse population, especially once you move out of urban hubs.
So that, coupled with poor cellular network aggravated the problem in this case.
In India one may be inconvenienced because of the low penetration of mobile signals, but there is always a human being hanging around ...

Last edited by alpha1 : 18th January 2017 at 11:40.
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Old 19th January 2017, 10:00   #3
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

Sometimes, mechanical is just better .

While this may be an isolated incident, what about basements? Surely, there are many basement parking structures without network range.

Smartphones are the future for car access. Manufacturers should find a way for the car & owner's phone to communicate, even without network access. Should be damn easy, security considerations aside.
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Old 19th January 2017, 10:39   #4
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Smartphones are the future for car access. Manufacturers should find a way for the car & owner's phone to communicate, even without network access. Should be damn easy, security considerations aside.
I agree.

When the cell phone and car are just feet away, its ridiculous to expect them to use a cellular tower that's possibly miles away.

The cell phone is paired to the car via Bluetooth - why not use that as a fall-back mode to initiate the unlock? Bluetooth is designed for devices within a personal radius so is the ideal technology to use. Or if you want even closer distances to unlock, use NFC.

And even then, owners have to have a backup plan in mind - what if the phone's battery is drained, the phone damaged or lost. The answer is the same as the advice given for long journeys - carry the spare along, either in a hip pouch (travelling solo) or with another passenger.

That said, I can't sympathize much with the driver - if you want to use fancy new technology, its best to understand the limitations of said technology (RTFM) before blindly jumping onto the bandwagon.

This is as bad the people who decide to use GPS to navigate through a forest without any discussion with the forest ranger to get human intelligence, and end up on some tiny logging road that their low-clearance car cannot navigate.

But hey, this is tort-friendly US - there's a reasonable chance Tesla will have to pay some settlement for the driver being the nut between the steering and seat.

Last edited by arunphilip : 19th January 2017 at 10:45.
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Old 19th January 2017, 10:58   #5
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

Or take it to a whole different level like FF has promised for its upcoming car. They have built in Facial Recognition in the car itself!

http://jalopnik.com/this-is-faraday-...car-1790727023

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The FF ID makes you the key to the car, using Bluetooth and facial recognition to unlock the doors, which aslo continuously but “non-intrusively” learns about you.
It takes personalization to a whole new level. So as soon 'you' are detected, the interiors start adapting to your tastes and may be even the suspension, engine map changes to the settings configured by you as default!?

There is going to be a big learning curve for everyone of us going ahead
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Old 19th January 2017, 11:34   #6
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Sometimes, mechanical is just better .

While this may be an isolated incident, what about basements? Surely, there are many basement parking structures without network range.
I guess starting the car with Mobile App is supposed (designed) to be a backup option in case if someone forgets to carry the FOB and never a primary option for daily usage.

This guy seems to have intentionally not carried the FOB before understanding the limitations of the new technology as mentioned by "arunphilip".
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Old 19th January 2017, 19:01   #7
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

Fingerprint sensors are available on Phone today (I can store 5 prints).
I use it not only for unlocking the phone but ALSO to sign into Bank sites.

How difficult is it for hot shots like Tesla to use fingerprint access as fallback option?
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Old 19th January 2017, 20:26   #8
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

So when is this discussion going to veer towards the moral aspects of him making his wife run 2 kms, in a deserted area with no network?

We had seen incidents in the forum where the Hyundai keyless entry system left a member stranded, as the initial ones couldn't detect when the key was removed after starting the car. So an app based one is surely going to be trouble, at least till the initial niggles are sorted.
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Old 19th January 2017, 21:00   #9
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Fingerprint sensors are available on Phone today (I can store 5 prints).
I use it not only for unlocking the phone but ALSO to sign into Bank sites.

How difficult is it for hot shots like Tesla to use fingerprint access as fallback option?
Agreed. High time car makers implement this. It's not even expensive, as proved by iPhones and uncountable other smartphones.
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Old 19th January 2017, 21:21   #10
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

Can this also be the case with Mahindra e2O? It too has remote car start and the similar features. Anyone here knows if it works on cellular signals or direct peer to peer connection with car?

I guess the better way is to create a peer network and while being in some close proximity with car, use phones. Say things like Bluetooth/ RFID or something similar to Apple AirDrop that rides on a few combination of techs. Pretty small issues actually thinking technically and can be fixed with simple software upgrades if the basic hardwares are already in place!
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Old 19th January 2017, 23:07   #11
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

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Originally Posted by The Brutailer View Post
Agreed. High time car makers implement this. It's not even expensive, as proved by iPhones and uncountable other smartphones.
I guess it is very bad idea to use biometric data as security feature. You can never change your biometric identity if the information is ever compromised and it would have ripple effect on all other systems using same data. While in case of non biometric data like passwords, you can change at your whim if you even suspect any foul play.
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Old 20th January 2017, 11:16   #12
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

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Originally Posted by gupta_chd View Post
I guess it is very bad idea to use biometric data as security feature. You can never change your biometric identity if the information is ever compromised and it would have ripple effect on all other systems using same data. While in case of non biometric data like passwords, you can change at your whim if you even suspect any foul play.
Are you talking about a scenario where the thieves manage to spoof owner's fingerprints to gain access? And that once this is done then there is no way out, since one can't change his finger prints.
Shouldn't this already be a debate point while introducing banking access via phone's fingerprint sensor?

Last edited by alpha1 : 20th January 2017 at 11:19.
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Old 20th January 2017, 19:59   #13
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Are you talking about a scenario where the thieves manage to spoof owner's fingerprints to gain access? And that once this is done then there is no way out, since one can't change his finger prints.
Shouldn't this already be a debate point while introducing banking access via phone's fingerprint sensor?
You are correct and it will not be difficult at all. These days private companies like Reliance Jio are using the biometric data for aadhar authentication. Any Tom, dick or harry can easily store the fingerprint image on laptop for any user.

Once they are have the biometric image, they can gain access to any system using such authentication. It can be bought and sold on large scale. You may mark my words, biometric data theft will prove to be one of biggest frauds in financial history in the time to come if systems continue to evolve like this.

Experts have already warned government on private agencies gaining access to UID data for the user but no steps have been taken to stop/ avert the same by government.

When apple first came out with fingerprint authentication, similar apprehension was raised by experts all over but apple assured the image is only stored on processor chip and it is not possible to access that by any other program. But today , it is different case as it has become ubiquitous feature.

Edit: Sorry to digress from thread topic.

Last edited by gupta_chd : 20th January 2017 at 20:06.
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Old 21st January 2017, 09:17   #14
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

Anyone who understands technology will also understand its limitations :

1) It needs voice connectivity/internet to function.

2) It needs power to function.

3) It needs a safe environment to function correctly as desired (i.e safe from hackers or those who understand technology too much to the levels that they can bypass its safety constructs).

As far as a car goes, I'm happy with the key-locking and shall never upgrade to cars that come with massive tablet screens in the center hub and also connect to your phone, your credit cards, your e-wallets and what not. With this having come the day is not far away that the car comes with an NFC chip and all tolls/penalties can be docked with just a swipe at the door since the car computer has seamlessly merged with the phone and of course, a share of misuse will also follow.

Technology makes things easier, but also easier for failure. Non-tech procedures specially where security is in question, is fail-proof and fool-proof for the most part. This is my opinion.
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Old 21st January 2017, 10:45   #15
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Default Re: Tesla: Zero cellular network means owner can't start the car!

Can one not use an old fashioned Key to unlock a car? I guess once you are in, you are in business. Since the car start will be a local link. Someone trying to play the fool for all it is worth.
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