After having finished their exploit in a hotel room, @_p0ly_ and @vdehors successfully compromised the Tesla Model 3 infotainment through Bluetooth and elevated their privileges to root! Combined with the previous entry, this could have been a full chain to take over the car!
They shared this image of their Model 3 infotainment test rig:
Pwn2Own confirmed that it was a TOCTTOU exploit, which is described as:
Time-of-check-to-time-of-use (TOCTTOU – pronounced TOCK-too) is a file-based race condition that occurs when a resource is checked for a particular value, such as whether a file exists or not, and that value then changes before the resource is used, invalidating the results of the check.
The findings of these kinds of whitehat hacks are always shared with the companies in order to help make their products more secure.
As previously mentioned, Tesla has been investing heavily in cybersecurity.
We went into a lot of detail about Tesla’s cybersecurity effort in our report about “The Big Tesla Hack” when a hacker managed to get control over Tesla’s entire fleet.
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When it comes to charging, many owners charge their Teslas at home. But when you’re out on a road trip or you simply need to stop at Superchargers, there’s a way you can increase the speed of your charging experience, ultimately cutting down your costs for timed-use billing systems.
Above: Tesla vehicles at a Supercharger (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
No matter where you charge your Tesla, it’s worth noting how a given Supercharger bills you, if you’re hoping to save money. Tesla owners may stand to save a significant amount of money at stations billed by the minute, and making sure you head to V3 Superchargers can have you out of there in as little time as possible.
Read this week’s Tesla Pro Tip from Erwin Meyer at EVSpeedy.com below to learn how to save money at Superchargers by increasing your charging speeds.
Most people obey the in-car navigation instructions, but the Tesla Navigation is quite conservative with charging planning, ensuring that you never run out of any charge under any condition. To increase charging speeds and decrease costs, you can try to use Superchargers with about 10 percent of charge. You should also try to prioritize V3 chargers if possible. Then, you should be able to max out the charging rate at 250kw. This way you can add about 65 miles in 4 minutes, or 125 in 10 minutes. If your Supercharger is billed per minute, this will save you a lot of money.
You can find this and even more Tesla Pro Tips at EVSpeedy.com.
Tesla has become nearly debt-free in just two decades, a feat that’s unheard of in the auto industry’s more-than-century-old history. How the electric vehicle company was able to keep its debts low has created a new precedent for auto manufacturers, simultaneously putting pressure on some of the industry’s biggest names.
A recent analysis from Guru Focus demonstrates how the automaker’s example could set the new precedent for the auto industry, even as other companies still have huge debts to their lendors. While traditional automakers have relied on massive debts to produce and sell their capital-intensive products in their 100-year histories, Tesla’s business model has found it with high levels of cash flow and unprecedently low debt for the industry.
Guru Focus writer Matthew Cobb breaks down how Tesla’s debt compares to those of the two largest U.S. automakers, GM and Ford, showing that both of the legacy manufacturers are swimming in debt. Meanwhile, Tesla could pay off its remaining debt tomorrow if it wanted to.
Currently, Ford has a total long-term debt of $140 billion, while GM is right behind with $115 billion in the same category. Tesla, on the other hand, has just $5 billion in long-term debt, and plenty of cash to show for. In fact, the company has $22 billion in free cash flow, meaning that its cash minus debt gives it a $17 billion surplus.
To be sure, the auto industry requires high capital expenditures to some extent, largely due to the expensive materials involved, as well as labor and equipment for production. Automakers also need top-of-the-line research and development, which can be costly from an investment standpoint.
Cobb attributes Tesla’s low debts to a few different things, with the first being its sleek lineup of cars, innovative technology and its overall dedication to renewable energy and sustainability. Through this and CEO Elon Musk’s ability to create investor buzz on social media, Cobb points out how Tesla was able to go from startup to a soaring stock with newly high valuation around 2020.
Once Tesla became highly valued, the company gained access to equity funding instead of typical debt financing. This allowed Tesla to keep debts low, since equity financing doesn’t require the same path to repayment as debt financing. Tesla has since used its own equity funding to help keep its ongoing debts low, and especially on debts generated prior to the company’s stock takeoff.
With a market capitalization of $548 billion (compared to those of $48.23 billion and $50.93 billion for Ford and GM, respectively), Tesla has demonstrated its strength in financial management over the last 20 years. And with the emerging EV sector gaining more ground than ever before, it will be interesting to see how legacy automakers attempt to catch back up to Tesla’s dominance in the next 20.
Tesla has released a new software update activating its vision-based park assist feature, and videos are starting to roll in showing it in action.
In October of last year, Tesla abruptly decided to stop including ultrasonic sensors on Model 3 and Model Y vehicles. These ultrasonic sensors were used for short-range objects detection, particularly during low-speed maneuvers, like parking, to help drivers know how far they are from objects outside the car.
Tesla said at the time that it planned to move to a fully vision-based parking system, using the myriad cameras around its cars to estimate distances and provide park assist functions, without the added complexity of these additional ultrasonic sensors.
Since then, these vehicles have been delivered without sensors, but with no driver aids to help in parking. For these cars, Park Assist, Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon would not be available until a software update came along to enable them.
Now, just under six months later, these software efforts have finally borne fruit as Tesla has started rolling out vision-based park assist in its 2023.6.9 update. It should be available on cars now or soon, so check for software updates if you’ve been waiting for this feature.
The update notes state:
Tesla Vision Park Assist provides visual and audio alerts of surrounding objects. This feature uses the occupancy network to predict high-definition outlines of objects 360 degrees around the car.
Note: Tesla Vision Park Assist is for guidance purposes onlv and is not a substitute for an aware driver. Please be attentive and avoid obstacles as required.
The update does not seem to activate Autopark, Summon, or Smart Summon, yet merely brings back the lost functionality showing drivers how far they are from various objects while parking their car.
Videos have started to surface on social media showing drivers testing out the new functions in their garages and driveways, and results so far seem… a little inconsistent.
It seems to work reasonably well in some situations, showing roughly similar graphics as the vehicles with sensors, but with the added benefit of detecting objects all around the vehicle, instead of just in front or behind. One driver found the measurements to be quite accurate in a well-lit and straightforward parking lot:
Though the lines are quite wiggly, significantly more so than they are when using ultrasonics.
In other situations, the system still seems like it needs work. Here, a driver pulls between two cars and toward a trash can, before the system deactivates and states “park assist unavailable” when he gets close enough to actually need it. Then, he gets out to compare the car’s 26-inch approximation with reality, and eyeballing the distance, thinks that it’s closer to “three and a half, four feet”:
And here, another driver tries to use it with a bike rack attached to the rear of his Tesla, and the system continually detects the rack as an obstruction, repeatedly telling him to stop even though there’s plenty of room behind the car:
Well, it’s clear that the system still needs some work. Which, frankly, is not unexpected when it comes to Tesla’s history with similar things.
The same has happened here with ultrasonics, which caught several customers by surprise. Tesla has sold a lot of cars in the last six months, and I know of at least one who hadn’t heard the news of the missing ultrasonic sensors and was quite annoyed to realize he had just bought a vehicle without a relatively standard modern feature that he had expected his brand-new high-tech $53,000 car would have.
Tesla owners have gotten used to similar things happening, and often give the company slack because actions like these are balanced out by the benefit of over-the-air updates, which improve cars and add features over time.
But this is such a basic and expected feature on modern vehicles, and it has been estimated that these sensors cost about $114 per car. That’s a significant cost but certainly not a massive one, but we’re six months in and so far we’ve only seen one of the four missing features reactivated for the cars in question.
Further, the feature just doesn’t look ready for prime time yet. A feature like this doesn’t need to work 50% of the time, or even 99% of the time – it needs to work 100% of the time because any dings or scratches don’t just go away the next time you park, they stay there for good. If drivers are going to rely on it, and use it in place of their eyes, it needs to be reliable. And if drivers aren’t going to use it in place of their eyes – as Tesla currently recommends that they don’t – then why don’t they just use… their eyes? What’s the point of the sensor if it’s just replicating what your eyes see?
One benefit of ultrasonics is to provide additional confirmation of distance through something other than vision. As in the first embedded video above, the driver could already estimate distances with his eyes, but the ultrasonics would give him additional information that he doesn’t have visually. If the car is just estimating visually the same way the driver does that, then it’s not giving any new information.
This doesn’t mean the system can’t improve. Surely it can and it will have access to more advantageous angles than the driver’s eyes do, and be able to look all around the car at once instead of only in one direction at a time (as it already can). And in certain situations, it already seems to do a good job. But for now, the visualization doesn’t seem a lot better than eyeballing, which is disappointing six months after the feature was unceremoniously eliminated. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another six months for underwhelming results from Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon.
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Twitter is accepting applications for grey checkmarks representing government/multilateral organizations or government/multilateral officials. Below are the government organizations and individuals who may apply for Twitter’s grey checkmark.
Government Organizations – National Level
Main Executive Office Accounts
Agency Accounts overseeing specific areas of policy
Parliamentary—or equivalent—Institutional and Committee Accounts
Government Organizations – State/Local Level
Main Executive Office Accounts
Main Agency accounts overseeing crisis response
Eligible Government Individuals
Heads of State (i.e., Presidents, Monarchs or Prime Ministers)
Deputy Heads of State (i.e., Vice Presidents, Deputy Prime Ministers
National-Level cabinet members or equivalent
Main Official Spokesperson for the executive branch or equivalent
Individual Members of all chambers of supranational or national congress, parliament or equivalent
Twitter’s grey checkmark seems like the next verified accounts the social media company will focus on developing. On the same day it announced applications for the grey checkmark, Twitter relaunched the blue checkmark for users who want to be verified and gain access to features like an edit button, priority, and fewer ads.
The Lucid Air now comes standard with wireless Apple CarPlay. Android Auto is also compatible with the Air.
In July 2022, a Lucid Air was spotted testing Apply CarPlay—the first hint of the feature’s launch. At the time, Apple CarPlay was expected to launch in Lucid Air vehicles by late 2022. Now, every Lucid Air comes standard with Apple CarPlay.
“Say hello, to the smarter and safer way to use your iPhone in the Lucid Air,” noted the EV startup’s website. “Get directions, make phone calls, respond to text messages, enjoy your favorite music, and more—all on the Glass Cockpit display.”
Lucid’s Glass Cockpit display is a 34-inch, 5K floating screen. The screen is supposed to curve, “sweeping” around the driver. The Glass Cockpit display will show the driver essential information, including vehicle controls, driving details, navigation, and media. Lucid states that it also has a retractable Pilot Panel at the center of the console for “deeper-level controls.”
It will be interesting to see how well Apple CarPlay and Lucid’s Glass Cockpit work together. During WWDC 2022, Apple announced its next-gen CarPlay software intending to reinvent the in-car experience. One of the most significant changes coming to Apple CarPlay is the full integration of basic car functions like climate controls or radio tuning. Although, the Lucid Air’s built-in Alexa for in-car controls might conflict with the next-gen CarPlay’s capability to fully integrate basic car functions.
Apple’s next-gen CarPlay is expected to launch in late 2023, so the Lucid Air might be sporting the original version. The tech giant teased some auto brands that might launch the next-gen Apple CarPlay in vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Polestar, and Honda. Time will tell if Lucid will also fully utilize CarPlay’s capabilities.