Elon Musk states the obvious: Tesla is not using its vehicles’ cameras to spy on China

Elon Musk addressed recent concerns about Tesla’s use of its cameras in its vehicles following a ban from the Chinese military. Last week, we reported on the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, issuing a notice banning Tesla owners from parking their vehicles on bases and in housing complexes. The concerns appeared to be related to Tesla’s […]

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Elon Musk addressed recent concerns about Tesla’s use of its cameras in its vehicles following a ban from the Chinese military.

Last week, we reported on the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military, issuing a notice banning Tesla owners from parking their vehicles on bases and in housing complexes.
The concerns appeared to be related to Tesla’s use of cameras all around its vehicles, which could be a security concern, depending on how the automaker collects data from them.
In a recent talk with Chinese quantum physicist Xue Qikun, Tesla CEO Elon Musk addressed the issue and unsurprisingly stated that Tesla is being careful with the data:

There’s a very strong incentive for us to be very confidential with any information. If Tesla used cars to spy in China or anywhere, we will get shut down.

As we reported last week, the situation was reminiscent of the US ban on products from China’s Huawei.
The CEO pled for more cooperation between the US and China without specifically talking about Tesla:

Even if there was spying, what would the other country learn and would it actually matter?

As for Tesla, the automaker is primarily using data from its camera to improve on its driver assist features, which it aims to eventually lead to a fully self-driving system.
Tesla gives the owners the option to accept sharing video data as part of its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving program.
The automaker needs to collect as much video from each market in order to feed its neural networks and train its self-driving system for each specific markets, which all have different road signs, markings, etc.
For that reason, in China, Tesla doesn’t have the same driver-assist features under its Autopilot and Full Self-Driving packagers available for that reason.
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