Tesla to set up China database so drivers can access driving information

Tesla Inc. will develop a database that vehicle owners in China can use to access information generated by their electric cars.

The Palo Alto, California-based company plans to have the database up and running by later this year, according to a statement that didn't provide any other detail including whether the data will be available for free or what sort of driving details will be uploaded.

Tesla found itself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons last month in China after a highly public protest at the Shanghai Auto Show went viral. A customer who claimed the brakes failed in her Tesla, almost killing her father who was driving at the time, jumped on top of a display car, prompting a deeper investigation by a local market regulator and heated criticism of Tesla's customer service.

Days after the embarrassing event, Tesla released the data logs of the car in question. It had held out for several months but acquiesced after the regulator in Zhengzhou, Henan, where the crash occurred, ordered Tesla's branch there to unconditionally provide the woman with complete driving data for the 30 minutes before the incident.

The data showed that the Model 3 was traveling at 118.5 kilometers an hour (74 miles per hour) just before impact and slowed to around 48.5 kilometers an hour after the brakes were applied. The data also showed that the driver braked more than 40 times in the half-hour before the crash, and at multiple points the vehicle was traveling at more than 100 kilometers per hour.

China is separately considering new regulations that would require data collected by intelligent cars to be stored in the country, a move triggered by recent concerns that cameras in Tesla vehicles can be used for spying, people familiar with the matter said last month.

The draft regulation, open for public comment until May 15, proposes mandating that any information collected from a car's external cameras, such as location data or images of buildings or roads, be stored in China. Tesla's EVs were banned from Chinese military complexes and housing compounds in March because of concerns about sensitive data being collected by cameras and sensors built into the vehicles.

In an unrelated development, the China Association of Automobile Automakers last month said it was developing a free platform that will allow any carmakers to upload and store data on autonomous driving. That platform is optional and automakers don't have to participate.

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