Tesla Autopilot bug inspires Burger King to run ad giving away free Whoppers

A bug in Tesla's new road-sign recognition software triggered this one-day viral ad campaign.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

Maybe this guy's Tesla is trying to tell him something.

Burger King via Twitter

It's a pain when you buy something and it doesn't work like it's supposed to. However, sometimes a product malfunction can turn out to be a feature that you didn't know you wanted. That might've been the case with a special one-day promotion by fast-food chain Burger King and its #AutopilotWhopper campaign. The plan? To give free burgers to owners of what it calls "smart cars."

The whole thing seems to have come about when a Tesla driver (with a questionably modified steering wheel) reported that his electric car's Autopilot system was repeatedly confusing a Burger King roadside sign with a stoplight. He posted a video of the phenomenon to Twitter , and Burger King's ad agency picked up on it.

So, how did this whole thing work? According to Burger King, you brought your "smart car" (as opposed to a Smart car) to a Burger King location, took a photo or a video and posted it to Twitter using the hashtags #autopilotwhopper and #freewhopper. BK then then DM'd you a code for a free Whopper via the Burger King app.

What exactly qualifies as a "smart car" in this case? We have no idea, and apparently, Burger King doesn't much care, either, since it decided not to clarify its meaning in the contest's terms and conditions. We attempted to contact Burger King for more information, but it didn't respond.

It isn't immediately clear how many free Whoppers Burger King dished out as a result of the spur-of-the-moment promo, but we applaud them for their creativity.

Let us know in the comments if you managed to secure a free Whopper with this promotion and link us to the Tweet you used to qualify.

Watch this: AutoComplete: We pit Tesla's Navigate on Autopilot against LA traffic