Autonomy hits a chicane

As the feds study Autopilot anew due to a fatal accident, Tesla has written a defensive post that serves as a preemptive counterweight against the inevitably offensive press to come.

It’s abundantly clear that:

* The list of “corner cases” in autonomous driving will never really end.
* Tesla’s vanguard position means it will bear the whole brunt of those corner cases, and will have to tolerate public tisk-tisking from rival automakers.
* Each stair step to autonomy will bring slips and falls, some fatal.
* The biggest challenge is going to be the gray area wherein the driver sorta kinda surrenders control to the car but sorta kinda has to be super-vigilant all the while. That’s not easy for one brain. Remember, airplanes have two pilots.
*Over-the-air control of such systems, including the ability to turn off the whole enchilada, is crucial to allow for NHTSA intervention if needed. Today the agency issued a warning to drivers of old Hondas to STOP DRIVING THE CARS due to new data about the Takata airbag risk. Isn’t it nice to know that if the feds say so, Tesla could simply disable AP for the entire fleet instead of commanding everyone to stop driving?

Screen Shot 2016-07-01 at 7.37.19 AMUPDATE: The truck driver involved in the accident claims the Tesla driver was watching Harry Potter in the car, something Tesla says is impossible on its touch screen. Was there a mobile device involved, or is the truck driver just fabricating this detail to mitigate his role?

Meanwhile, Mobileye says “Lateral Turn Across Path” detection will begin in 2018. Until then, its systems detect only rear-collision scenarios.


4 thoughts on “Autonomy hits a chicane

  1. Jerry Cecere says:

    There will always be Luddites!


  2. wipster56 says:

    Well stated TM!


  3. purrpullberra says:

    I’ve heard it in a few places now, on Gizmodo 6-30-16. They say the ONLY safe way to do this is to wait until full level 4 autonomy is perfected. But in that case then they are just saying this gentleman should’ve died in the earlier accident we’ve seen on video where he credits AP for saving his life.
    Either he dies in one accident or the other!
    So all those naysayers are just condemning people to experience a different kind of accident. And we know that Tesla’s AP has helped prevent deaths and accidents, do we place zero value on those non-incidents, no value to the lives saved?
    I think it’s positively insane and arrogant to demand that no one can have Tesla’s level of Autopilot, assisted driving, whatever it’s called. I just see jealous losers hating on Tesla (for some reason) complaining about this level of autonomy.
    No one yet has a cogent, factual, defensible reason to condemn people to the deaths and accidents that level 2 autonomy can prevent up until the day far in the future when flawless level 4 autonomy is on every car.
    Should we stop fighting flu just because we can’t cure cancer? Why wait until the holy grail is realized? I don’t get these level-4-or-nothing people at all.


  4. Nøderak says:

    he’s not a navy seal. It’s not tesla’s fault


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