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?
UPDATE: 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.