back to article Aut-doh!-pilot: Driver jams 65mph Tesla Model S under fire truck, walks away from crash

Another Tesla driver needs reminding that the flash motor's Autopilot mode doesn't mean you can ignore what's on the road. On Monday morning, a Tesla Model S slammed into a stationary firetruck at around 65mph on Interstate 405 in Culver City, California. The car was driven under the fire engine, although the driver was able …

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Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

There should be at least 10 of them here by now to assure us that this is nothing to do with their precious lord and master and his criminal enterprise.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

Hmm, instead, we get you, with your ridiculous tirade.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

Another one white-knighting for that criminal. Lucrative is it?

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

There you go again. What did I tell you last time?

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

@unwarranted triumphalism

Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

???

Sorry, but some tool sticking the car on autopilot before going to sleep or surfing porn, can hardly be blamed on the manufacturer of the vehicle.

That said, a simmple law change to ensure the driver inputs are recorded immediately prior to any accident where autopilot is engaged should suffice. If the drive doesn't react when they should have done, charge them with dangerous driving. It is, after all, a matter of time before one of these buffoons kills someone because they're too stupid to read the warning about what autopilot is and isn't.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

You're thinking of Arse Technica. El Reg isn't infested with such types ( yet? ).

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

@LucreLout

"Sorry, but some tool sticking the car on autopilot before going to sleep or surfing porn, can hardly be blamed on the manufacturer of the vehicle."

Trouble is, if you call a spade a spade, most people will assume that it is a spade. Autopilot is a contraction of Automatic Pilot which by definition is "a device for keeping an aircraft on a set course without the intervention of the pilot". Most people know what an Autopilot is, so when Tesla call their glorified cruise control "Autopilot" the tool (as you call him/her) that is behind the wheel quite logically and reasonably thinks that this is akin to an aircraft's autopilot.

The reality is that the Autopilot system that Tesla have is cruise control, but they can't call it that because Autopilot sounds so much better. Because Tesla's own manual state that the driver has to be aware at all times, WTF is the point of having it? Rip it out, save money, save lives (by not confusing people with misnomers like Autopilot) - everybody happy!

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

The reality is that the Autopilot system that Tesla have is cruise control, but they can't call it that because Autopilot sounds so much better. Because Tesla's own manual state that the driver has to be aware at all times, WTF is the point of having it? Rip it out, save money, save lives (by not confusing people with misnomers like Autopilot) - everybody happy!

I quite like that Tesla backers and owners are funding a lot of R&D that may one day lead to self driving cars. People that are too stupid to use a car should be denied access to one - whether that's an ICE or a self driving ladyshaver.

Dangerous driving happens when a driver takes an action or fails to take one in line with expectations of a normally competent driver. As such, engaging autopiolt and then not mentally driving the vehicle, fits all the required criteria. We have sufficient law on the statute books to handle this already - the police & CPS just need to be given appropriate guidance. (Yes, I realise this accident was in the USA, but they too have sufficient law)

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

"Autopilot is a contraction of Automatic Pilot which by definition is "a device for keeping an aircraft on a set course without the intervention of the pilot".

And if you're a pilot on an aircraft and you're surfing the web when you're supposed to be looking out of the cockpit for other planes, flocks of birds that can jam your engines - and you survive your mistake - you're going to lose your license.

Keeping an aircraft on a set course does not mean keeping an aircraft away from obstacles. In fact, the Tesla is more automatic than the definition for an aircraft; there are some avoidance systems built in.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

Hmm. Not many obstacles at 30,000 feet! Looking out for other planes is taken care of by TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) and on-board RADAR, as the chances are, a pilot of your average airliner wouldn't see another aircraft in time to avoid a collision. Your average 747 is crusing at 550MPH. And if you are in a situation where you do need to keep an aircraft away from obstacles, you're either landing/taking off or flying way too low!

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

I would prepose that the money would be better spent on automising trains. Maybe they would run on time?

The DLR has operated driverless for years (yes, I know it was designed to be driverless), the only 2 accidents they have had were when a human was driving! But at least (here in the UK at least), we may end up with a railway that is fit for purpose!

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

"Trouble is, if you call a spade a spade, most people will assume that it is a spade. Autopilot is a contraction of Automatic Pilot which by definition is "a device for keeping an aircraft on a set course without the intervention of the pilot". Most people know what an Autopilot is, so when Tesla call their glorified cruise control "Autopilot" the tool (as you call him/her) that is behind the wheel quite logically and reasonably thinks that this is akin to an aircraft's autopilot."

I'm pretty sure that even when an aircraft is on auto-pilot a human being is expected to be monitoring the aircraft systems and radar/instruments at all times; I don't think that anyone believes that auto-pilot can be engaged and the flight crew pop off to bed for a "solid eight hours" leaving the flight-deck unmanned.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

That is what it is called on a plane, does that mean the pilot can get drunk and sit in the back? No of course not.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

and his criminal enterprise.

I'm not a Musk fanboy. I want to see Tesla and SpaceX succeed, but not mindlessly. So I've got to ask....what's "criminal" about Tesla? There are a lot of companies that I would call criminal, but I've seen nothing to suggest as much from Tesla. Overly optimistic about what they can attain, sure. A little loose in the grip regarding reality, yeah. Criminal? How?

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

I never read your asinine replies.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

I don't visit Arstechnica due to its leftwing bias.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

Stealing money from the taxpayer and using it to create products which kill their owners is usually considered criminal where i live.

Is it not on your planet?

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

Not a lot of point in looking out of the window if you are flying in IMC (i.e. inside cloud). Not even a lot of point in looking out if you are flying above unbroken cloud or the sea either, because "empty field myopia" will usually ensure that your eyes are not focussed on anything outside the aircraft so you wouldn't see conflicting traffic anyway.

You do need to monitor your instruments to ensure that the aircraft systems, engines, fuel quantity, course, speed & altitude are all satisfactory, and possibly keep an eye on the weather radar, but you only need to do that every few minutes.

While leaving the cockpit unattended while you take a leak or make a coffee is illegal and not recommended, the probability that anything bad will happen is extremely low, and many pilots of large transport aircraft do so routinely on the boring parts of a long-haul flight while the other pilot is sleeping. It's even been known for both pilots to fall asleep. Most bad things that could happen will bring up an alarm and wake them up.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

@Patrician

"I'm pretty sure that even when an aircraft is on auto-pilot a human being is expected to be monitoring the aircraft systems and radar/instruments at all times; I don't think that anyone believes that auto-pilot can be engaged and the flight crew pop off to bed for a "solid eight hours" leaving the flight-deck unmanned."

I'm not suggesting a pilot would or should leave the flight deck unattended. What i am saying is the autopilot on a commercial aircraft is a complex beast indeed, able to follow a planned course, make required turns, course corrections, speed and height changes etc. all completely automatically without pilot intervention. It is even possible for the autopilot to land the plane. In fact, the only things a Cat IIIb type autopilot does not do is taxi and take off (but this is to be included when Cat IIIc systems come out). Unless something happens, the pilot rarely needs to intervene. In a Tesla however, a driver needs to be concentrating at all times on the road ahead, needs both hands on the wheel to steer (the "autosteer function is minimal) and their foot hovering ready to apply the brake. What's the point in having it? What's the point in sticking an extra £10 or £20 grand's worth of equipment in, when you can get cruise control for free in another cheaper model?

For Tesla to call their cruise control system the same as a commercial aircraft system is just wrong (I would say criminally), as the capabilities are a world apart and it is [understandably] confusing for the average monkey behind the wheel of a car.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

The reality is that an aircraft autopilot is FAR stupider than Tesla's autopilot. It's really only good for flying in straight lines, moving the plane up and down, and turning to follow radio beacons.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

@Domquark

I would prepose that the money would be better spent on automising trains. Maybe they would run on time?

May I attract your attention to the FACT that we have had autonomous trains since 1983 in productive service ? Look through my comments, I commented on them not too long ago ... if you know the Intertubes, you might have heard of search engines named Bing, Google, or DuckDuckGo ... search for "VAL trains". If you ask nicely, I might even send you a fully prepared link to the search results of a search engine ...

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FAIL

Autopilot shmaltopilot

The fact is that a driver on a public road (and in the UK that can include your private driveway) has to be alert and fully in charge of the vehicle AT ALL TIMES.

If an autopilot is simply a cruse control to maintain a set speed until the driver touches the accelerator or brake, that's fine - it's not interfering with his concentration. But when it takes over the driving to the point where the driver's immediate concentration and speed of reaction is impeded - and by definition, an emergency demands lightening reactions - It's time to ban the damn things. Things like autopark ate perhaps ok, IF you can convince the driver to keep a check on the machine. Can we honestly, in the present state of the art, trust the machine and its software to spot every animal and child and idiot?

IF, and its' a big if, the technology improves to the point that it's acceptable on the road, great. Until then, wait. The motor industry hasn't exactly got a stellar record on safety.

I can see applications for driverless cars - I'm past retirement age, and I've no idea how long I'll de able to go on driving. Dad had to give up at 82 when his eyesight started to fail. An uncle went on into his late 90s. (His memory had totally gone, but as long as he had someone to tell him "turn left an the lights, next right, left into the supermarket car park, park the car ... he was fine. Driving skills, eyesight, reactions etc. Doctor checked him out.

The sharks in the motor industry need to be freed from the "me too" pressure and made to meet very stringent standards. Preferably mandating open source software.

On the railways automation is simpler. The train is constrained by rails and the railway company owns the rights of the road. But even here, with all the automation, where there are still drivers, there are regular audible alerts to signals which the driver has to cancel, or the train stops. Train separation protocols mean that can be accomplished safely. Rail is not comparable to road.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

@Hans1

May I attract your attention to the FACT that I never said that autonomous trains did not exist? In fact, I mentioned the DLR, which has been going since the 90's and I have used many times.

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Re: Autopilot shmaltopilot

My father was a mechanical engineer for NZ Rail. There was a dead man's switch system back then, the driver had to keep his foot on a pedal. Though it was a common problem to find their lunch box on the pedal.

The more modern regular warnings requiring interaction which the driver cannot subvert (without a screwdriver, soldering iron etc and maybe a Pi to spoof the auto reporting system as well).

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

"can hardly be blamed on the manufacturer of the vehicle."

I am more than happy to blame the manufacturer. If the system was nothing more than adaptive cruise control, that can be called a driver aid/assistance, but it's a half baked autonomous driving system that is unsafe to unleash on the public. I liken it to a revolver with ten thousand chambers and one round loaded. You can play Russian roulette for quite some time, but eventually there is a bang.

As long as somebody can keep ignoring the warnings to put their hands back on the wheel without anything happening, that's a big problem. A fire truck is a heavy piece of kit. What if it was a disabled car with people inside. A collision at 65mph is likely to be deadly for them. If the "Autopilot" can miss seeing a fire truck, a small Honda has no chance.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

"(Yes, I realise this accident was in the USA, but they too have sufficient law)"

Welllllll, The governor of California signed into law some legislation that specifically allows manufacturers to test automated driving systems on public roads with almost no restrictions. Just register the car (with a recent increase in registration plus an added fee for EVs) as a test vehicle. Uber was refusing to do even that (not surprising) and got booted out. They set up again in Arizona and got in an accident IIRC.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

"Not many obstacles at 30,000 feet! "

Exactly. The autopilot allows the pilots to monitor all of the systems of the aircraft eliminating the Flight Engineer job. They are also keeping track of weather in their flight path and at their destination. It's better for gas mileage too. Long straight flights are tedious to the extreme and at 30k+ feet, there aren't any references so you are sure you are straight and level. Finally, there should be more time to asses a situation and take over if necessary in an aircraft.

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Re: Where's the Elon Musk Attack Brigade today?

Putting razor blades in a kids craft kit will probably be fine for many kids, but it's not suitable for a goodly number.

If it was just about the Tesla owner killing only themselves and doing no more damage than creating a furrow on a patch of dirt, Ok, let them have it. The problem is that an accident to going to affect other people.

I don't avocate that all consumer goods are built to protect the lowest common denominator, but I feel that Tesla's semi-autonomous is such that it's very likely to lull drivers into very unsafe practices since most of the time it works well enough. Level 3 to Level 4 autonomy is the death zone.

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2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

1988: "Dude, it was, like, on Cruise Control!"

1888: "Consarn it, Sheriff, I'm drunk but the horse is sober!"

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

1888: "Consarn it, Sheriff, I'm drunk but the horse is sober!"

Interestingly, in the UK at least, you can be charged with being ' Drunk in charge of livestock'.

A horse riding acquaintance was back in the '90s one Christmas eve lunchtime she was relying on the horse to get her back to the stables after a bit of a session in the local.

My wife at that time owned a horse that was partial to bottled lager, he could drink it out of the bottle.

I have no idea if there are laws about being in charge of drunken livestock.

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Alert

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

In Aussie if you are riding a pushie and you are pissed can be charged with "being drunk while in charge of a carriage" but it won't affect your driver's licence.

Bit of useless info there.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

But if you’re drunk in charge of a sheep, it’s called “being on a date” in Australia.

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

"Consarn it, Sheriff, I'm drunk but the horse is sober!"

You can, of course, kill yourself by falling from a horse while drunk. I had an ancestor killed that way. History doesn't record whether he was drunk but he was coming back from market.

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

I thought that was in Scotland?

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

Wrong country it is NZ.

OK silly in either case

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

did he/she open the bottle - if so, well impressed. My grandfather used to dose some of his cattle with stout mixed in with the bran during certain parts of the year. Swore by it, although my grandmother was convinced it was simply a way of allowing him to get a swift Guinness or three while out in the shed. Cattle looked good though (and happy).

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

> In Aussie if you are riding a pushie and you are pissed can be charged with "being drunk while in charge of a carriage" but it won't affect your driver's licence.

I assume Pushie is an Oz term for pedal cycle...

And the same is true in the UK, although there is no fixed alcohol level, and there is no obligation to submit to a breath/blood test. The offence is demonstrated by you being 'unable to control your vehicle'. Of course with most bikes the offence is largely self limiting.

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

ahh, I recall the good old days when I lived in Germany, NO ONE drove a car to parties, they all rode push bikes...

had some hilarious moments of people just riding straight into bushes or just getting on one side of the bike and falling off the other...

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

According to the police, the idiot tried to claim that he was OK to risk his own life, and that of other drivers, by driving drunk because his Tesla was on Autopilot. He was cuffed at the scene and charged with driving under the influence.

Absolutely staggering.

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

"In Aussie if you are riding a pushie and you are pissed can be charged with "being drunk while in charge of a carriage" but it won't affect your driver's licence.

Bit of useless info there."

I have looked into the uk version of this , mainly to see if it will effect your driving licence. answer:

Yes you can be prosecuted for riding a pushbike drunk

Yes it *may* affect your Licence - at magistrates discretion.

It turns out you can be banned from driving for anything - its just one of the punishments in the armoury like community service , bound over , fines , jail .

They can ban you from driving for shoplifting in theory.

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Pint

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

had some hilarious moments of people just riding straight into bushes or just getting on one side of the bike and falling off the other...

During a festive evening celebrating something-or-other, one of the local security guards came in and alerted us that someone outside had been trying to get on his bike for roughly the past half hour, and would we want to help him?

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Windows

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

I'll just leave this here Mind you, I doubt that there are electric canoes being sold with AutoPilot.

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Pint

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

A friend was a little the worse for wear* at a party, so my bother drove him home.

After an hour or two he decided he was fine to come back so hopped on his bike and tried to cycle back. After falling off a few times, he found himself back at his house, some how he'd managed to fall off, and then get back on the bike facing the wrong way down the road, without noticing.

* there was lack of trousers involved...

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Facepalm

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

"hilarious moments of people just riding straight into bushes or just getting on one side of the bike and falling off the other..."

Or coming to a stop and forgetting about the toe clips....bike falls over...ouch!

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

"did he/she open the bottle"

'He' had the teeth for bottle opening but lacked the oppsablethumbs to grip the bottle.

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Pint

Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

@Paul Woodhouse

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSs0GaCfpqo

Ich hab's blau angestrichen, vom Sattel bis zum Schlauch und ich das äußerst passend weil blau bin ich manchmal auch!

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

I had ancestor who was married to a woman of a temperance persuasion. He like a tipple occasionally but was not usually allowed at home. He got a bit under the weather and the doctor prescribed stout as a tonic. He thought he was quids in but his wife decided that since it was medicine he would have to have it doled out by the spoonful like other medicines.

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

"But if you’re drunk in charge of a sheep, it’s called “being on a date” in Australia."

Hey those Velcro gloves were expensive. Gotta get ones money's worth out of them.

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Re: 2018: "But it was on Autopilot!"

I was watching a show on beer where the horses drawing the brewer's dray were very fond of a pint at lunch. They didn't open them bottles themselves.

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