back to article Keep your hands on the f*cking wheel! New Tesla update like being taught to drive by your dad

An update to Tesla's Autopilot software earlier this month has caused headaches for drivers of its electric cars – with one user alleging he was almost driven off the road by the robotic assistant. The patch, 2018.21.9, contained a number of tweaks to address safety concerns with the Autopilot software, which Tesla trumpeted …

  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    FAIL

    Sigh ...

    there are some ****ing morons out there. And the fact some of them are driving Telslas means there's no correlation between wealth and brains.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Sigh ...

      And this could be the reason why Tesla's are in the highest Insurance Group along with Lambo's etc.

      Or... that it cost $6000 to fix a dented wing on a Model 3.

      1. Credas Silver badge

        Re: Sigh ...

        There'll be worse to come if Musk is serious about the next software update being able to:

        begin to enable full self-driving features.

        WTF? You can't roll out autonomous driving - the vehicle's either fully self-driving, or it isn't. Continuing this pretence that drivers have to always be prepared to take control, while progressively taking them out of the loop, is borderline criminal.

        1. EBG

          Re: Sigh ...

          Why "boderline" ?

        2. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Sigh ...

          Continuing this pretence that drivers have to always be prepared to take control

          The vast vast majority of drivers in the UK are hopeless. Utterly woeful, and frankly, unsafe. That will, statistically, include most people reading this. the idea that such low skilled drivers would be capable of correcting something the car has started doing, say swerving, is fanciful - they'll over correct and end up in a hedge. That presumes they're sober/awake/alert enough to realise something needs correcting.

          It'd be nice if we had a realistic driving test that was difficult to pass, then regular retesting. Most people never progress beyond the very basic L test in terms of driving, so we really do need to make sure they haven't regressed too far from that point over the next, say, 50-60 years.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sigh ...

            I think we have a winner for the Dunning–Kruger award for worst driver in the thread.

            You sound like every other terrible driver I have ever had the misfortune to be a passenger with. The vast majority of drivers are, well, average - which means they drive a few 100k's of miles over a few decades without a serious accident. Whereas every accident prone driver I've ever known always seem to have the same attitude as the poster. A little bit of patience, understanding and forbearance goes a long way in making everyones life a little less dangerous on the roads.

            So, O.P, how many miles and how many countries have you driven over the decades? And were they accident free? Me, a good 350K plus miles in 4 counties. Including LA freeways when they used to be completely madmax , central Paris on a Friday afternoon and some of the sketchier parts of Italy. Driving in the UK is a doddle compared with some places in the world. Which is reflected by its accident rate per miles driven.

            The simple fact is most human car drivers are actually very very good considering the complexity and variability of the task whereas autonomous driving software is actually very very bad at dealing with anything other than perfect driving conditions. Which dont happen very often.

            Roll on the criminal product liability class action lawsuits.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sigh ...

              Bravo. I'll humblebrag here. I recognize that I would have had more accidents if not for the many times other drivers have compensated for my occasional lapses in judgment or insufficient attention. I try to reciprocate with patience, tolerance and alertness while keeping my hand less on the horn and my feet more ready for the brake, clutch, whatever... And still, I succumb to annoyance and irritation that I try to suppress.

              I have been accident-free for decades and hundreds of thousands of miles. Thanks to others' patience and yes, skill.

          2. philebbeer

            Re: Sigh ...

            Yep, If you haven't passed your IAM or ROSPA test within 5 years, add a government surtax of 100% to your insurance costs as a nice financial incentive to make people get round to it.

            The L test is just supposed to show that you are safe on the roads while you gain experience of driving. Why not make people prove they are both experienced & safe after a set time? We might get fewer lunatics on the roads if we did something like this.

            Then....accident rates fall, NHS/emergency service costs/callouts fall, roads are safer, cheaper insurance (I am trying to find something negative for balance....nope).

            If you are reading this, is there any reason you haven't taken an advanced driving test yet?

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Sigh ...

              "Yep, If you haven't passed your IAM or ROSPA test within 5 years, add a government surtax of 100% to your insurance costs as a nice financial incentive to make people get round to it."

              Most accidents are new, young drivers inside your 5 year deadline.

            2. Jay 11

              Re: Sigh ...

              My excuse for not doing the IAM or ROSPA test is quite simply that virtually everyone you see with an IAM or ROSPA sticker on their vehicle is driving or riding like a total dick.

              When they can't agree with each other over what is safe and what isn't I find it odd that they are rated so highly by their members.

              But then after a lot of years as a working rider and probably close to or just over 1 million miles in the seat I don't even hold the Police especially the motorcyclists in anything approaching regard although I do think Lorry drivers and most delivery drivers are pretty good.

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Sigh ...

      Like the idiot British driver who was banned for being caught in the passenger seat while he let his "Super Cruse Control" drive him along.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Sigh ...

      And the fact some of them are driving Telslas means there's no correlation between wealth and brains.

      It's actually called "culling the herd" and maybe should be added to the Darwin Awards as added incentive.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sigh ...

        It's actually called "culling the herd" and maybe should be added to the Darwin Awards as added incentive.

        It's likely to cull innocent bystanders, AKA collateral damage.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

          Re: Sigh ...

          It's likely to cull innocent bystanders, AKA collateral damage.

          So far the Tesla accidents were fatal to the driver only; Uber did do a vehicular manslaughter, but that vehicle/software combo wasn't available to consumers.

  2. Qarumba

    Auto-crash-pilot

    Even with your hands on the steering wheel, what would you be able to do here?

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/business-44460980/this-car-is-on-autopilot-what-happens-next

    After you realised that the car wasn't going to do anything.

    1. CraPo

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      Brake?

      1. Steve Button

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        brake? Not quickly enough as for 1/4 second or so you are thinking "is it going to brake? Am I supposed to take over? Oh shit it's not doing to stop"

        1. Rob D. Bronze badge
          Coat

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          you are thinking "is it going to brake? Am I supposed to take over? Oh shit it's not ..."

          FTFY.

        2. CraPo

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          > Not quickly enough as for 1/4 second or so you are thinking "is it going to brake? Am I supposed to take over? Oh shit it's not doing to stop"

          Almost 3 seconds pass between when the vehicle starts to move across, showing a stationary vehicle in front of it, and when the impact occurs. You may well be late, but any breaking is better than no breaking.

          Good alert defensive drivers will get twitchy straight away; those with less experience and more so as they rely on auto-pilot in the future, less so... YMMV :-D

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            I think even a good driver (although one has to ask why a good driver would be ignoring the road) would have to add to the normal 'thinking distance' the time needed to switch back to 'I'm driving a car' mode from the 'I'm on autopilot' mode. As earlier posters have pointed out, initial reactions would still be from a mindset that expected the car to do something about the situation, and realisation that the car was going to do nothing might well come far too late to take over and respond to the threat.

            The halfway house of 'assisted cruise', and even fully autonomous cars is fraught with pitfalls. The only way to introduce autonomous vehicles safely is to replace all vehicles with fully autonomous vehicles in one go. An autonomous vehicle can predict or query the behaviour of every other vehicle on the road, but it can't predict that the meatsack in lane 4 is going to cut across 3 lanes of traffic at the last possible moment and at very high speed, because he suddenly realised this is his exit. An autonomous vehicle would already have positioned for exit some time back and alerted all other traffic to its intentions. You'd need to get rid of all human directed vehicles over for such a scenario to exist.

            That just isn't going to happen

          2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            "Good alert defensive drivers will get twitchy straight away; "

            I'd not even go that far. I'd say most drivers following at the same speed as the car in front would immediately be aware there must be a good reason for the leading car to be changing lanes on what in the video was an otherwise clear road, not a junction. The leading car, at best, was pulling out to pass a slower vehicle. A human driver would have known this and almost certainly have started reacting as soon as the indicator came on.

        3. Def Silver badge

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          Not quickly enough as for 1/4 second or so you are thinking "is it going to brake? Am I supposed to take over? Oh shit it's not doing to stop"

          If that's your line of thinking, you shouldn't be driving in the first place.

          Until such a time that there's no steering wheel or pedals in the car, *you* are always in control. You may allow the car to perform certain manoeuvres on your behalf, but that should never preclude you from reacting to developing situations around you before the car does.

        4. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          > brake? Not quickly enough as for 1/4 second or so you are thinking "is it going to brake? Am I supposed to take over? Oh shit it's not doing to stop"

          No, hell no.

          You should always be taking over - braking or whatever - immediately. You should never wait to see what autopilot (or any other 'super-cruise', or pretend autonomous, or even real autonomous system) will or will not do. Those systems are there in case the driver fucks up, they are a backstop. Not the primary system. You, as the driver, are the primary control system.

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        Brake?

        It is implicitly relying on the car in front to be driving at safe speed so it is maintaining breaking distance to it as if it will start stopping then. That is quite normal - most human drivers drive this way. You need 75m braking distance for 70mph. Nobody does that. Everyone drives closer and pays attention to what the other vehicle does as well as looking over it to what is AHEAD of it on the road.

        1. The LIDAR and other hard instrumentation of the autopilot suite do not see past the car in front.

        2. The software on the vis feed is nowhere near to do that level of analysis at present. You literally have to judge what the other driver has piled up in their rear window and make judgements based on partially obscured views and indicators/stop lights of cars way in front of you. We all do it instinctively after driving for a few months. Automated cars - not even there as this test clearly demonstrates.

        3. We make additional decisions based on the car in front. I am actually expecting an Audi driver to switch lanes after the first blink of an indicator (still better than a teenager in a pimped up Saxo which will not even bother). I give it extra 10-15m just because the person in front is pretending to be in the cockpit of a Me109. The autopilot in the BBC video did not do that.

        By the way, the BBC video is nearly identical to the reconstruction of the recent incident with the crash barrier in California. The sole difference is that it was a cardboard car, not a concrete barrier. The other variables, including an audi switching lanes at the last minute (coming out of a "non-lane") are identical.

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          @Voland's right hand

          "You need 75m braking distance for 70mph. Nobody does that. "

          I do actually try and leave a nice safe gap on British motorways - usually without success.

          .. Because there.s always some driver who cant resist that stretch of empty space and so has to pull into it.

          Only time I get to have a "safe" distance is when MWay is very quiet.

          .. I;m a realist (& keen on myself & other road users staying alive) & acknowledge my concentration will not always be 100% when suffering monotonous MWay driving, hence I like a nice safe distance as I expect sub optimal response time if I happen not to be fully focused and so extra reaction time needed.

    2. ArrZarr Silver badge

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      The Tesla is obviously braking in that situation. That's why it stopped well before the next fake car. I can also guarantee that if you didn't have the freedom to pull out as a human driver, your thinking time would have made any subsequent action worse.

    3. Remy Redert

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      You would be able to keep a safe braking distance from the car in front to start with, at which point the auto-pilot's reaction (full on braking the instant it sees the stationary car) would prevent the collision.

      In this case the auto-pilot could have swerved, but in most cases in traffic that would be unsafe to do anyways. Creeping up close behind the car in front works only when you can communicate with that car so you can effectively see through it.

      1. The Real Tony Smith

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        "You would be able to keep a safe braking distance from the car in front to start with, at which point the auto-pilot's reaction (full on braking the instant it sees the stationary car) would prevent the collision."

        Errr no. The auto-pilot doesn't have any reaction to stationary objects. This is deliberately done to stop the many false alarms that would occur when roadside objects come into the field of view.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          "The auto-pilot doesn't have any reaction to stationary objects. This is deliberately done to stop the many false alarms that would occur when roadside objects come into the field of view."

          Yes, I've seen that explanation a few times. It basically says - "That's how it's supposed to work". Now, I agree that it would be dangerous if an autonomous car slams on the brakes because of a stationary roadside item eg large road sign.... BUT Tesla is basically admitting that it's system is not capable of distinguishing between an object on the roadside and one on the road right in front of it.

          That is pretty rubbish

          1. Lee D Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            STOP MEASURING DISTANCES. You can't judge them, you can't remember them, and you have to know your speed to use them anywhere near accurately.

            Just have two seconds between you and the car in front. Always. You're already looking forward. Wait for them to pass something, count to two. And, yes, drivers DO do that: anyone with a brain that realises if they can't come to a complete stop before the car in front does then they are going to die.

            That's two seconds between you and the stationary obstacle or the next car in the queue too. If you don't have two seconds and HE doesn't have two seconds, you're too close. Because he'll whack the object (as in the demo) and you still can't stop because he never stopped normally as if braking.

            The guy in the comment above counted three between seeing the car and anything being done. So not only did you blow through your entire braking distance, but 50% over again, without even reacting, let alone pressing the brake.

            Where the 2 seconds as a base minimum distance for a complete idiot that's "minus lookahead" is enough to see and stop in if you're driving anywhere near sensibly, and "revealing" something less than 2 seconds away means you weren't paying attention.

            2 seconds at 70 mph is 62.5m. That's the MINIMUM distance you should have between you and a car in front travelling at the same speed. Though it can take 3-4 seconds in a modern car to come to a complete stop even in ideal conditions (but more like 2.5-3 on a well-maintained one) at worst, hitting a surprise stationary object you'll reduce the impact speed to a fender-bender not certain-death. At best, you'll have time to move around the obstacle entirely. However that's the MINIMUM. The utmost lowest limit. The least you can do and still be vaguely safe by the laws of physic and a well-maintained car and absolute attention on the road.

            And magically the "2 second rule" pretty much works no matter what speed you're doing, as it scales with speed!

            Seriously have we all just forgotten how to drive?

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Auto-crash-pilot

              "Just have two seconds between you and the car in front."

              When I learned to drive (an probably for a long time before that) the rule was a car length per 10 miles an hour. That turned out to be a reasonable approximation for 1 second. Given that brakes and tyres were less efficient than nowadays it seems that the advice then was a good deal more optimistic.

            2. Jimmy2Cows
              Flame

              Re: Seriously have we all just forgotten how to drive?

              The danger here is assuming people knew how to drive to begin with. Number of times I have to take evasive action because someone isn't paying the slightest attention to their surroundings is ridiculous, and getting worse.

              How the fuck these people passed their test is beyond me. They certainly don't develop beyond the test. Learn enough to pass it, then regress.

              Best approach is assume everyone around me doesn't have a clue and are always likely to do something stupid.

              And don't get me started on parents getting / installing a baby seat from the traffic side. In a narrow road with parked cars both sides. Are you trying to get yourself and your kid killed? People really are getting dumber by the day.

              1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

                Re: Seriously have we all just forgotten how to drive?

                > And don't get me started on parents getting / installing a baby seat from the traffic side. In a narrow road with parked cars both sides. Are you trying to get yourself and your kid killed? People really are getting dumber by the day.

                And parents who push a pram/buggy out in front of them through a gap in parked cars till they can see what's coming, by which point the poor little darling has been pushed into the middle of the traffic flow.

                1. jmch Silver badge

                  Re: Seriously have we all just forgotten how to drive?

                  "And don't get me started on parents getting / installing a baby seat from the traffic side. In a narrow road with parked cars both sides. Are you trying to get yourself and your kid killed? People really are getting dumber by the day."

                  You do realise some people have 2 or more kids, right? And that cars have only 2 sides, one of which will be on the 'traffic' side?

                  If its a narrow road with cars parked on both sides, maybe you should be going slow enough to not hit any parents and/or kids, and maybe you can wait for the parents for the full 30 seconds to a minute it takes to strap a kid in?

                2. jmch Silver badge

                  Re: Seriously have we all just forgotten how to drive?

                  "And parents who push a pram/buggy out in front of them through a gap in parked cars till they can see what's coming, by which point the poor little darling has been pushed into the middle of the traffic flow."

                  Awful practice, I agree. Reverse the buggy and go out first yourself. Or, God forbid, walk the extra 100 metres to a zebra crossing instead of crossing from every which where

            3. The Oncoming Scorn
              Boffin

              Re: Auto-crash-pilot

              I always thought it was the Three Second Rule, I may be wrong but I'm erring on the side of caution in any case.

              1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: Auto-crash-pilot

                Drivers are too aggressive these days to adhere to the Three Second Rule. Even less than ONE second provides a gap of at least a car length, and the instant you leave a gap big enough to fit (by Murphy's Law), someone's WILL slip into it, removing your gap. And trying to put the Three Second Rule on the new car just invites another interloper, ad nauseum.

          2. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            > BUT Tesla is basically admitting that it's system is not capable of distinguishing between an object on the roadside and one on the road right in front of it.

            That is sorta true.

            I say sorta, because don't forget on a bend, or coming up to or out of a bend, objects that are on the side of the road are in front of the car.

            Being able to determine if a stationary object is a collision hazard or not is trivial if you assume a straight road, where anything directly in front also means it is on the road, and anything not in front means it is not on the road.

            But this get's rather more complex when you start throwing in bends, intersections, overhangs, and so on. Is that object right in front actually on the road, or is it on the side of the road but because of a bend it is directly in front of the car?

            This is the reason that these systems, once you exceed a certain speed (reportedly in the 35-40mph sorta range) start, effectively, assuming any stationary object is something that isn't on the road. After all, if you are travelling at 70mph, shouldn't it be obvious to the driver that that stationary object is on the road, therefore a hazard. Therefore as the driver must be keeping an appropriate safe stopping distance (/rolleyes) and paying attention even though they are are using a super-cruise (in he case of a Tesla it is branded as Autopilot) type system (again /rolleyes) then surely the driver should begin braking, at least to a low enough speed for the auto-braking functions to enable themselves and apply additional braking if necessary?

            But yes, the fact that this is the situation does scream that the systems aren't capable of being able to identify objects visually like humans do - I can identify a sign or tree from how it looks, and conclude that it must be on the side of the road because I know what the object is. These systems aren't sophisticated enough to identify an object purely on shape/vision alone. They munge a whole heap of data together - location, speed, rough shape, to try and deduce what the object is. And that deductive process isn't good enough yet.

            1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

              Re: because don't forget on a bend

              What you are leading to IMHO, is the conclusion that only roads built for autonomous cars (or accredited for use by) should be used by autonomous cars, and no other roads.

              This may be the way forward.

              However, if you're going to spend that much money providing a bulletproof playground for these cars, you might as well stick rails in the ground and build a Light Rail System (e.g., the Docklands Light Railway (DLR)) which is a damned sight safer and meets environmental agendas much more profoundly.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: Auto-crash-pilot

              "I can identify a sign or tree from how it looks, and conclude that it must be on the side of the road because I know what the object is."

              There were a few stationary trees on the roads of the UK yesterday. So even if an autonomous car can recognise a tree, can it also tell if it's lying in the road (partially or fully) and take the correct action or will it dismiss it until too late because trees are always at the side of the road?

          3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            "BUT Tesla is basically admitting that it's system is not capable of distinguishing between an object on the roadside and one on the road right in front of it.

            That is pretty rubbish"

            +1

            Normally I'd just upvote, but that point needs separating out, quoting and re-posted for extra emphasis.

      2. ridley

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        The problem is that in this situation there are no sensors on the Tesla/Volvo etc that can "see" the stationary car, so it will not apply the brakes.

        The radar is used to detect other moving objects, not stationary ones. The reason for this is that the radar cannot tell overhead obstacles from those in the road so if it stopped for every stationary object it would be stopping for overhanging trees, overhead street signs etc.

        It might be different if they used LIDAR but they don't.

        1. steamrunner

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          "The radar is used to detect other moving objects, not stationary ones. The reason for this is that the radar cannot tell overhead obstacles from those in the road so if it stopped for every stationary object it would be stopping for overhanging trees, overhead street signs etc."

          ... which is a valid comment at this point but should be load of hogwash.

          The car doesn't just rely on radar. It has a ton load of other sensors telling it what is happening. It should be perfectly capable, right now, of working out a) what is a moving object, b) what is a stationary object, and *most importantly* c) calculating if any of these objects is in, or is moving into, it's projected 'flight' path.

          A stationary overhead gantry, a lamp-post, or a tree branch hanging over over the road more than 6ft off the ground should be easily detected and *not* be a collision suspect for a Tesla. Nor technically is a car stopped in another lane if your lane is clear and moving, at least until it starts moving again or a human gets out of it at the wrong moment (identify: nearby stationary or slow object in what should be an open lane; reaction: proceed with caution, check speed, etc).

          Something detected *directly* in the predicted flight path — or is otherwise calculated likely to be moving into it — *is* a collision suspect... ergo take evasive (whatever it deems that evasive to be at the moment, be it brake, slow down, swerve or whatever). This should not include street furniture.

          SB

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          "The radar is used to detect other moving objects, not stationary ones."

          What about an object crossing the road perpendicular to the line of travel? It's moving but not with a component in the direction the radar's looking.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            What about an object crossing the road perpendicular to the line of travel? It's moving but not with a component in the direction the radar's looking.

            Well, we could always test it out in the real world. You drive your Tesla on autopilot and I'll cross the road, and ... ...

            Ah. Second thoughts, I'll drive your Tesla on autopilot and you cross the road in front of it.

      3. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        You would be able to keep a safe braking distance from the car in front to start with, at which point the auto-pilot's reaction (full on braking the instant it sees the stationary car) would prevent the collision.

        I thought the issue was that, in common with similar systems, the Tesla cruise control ignores stationary objects that it detects once the vehicle is doing a certain speed to avoid the risk of emergency braking on high speed roads which is, perhaps, counter-intuitive to many people who have seen what the cruise control is capable of handling. I presume that the baking after hitting the inflatable car was either as a result of the Tesla detecting the impact or was done by the driver having made his point and knowing that there was another real vehicle in front of the inflatable one, or both.

      4. Deltics
        Pint

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        For many vehicles a wetware driver doesn't need any technology to "see through " the vehicle in front other than the front and rear windows already installed and their own ocular sensor array. (Translation: You can simply, literally see through the car in front).

        Now, following a truck, SUV or family saloon loaded with crap on the parcel shelf, the wetware obviously has to make a suitable adjustment.

        And that's the thing - for all the talk of "advanced" tech and AI and other brands of snake-oil, the simple fact is that as "impressive" as what might have been achieved might be, it is still a long, LONG way from being able to match a human. Even one of only average intelligence.

    4. tony72

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      I suspect a significant proportion of human drivers would crash in that situation, if not the majority; the black car indicates and changes lane normally, and there are no brake lights or signs of trouble on the white car, so it's going to take a moment before you clock that it's not moving. It's less than 2s to impact from the stationary car coming into view by my stopwatch, and the nominal stopping time from 40mph with ABS is 2.0 seconds, so do the math; it's pretty much a guaranteed crash situation.

      In fact many human drivers would probably swerve, which on a real highway with lanes full of traffic would likely mean an even worse accident as a nice multi-lane pile-up ensues. The car in the video had slowed quite a bit, as it was only slightly more than a car length late in stopping, so if it was hitting a real car instead of a polystyrene model, it would likely have at least kept the accident in its own lane.

      The issue of whether you'd have time time to take over from autopilot in time is a bit moot, if the autopilot actually did as well or better than a human driver would have.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        Stop trying to defend it.

        The car does not try to significantly brake AT ALL until it's already hit.

        All the sensors in the world didn't notice the stationary object in its path (which could have been a concrete lane divider just as easily as a car) and whacks it full-speed.

        The first car got around the obstacle, the car behind it certainly should as well (I'd exclude if there were something to the right of the moving car that might prevent an emergency lane change, but there's not).

        These things are deathtraps, pure and simple. I'm sure they "work" some of the time but they can't see a stationary object. And if you have to keep your hand on the wheel and full-attention, and they don't work well enough to be left unsupervised, then you are really just burning money for something that can't do the job.

        And when it can't do the job of STOPPING HITTING STATIONARY OBJECTS (which means your braking distance was sorely lacking... no matter WHAT speed you're doing or who was in front... literally you could not have stopped if that car in front had decided to stop BEHIND the stationary car) then suggesting a software upgrade could make it self-driving is ludicrous to the extreme.

        Imagine the dummy car wasn't a dummy car, but a lane divider. Or a police vehicle. Or one of those crash-vehicles that steer you away from the coned-off-lanes. BAM. You're dead. And that's at 70mph. At 40mph, I would damn well expect it to stop.

        It drove too close, it did not detect a problem, did not react in time, and it would have killed its driver and other people for the simple situation of "car in front swerves around stationary object in the road". That could be a pedestrian, a piece of debris, a car that pulled half-out, a blown tyre, a broken-down vehicle, a police roadblock, anything. And the Tesla was too dumb to distinguish and do anything about a perfectly ordinary driving situation that happens thousands of times a day and DOESN'T kill everyone.

        1. Geoff Campbell
          Boffin

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          It should be noted here that setting the following distance is a meatsack function. There's a control with a range 1-7 (from memory) which sets the time interval to follow behind.

          This one looks to me like it's set to closest follow distance, which is pretty damn stupid. I always use any intelligent cruise control on maximum separation, personally.

          Now, if you want to debate why the meatsack is able to set the following distance, I'm right with you - prime evidence that the people designing these system don't quite grok safe driving, to me.

          But then, the group mostly involved in cutting-edge programming are also the same group most over-represented in collision statistics - young males. Go figure...

          GJC

          1. werdsmith Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            It should be noted here that setting the following distance is a meatsack function. There's a control with a range 1-7 (from memory) which sets the time interval to follow behind.

            Audis are pre-set to 0.2 and cannot be changed.

            1. Joe Werner

              Re: Auto-crash-pilot

              Audis @ 0.2

              And that's without auto pilot ;p

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          "The first car got around the obstacle, the car behind it certainly should as well (I'd exclude if there were something to the right of the moving car that might prevent an emergency lane change, but there's not)."

          Nail, meet head. Not only are you supposed to leave a gap big enough to stop in in the first place, but as you say, no other traffic around and the Tesla is supposed to be aware of vehicles around it, not just in front. Although apparently it relies only on cameras and proximity sensors for side and rear, radar only works at the front so potentially it could pull out into the path of a car moving significantly faster than you, but in this case, that seems to be the avoiding action the Tesla should have taken.

      2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        It's less than 2s to impact from the stationary car coming into view by my stopwatch, and the nominal stopping time from 40mph with ABS is 2.0 seconds, so do the math; it's pretty much a guaranteed crash situation.

        Actually stopping from 40 in 2 seconds only uses about 60 feet or roughly four car lengths which looks to be about what the Tesla has. My guess is that they staged it so that the Tesla would have just enough distance to stop if it starts immediately and in that respect it is right on the edge of being set up to fail.

        1. LucreLout Silver badge

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          Actually stopping from 40 in 2 seconds only uses about 60 feet or roughly four car lengths

          I'm not sure its even that far. At 30mph every modern (this millennium) saloon car will stop in its own length when doing an emergency stop, provided tyres, brakes, and shocks are working. I could see 40 requiring an extra car length, maybe 2, but an extra 3 car lengths sounds too far to me.

          The slow part is always the meatsack. Which is why I've long suggested we move beyond this idea that almost everyone should be allowed to drive. Why? Its a skill where lapses in concentration, slow reactions, or just not being very good at it can have terminal concequences for 3rd parties. If we just took the bottom 20% of people in terms of capability off the road, we'd have probably fewer than half the fatalities we get now.

          1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

            Re: Auto-crash-pilot

            I'm not sure its even that far. At 30mph every modern (this millennium) saloon car will stop in its own length when doing an emergency stop, provided tyres, brakes, and shocks are working. I could see 40 requiring an extra car length, maybe 2, but an extra 3 car lengths sounds too far to me.

            I was basing it on simple math given the 40 mph and 2 seconds to stop while assuming constant deceleration. Simply put x = v0*t + 0.5*a*t^2 where v0 = 40 mph (58.67 ft/s), a = -20 mph/s (-29.33 ft/s^2), and t = 2 s which gives 58.67 and I rounded to 60 feet. Sure, I get the braking king is somewhere around 90 feet for a 60-0 stop (that's over 1.3 g deceleration) but those tests are typically done in near ideal conditions and also measure from the instant the brake is hit which takes the wetware out of the equation. I would expect a typical modern car to manage about 1 g deceleration which works out to about 120 feet from 60, 53 feet from 40, and 30 feet from 30 but as you say there are many other factors which impact that and I'm sure Tesla's recommended 45 psi tire inflation pressure is good for range but probably not ideal for stopping.

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        "The issue of whether you'd have time time to take over from autopilot in time is a bit moot, if the autopilot actually did as well or better than a human driver would have."

        Coincidently, I was listening to a podcast of BBC R4 Inside Science in the car and the episode included a section on semi-autonomous cars and the inherent dangers of drivers not paying full attention. Some guy from Southampton University had a full vision driving simulator set up with semi-autonomous driving, but deliberately a poor one designed to make mistakes. Even when the victims were told this, they still relied on the AI to control the car until it "crashed" because they were unable to regain control the first few time.

        He also mention the Tesla that crashed into the truck crossing the road. He said it was because of the angle of view, the Tesla saw it as an overhead gantry and so ignored it as it was supposed to do (I'm guessing that the car only "saw" the truck chassis and not the white body against the white/bright sky). I that's true, then it confirms that the AI is no where near as good as a human at "seeing" what's in front of it. People can see a different, unusual or even a never-before-seen thing in front of them and immediately correlate it it with experience and deal with it.

    5. 0laf Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      I wonder if the problem here is the question being asked?

      Rather than highlighting the crash "ooh look in this situation the Tesla would crash" should we not be asking "in this situation did the Tesla do the right thing"?

      If I was driving the properly, with no assistance, I would be aware of the traffic around me in all four directions and presented with this I would know if I could dive right, left or should brake (driving properly remember).

      (but really if I was driving properly I might well have been aware of the obstruction from half a mile away if I was looking ahead and had a line of sight)

      Does the autopilot on the Tesla have awareness of the road users around it or is braking its only choice? Or would the majority of human drivers be be lax in knowing what's ahead and unable to brake as hard as the Tesla (recent news ignored) and would have the same accident but more energetically.

      In this case is the Tesla's response statistically safer by still having an accident but at lower energies?

      I'm no great fan of driving assistance beyond active cruise. I agree with the studies that show if the driver isn't requires to be in control their concentration will go. I think that just seems to be the way we are made. So either very little assistance or full automation. The Tesla half way option seems to be the worst most dangerous choice.

      1. jmch Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        "Does the autopilot on the Tesla have awareness of the road users around it or is braking its only choice? Or would the majority of human drivers be be lax in knowing what's ahead and unable to brake as hard as the Tesla ..."

        Typically even on a fairly straight road I can see through the windows or around the sides of the car ahead to see 2 or 3 cars ahead, unless (as is getting more popular) they have darkened back windows, or it's a big truck - in which case I anyway keep a larger gap than usual. At night or in a tunnel it's usually possible to see brake lights lighting up from leading cars from a long way away.

        It's not simply a question of whether you are using radar, lidar, or 'normal' cameras, it matters much more how you can process that information, and it seems like these systems are still a long way from correctly building up a correct picture of the situation of their surroundings

    6. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      After you realised that the car wasn't going to do anything.

      What kind of prat waits for the car to decide? This is exactly the kind of complacency that is the problem.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        > What kind of prat waits for the car to decide?

        This is the core problem with the current system.

        "Drivers" won't be paying as much attention to the road with AP engaged as they would be without it. If they have to then why bother with AP at all if it ain't saving you any effort. But even if you try to concentrate most drivers simply won't be able to keep their attention on the road with AP engaged as they would be without it as they won't be needing to make all the regular adjustments that are normally required while behind the wheel.

        My feeling is that this system shows a basic lack of understanding real people.

      2. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        What kind of prat waits for the car to decide?

        Probably anyone who is in a Tesla on autopilot. If you don't trust the car to drive, you'll probably never use the feature. If you do, you have an expectation that the car will drive correctly and safely, an expectation that will be reinforced every time it does the right thing. After a relatively short time, you'll be seeing obstacles and hazards and believing the car will deal with them because it already has n times.

        "Irving, there's a hole in the moon!"

        "Relax Myra. It'll be charted. We'll be programmed to go around it"

        We all know how well that worked out.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          I thought the auto-driving car did fine - realising a crash was imminent, it drove safely into that giant white airbag someone had thoughtfully left on the road...

      3. LucreLout Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        What kind of prat waits for the car to decide? This is exactly the kind of complacency that is the problem.

        Quite. I wonder if overriding the Autopilot incurs some form of extra charge to own the vehicle, because I can;t for the lfie of me understand why the human is giving the system priority when they can see a hazard developing they ought to be getting involved in the game without delay.

        So you applied the brake not the Autopilot. Did the world end? Were kittens/puppys/bunnies exploded at the road side? Has it broken your car? No, so WTF were you waiting for?

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      How long till people start to workout how to do this in the real world. Pick up a Tesla on your tail and then dump it into something by playing chicken?

    8. Steve Hersey

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      Change lanes. The car ahead did exactly that. Of course, a more mature and fully functional autopilot would ALSO have just changed lanes...

    9. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ
      FAIL

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      From what I can see by the video and others have pointed out, the demonstration was set up to fail, but that's not the point.

      The driver did NOTHING. The driver just let the cars computer decide what to do. But I was under the impression that the driver assist was just that, an assist, to take over if your concentration fails and it can react where you have failed. If the computer cannot react in time then its still your fault, you should have been concentrating in the first place. If you wait to see if the computer does something then you should be banned off the roads... for life...

      How the system should work is that when the car pulls out revealing that statutory car, the DRIVER should break hard. The computer should assist by assisting that braking with something to stop the wheels locking, something like ABS, it should detect your emergency stop and provide the most effective stop the car is capable of. IF you attempt to swerve to avoid hitting it and its not safe to pull out, for example there is a car along side, then it should prevent you from pulling out.. but also, IF it detects that there is nothing there you could collide with, it should attempt to steer you around, and to be clear ONLY if its 100% safe.

      Back to that demonstration, you are supposed to drive with a minimum safe gap that you can stop your car in, if the car in front should suddenly go from whatever speed its doing to stationary in a instant. people say that its a bulshit scenario, as cars cannot just go from 40 to 0 in 0.1 of a second. but this video shows exactly how that can happen in a real world situation and what happens if you don't maintain that gap.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        > something like ABS, it should detect your emergency stop and provide the most effective stop the car is capable of.

        That's not what ABS does, ABS just cadence brakes for you only it's able to detect when a wheel loses grip and stops that wheel actually braking until there is a chance to regain grip when it will re-apply the brake effort. A proper ABS system should be able to do this many times more quickly than a human driver.

        What you sound like you are describing is emergency brake assist where the computer decides you are doing an emergency stop and then takes over and brakes as hard as it can, relying on an ABS system to avoid locking up the wheels and loosing braking efficiency. The idea is that often drivers don't brake hard enough or scare themselves at how violently the car brakes when they do hit the peddle hard that they back off and don't slow enough to avoid hitting things.

        Emergency brake assist systems can be a total PITA. The Mrs' Merc has this and if you move your foot too quickly from the accelerator to the brake peddle it guesses you're emergency braking and tries to pull a full blown stop. So unless you're careful you find the car doing crazy things while you drive moderately quickly down country lanes, where it is normal to move your foot quickly but only apply minimal pressure. Once the stupid computer has got it into its tiny mind you want to stop you have to completely remove you foot from the brake peddle before it will give you control of the car back.

        1. pɹɐʍoɔ snoɯʎuouɐ

          Re: Auto-crash-pilot

          "That's not what ABS does,"

          I know ABS does not provide the most effective braking directly... but it does prevent the wheels from locking which will allow you to steer around an object, and also, if your wheels lock you loose grip affectively lengthening your stopping distance. which is why I said something LIKE....

          I have heard all sorts of tales about the current breed of emergency brake assists, and in your wife's merc its a poor implementation. just going from what you are doing with your feet is not enough information. But put that system with the observation systems similar to whats in the tesla cars and a simple logical line of code...

          IF (stationaryObject < 10m && (acceleratorGas=off && breakAppliedForce=hard)) { // perform emergency stop }

    10. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

      Re: Auto-crash-pilot

      Also importantly it looks like the Tesla is poor at braking. I wouldn't leave it that late to brake from the car in front in the first example, and if I cannot see ahead of the car in front and it brakes, I brake too pretty much regardless of distance - doesn't look like the Tesla does that. There is sufficient time to brake hard, and to swerve into the next lane which does have room (or are we now looking at the extreme example that the car in front magically has space to swerve into, and you do not?).

      If a car in front of you brakes, you brake as well because you don't know what it has seen. If it carries on doing odd things, and it's not a case of the brake lights failing, time to drop way back or get in front of them in case they're an accident waiting to happen.

      I can't stand all these driver assistance aids, even automatic lights are pretty annoying. Cruise control is the only item that might be useful, and even that isn't always perfect. Rain sensitive wipers are never quite right. Reversing sensors are useful, but proximity sensors when driving along occasionally get things wrong and actively distract from being able to to study the road.

      1. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: Auto-crash-pilot

        > I can't stand all these driver assistance aids, even automatic lights are pretty annoying. Cruise control is the only item that might be useful, and even that isn't always perfect. Rain sensitive wipers are never quite right. Reversing sensors are useful, but proximity sensors when driving along occasionally get things wrong and actively distract from being able to to study the road.

        The roads over here are rarely quiet enough to contemplate cruise control but most cars that have cruise control can also be set to use it as a speed limiter and this I do find much more useful.

        Your point about rain sensitive wipers I find interesting. The Mrs' previous car had them and they worked really well, after 150K miles we upgraded it for couple of generations newer model and the wipers are no where near as good as the previous ones. I assume that the earlier one was a first generation and the solution the engineers had found wasn't too cheap, so the bean counters sent them back to the drawing board and told them to find a cheaper way to implement the function according to the 80/20 rule.

        We don't care if it's only 80% as effective so long as it only cost 20% of the working version.

  3. Hans 1 Silver badge
    WTF?

    The autopilot is not an autopilot ?

    What the f*ck, YES IT IS JUST THAT.

    The problem is, people confuse autonomous drive with autopilot.

    In an aircraft, the autopilot will not avoid flocks of birds, for example, the human pilot can, provided he sees them soon enough to react.

    Tesla announced a new roadster last year, overhyped sure (not here or I missed an article), but, apparently, 620 miles range, 0-60 mph in 1.9 seconds and 250 mph top speed (that is just the base model!) ... you better keep both AND your hands on that wheel AND your eyes on the road ...

    1. Steve Button

      Re: The autopilot is not an autopilot ?

      Sorry but people will do that. No point being pedantic about it, if people get into the habit of thinking the car is driving for them, some people will forget they might need to take over. Call it what you like, but many people WILL confuse autopilot for autonomous drive.

      That's why we have guards on heavy machinery. Some people will get overconfident and stick their hands in at the wrong moment while the machine is working, thinking they can quickly remove a blockage or something. People WILL do stupid things, guaranteed. It doesn't do much good to say after the accident "We told them not to do this in the manual, so they weren't doing it wrong".

    2. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: The autopilot is not an autopilot ?

      In an aircraft, the autopilot will not avoid flocks of birds, for example, the human pilot can, provided he sees them soon enough to react.

      True to an extent for light aircraft that are slow and agile, with big windscreens and fewer distractions, but as you imply less so for fast or large aircraft where there isn't the time to react between sighting birds and hitting them. Indeed, United 1549 was on autopilot when it hit the birds that brought it down, and the pilots only saw the birds at the last minute (as you'd expect at around 200 mph).

      But that's an interesting comparison - how good is any AV at interpreting sudden "threats" and the potential actions? Can it tell the difference between a large unpredictable and (from the drivers point of view) expendable bird, a dog, or a small child, and act accordingly? Can it balance the risks of swerving to avoid an object it may not be able to accurately identify?

      The second point is from your link, and that 1549 and some of the recent AV crashes show, the initial incident is over by the time the meat sacks are ready to respond. And in the case of AF447, then meatsacks never got their act together in four and half minutes.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: The autopilot is not an autopilot ?

        And in the case of AF447, then meatsacks never got their act together in four and half minutes.

        Because it was dark, had no visual confirmation (of outside environment and of each other's movements, and they were being bombarded by beepers and flashers left and right? I believe that they couldn't have ever gotten their act together under these circumstances!

        1. Jos V

          Re: The autopilot is not an autopilot ?

          A bit OT there, but "Because it was dark, had no visual confirmation" means your flying on Instrument Flight Rules. Key word being INSTRUMENT there.

          The first officer was pilot flying and interpreted the situation wrong, and pulled the aircraft into a stall.

          It also didn't help that the Captain tried to control the situation, but resulting in both pilots trying to to do opposite actions, which in an Airbus of the type, just cancels each out (one nose down, the other nose up, resulting in a neutral position, which was already up). You do get an aural warning "Dual input", and a red light saying the same on the glareshield, but both ignored it, for the most part of the way down. In other words, CRM was part to blame.

          The aircraft was perfectly flyable otherwise...

    3. Alphebatical
      Facepalm

      Re: The autopilot is not an autopilot ?

      > "The problem is, people confuse autonomous drive with autopilot."

      Pedantry isn't a defense: Tesla needs to be held to the standard the average consumer expects when they hear the term. When you factor that in, it's patently false advertising - which would be bad enough on its own, but the fact that Tesla uses fewer, lower quality sensors than cars with no more than automatic braking on top is unjustifiably reckless at best.

  4. SVV Silver badge

    Quality testers

    "the car suddenly and for no apparent reason tried to swerve off the road sharply,..... This happened twice 45 minutes apart in similar conditions".

    Well, perhaps when it happened the first time, you might have thought to turn it off and regard it as extremely dangerous, rather than blithely carrying on using it and being surprised that a computer can make the exact same mistake more than once if the mistake hasn't been fixed.

    Neer mind, Elon is now taliking about enough issues being fixed that they can move to full self driving. So who are you going to trust more, him or your wildy erratic death trap?

    1. Rob D. Bronze badge
      Angel

      Re: Quality testers

      Heavenly support: Hello, we are the Angels of Tesla(*). How may I assist?

      Recently deceased user: I seem to have died when the car swerved off the road and hit a tree with Autopilot engaged.

      Heavenly support: I'm very sorry to hear about that. We take our testing very seriously so what you describe sounds extremely unusual. Would you mind rebooting the car and driving the same section of road again to see if it works this time?

      (* - Only available with Premium support.)

  5. Santa from Exeter

    Autopilot == Audi Driver

    To quote "The autopilot is not able to decide to let the car slightly ahead on the neighboring lane go ahead"

    Just like a meatsack Audi driver then.

    1. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Autopilot == Audi Driver

      I was thinking the same about BMW drivers!

      Signed

      ForthIsNotDead

      (Jag driver)

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Autopilot == Audi Driver

        I was thinking the same about BMW drivers!

        Over the last 20 years or so, the "usual" BMW driver has moved over to Audi. I tend to give both White Vans and gleaming White Audis a clear berth. 20 years ago, I used keep a lookout for BMW X5's - they are no longer the menace they were.

        Probably worth keeping a lookout for Teslas in case the driver has switched to idiot mode and the increased risk of an incident with other road users.

        1. commonsense

          Re: Autopilot == Audi Driver

          "20 years ago, I used keep a lookout for BMW X5's"

          The BMW X5 was launched in 1999. I know they say that good drivers look a long way ahead.

          1. David Nash Silver badge

            Re: Autopilot == Audi Driver

            ""20 years ago, I used keep a lookout for BMW X5's"

            The BMW X5 was launched in 1999. I know they say that good drivers look a long way ahead."

            So it was approximately 20 years ago then. What's your point?

          2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Autopilot == Audi Driver

            The BMW X5 was launched in 1999. I know they say that good drivers look a long way ahead.

            I gave up keeping up with the latest in terms car ranges a long time ago - I drive a 26 year old car for a start. So, I'll defer to your pendant's knowledge here.

            As for "good drivers look a long way ahead", don't forget the rear!

      2. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: Autopilot == Audi Driver

        I think we've moved on from BMW to Audi and now the assholes are in newish Landrover Discoveries and Range Rovers.

        Sorry if you drive one but if I've got someone right up my chuff it's normally one of those big 4x4s.

        (BMW Driver)

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Autopilot == Audi Driver

          The image and marketing of certain marques does seem to attract a certain "type".

          It was the BMW asshole until the Kris Bangle era, they they were not impressed with his styling moved en masse over to Audi. 1 out of every 2 times I see someone doing something idiotic, selfish, or impatient pointless tailgaiting, weaving and overtaking it will be an Audi. Particularly the lowly A3 so beloved of chavs. Jags and Land Rovers are increasingly getting involved, probably a gained a few PCP customers from Audi.

  6. Steve Button

    Crash Test Dummies.

    It's shocking really as Tesla are doing a massive beta test with this software, and someone has died as a consequence. And they then try to blame that person.

    Inevitably when you have autopilot engaged you will start to lose concentration and start to learn to let the car do the driving. This will happen even if you've got your hands on the wheel and you are looking straight ahead. You will start to get complacent and trust the car. At this point you will lose valuable time, if the car doesn't do what it's supposed to and you need to take over. You will have to re-focus and evaluate the situation around you, which you probably aren't prepared for.

    Just better hope there aren't too many fatalities before the software gets good enough. And by good enough, I mean something like 10x safer than a human.

    Even when it's 10x safer, you are still going to be rightly upset if one of your loved ones gets killed by mis-behaving software.

    Still, once we get over this hump it's going to be super safe and everyone will forget what all the fuss was about.

    1. Craig 2

      Re: Crash Test Dummies.

      "Inevitably when you have autopilot engaged you will start to lose concentration and start to learn to let the car do the driving"

      This is the real crux of the matter. What is the point of "autopilot" if you can't reduce concentration by some degree? If Tesla say you require 100% attention even when on autopilot then it's effectively pointless.

      1. Test Man

        Re: Crash Test Dummies.

        Not really pointless - it ensures you keep within the lanes, for example i.e. correcting your minor steering errors and stopping you from straying over. That's the point, not to defer concentration.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Crash Test Dummies.

          i.e. correcting your minor steering errors and stopping you from straying over. That's the point, not to defer concentration.

          If I have to concentrate just as hard when the car's in autopilot, there's not really much point, is there? There's little or no physical effort in driving a mid range to premium car, the only point in automation is to enable the driver to relax. Look at cruise control - nice to have, convenient if used appropriately, but makes little difference to the mental exertion of a competent and attentive driver.

          In fact, if the driver has to SUPERVISE the autopilot there's more effort, since they need to evaluate what's going on with the road and traffic, establish expectations for what the car is doing versus what they believe it should be doing, and preparing to dive and snatch control if those last two start to deviate. Which means that Tesla's much vaunted autopilot is permanently like a teenager on a fourth driving lesson - it knows the basics, but hasn't the skill or experience to be trusted, and the car's meatsack driver has to be permanently alert to the need to intervene. On a car costing around £75-150k that's deeply unimpressive, since I could be paid to have the same wearing and sometimes near death experience by buying a £12k Citroen C3 and setting up Ledswinger's School of Bad Driving.

        2. Craig 2

          Re: Crash Test Dummies.

          " it ensures you keep within the lanes,"

          If you can't stay inside the lane then you're either A: Not concentrating or B: A terrible driver. In either case, autopilot just encourages that type of behaviour.

      2. Matt 18

        Re: Crash Test Dummies.

        Ding ding ding!

        Who asked for it? Is it for increasing "safety"? People without AP cars can still do a lot of damage to my AP vehicle I reckon.

        The whole thing is dangerous, and pointless.

      3. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Crash Test Dummies.

        This is the real crux of the matter. What is the point of "autopilot" if you can't reduce concentration by some degree? If Tesla say you require 100% attention even when on autopilot then it's effectively pointless.

        It isn't so you can reduce your concentration, it is to ease the cognitive load so that more of that concentration can be applied to more important things, like paying attention to hazards.

        For example, a cruise control doesn't reduce the amount of total concentration needed. It means that that part of the drivers concentration that was diverted to maintaining their speed could be diverted to other areas. More attention span is now available for monitoring other hazards. It also reduces the physical load on the body that can then cause additional distractions. On long-distance drives (most I've driven in a day is ~1400km) my foot can become cramped on the throttle maintaining a constant speed for hours on end. Getting a cramp, or sore foot, or twinge can add additional distractions. With cruise control this became much less of an issue.

        As with these super-cruise control systems, if you can have it maintain the distance between you and the vehicle in front, you don't have to waste a portion of your concentration to keeping that separation - adjusting speed, etc. Now you can allocate more processing time to watching for people changing lanes unexpectedly, or entering the road unexpectedly, or animals running across the road, keeping an eye on pedestrians or other road-side hazards that may become in-road hazards (kids ducking out onto the road).

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Crash Test Dummies.

          "maintaining a constant speed for hours on end."

          Do you mind if I ask where? I rarely get more than 300 miles in one day, my "record" is 500 miles. It's rare that that is all on motorway, but even doing 150-200 miles on one long road it's rare to do more than 10 miles or so at anything like a constant speed here in the UK. There's always a reason to be speeding up, slowing down, changing lanes etc :-)

    2. Hans 1 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Crash Test Dummies.

      It's shocking really as Tesla are doing a massive beta test with this software, and someone has died as a consequence. And they then try to blame that person.

      That person did not have hands on wheel and eyes on road, blame Tesla all you like, he did not follow instructions.

      I do agree, Tesla drivers are alpha testers, yes ...

      I also think Elon is a bit too optimistic, autonomous driving will take years of development still, and years of highway maintenance work ...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crash Test Dummies.

      It's shocking really as Tesla are doing a massive beta test with this software,

      You could just as easily write

      It's shocking really as Microsoft are doing a massive beta test with this software,

      Or most software companies these days for that matter. Sad fact of life really...

      Thankfully MS don't make cars (phew)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Crash Test Dummies.

        "Sad fact of life really..."

        All true but with cars it's more like life and death.

    4. ArrZarr Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Crash Test Dummies.

      Why does it need to be 10x safer? 2x safer is a huge improvement.

      What I haven't seen is the number of Tesla autopilot miles that have been racked up compared to the number of deaths (3 now?) compared to the number of manual pilot miles that have been driven compared to the number of deaths in a country (probably the US at this stage) from that driving, as this will give us some good, hard data on miles per death/crash ratio.

      Although, something that I've never seen brought up in these discussions is how computers think* differently to humans. When a Tesla crashes on autopilot, it's always seen as something utterly stupid that any human driver would have avoided but what we'll never get data on is the number of crashes that didn't happen because it turns out that computers are much better at avoiding that kind of accident than people.

      1. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: Crash Test Dummies.

        The computer would eliminate accidents through inattention. inc drink/drugs. So those idiots that drift across lanes without looking or overtake on blind corners, pull out without looking etc.

        The computer won't make those mistakes.

        What they'll be less good at is dealing with the unusual circumstances that pop up quite often. Most of us are used to adapting and driving around those problems.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          Re: Crash Test Dummies.

          The computer won't make those mistakes.

          My long experience of working in and around IT watching all manner of erroneous outcomes persuades me that you are wrong.

          Computers often deliver undesired outcomes, from faults in hardware, firmware, drivers, operating systems, applications or sensors. Or simply because the system design is crap. Or because they are fed corrupt or incorrect data, and process it as per the hard coded instructions. Or because the operating environment was outside the design parameters of the system.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Crash Test Dummies.

          "The computer would eliminate accidents through inattention. inc drink/drugs."

          They'd eliminate a sub-set of those accidents - those that arise from things they're programmed to deal with such as keeping lane. The drunk, drugged or over-tired driver will find accident opportunities other than those they've been spared.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Crash Test Dummies.

            "They'd eliminate a sub-set of those accidents - those that arise from things they're programmed to deal with such as keeping lane."

            I wonder how they'll deal with the odd things falling off the backs of lorries such as badly fitted straps with big metal buckles? Or lumps of wood and other miscellaneous objects often seen in live lanes, many of which could at least burst a tyre or cause other damage.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Crash Test Dummies.

      "Still, once we get over this hump it's going to be super safe"

      There's an assumption built into that statement.

  7. Rob D. Bronze badge

    I was only following orders

    Waiting for the first court case where death by dangerous driving is the charge leveled and the defence is that the car made me do it.

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: I was only following orders

      There was a documentary about that. 'Christine', I think it was called.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pedant Alert

    "...an A road (a two-lane undivided highway for our readers abroad)"

    "A" road is a classification that indicates the road's importance for the routing of traffic. While there is a broad expectation that "A" roads will be of a higher standard and capacity that "B" roads there are no rules as such.

    There are many "A" roads that are 3 lanes in each direction with a central reservation and barrier. There are also many "A" roads that are single lane in each direction with no central barrier.

    Some "A" roads are of a sufficiently high standard that some call them "Motorways" even though they are not.

    There is also an officially classified Motorway that has no central divider.

    1. Stork Bronze badge

      Re: Pedant Alert

      I was told there is even a one lane a-road with passing places somewhere in Scotland

      1. AdamT

        Re: Pedant Alert

        Isle of Mull? A849: https://goo.gl/maps/5rz7CLD54rJ2

        Once you get used to it you can maintain a decent average speed and synchronise swerving into the passing spots with the oncoming traffic without having to slow too much...

        1. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: Pedant Alert

          @ AdamT

          The hassle on Mull is not so much the other cars, more the suicidal sheep (& occasional deer) with their attraction for the road! - night driving better as less livestock issues.

          They run a nice rally around Mull BTW

    2. Calum Morrison

      Re: Pedant Alert

      Two lanes? Pah! This is the A838 near Durness on the NW coast, otherwise known as the NC500.

      https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@58.5505817,-4.6824302,3a,75y,104.81h,70.99t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sXF22bSdDRuv48DemA6QUfQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en-GB

      That's a passing place on the left.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Pedant Alert

        "Two lanes? Pah! This is the A838 near Durness on the NW coast, otherwise known as the NC500."

        Apart from the very beautiful coastline that road is wider than the one I often use to get home when other routes are congested in eastern England. They are fairly normal.

      2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Pedant Alert

        I raise your S2 and give you an S20.

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Pedant Alert

          I knew it was there somewhere:

          a seven-lane SINGLE carriagway road that is also a motorway!

    3. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

      Re: Pedant Alert

      Some "A" roads are of a sufficiently high standard that some call them "Motorways" even though they are not.

      The sections of the A1 called "A1(M)" are of sufficiently motorway-like character that the law treats them as motorways (e.g. no stopping, no bicycles, no L plates except HGVs, etc.)

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        Re: Pedant Alert

        "The sections of the A1 called "A1(M)" are of sufficiently motorway-like character that the law treats them as motorways (e.g. no stopping, no bicycles, no L plates except HGVs, etc.)"

        And uses the term "Non-Motorway Traffic" on signs directing such vehicles away from it.

        I think we can safely say that they are indeed motorways.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Pedant Alert

          The A1M sections of the A1 are indeed motorways. I think they do it like this because it's Motorway through Hertfordshire, then changes to A road in Bedfordshire where it passes front doors (Sandy) and side roads and has roundabouts etc. Then goes back to motroway up by Huntingdon.

        2. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Pedant Alert

          "I think we can safely say that they are indeed motorways."

          Anything with an M, whether M1 or A1(M), is a motorway. The A - (M) designation is for a former A-road that was upgraded, but keeps its originally numbering. Motorways do not need central dividers, but this is rare, e.g., A38(M) in central Birmingham (a.k.a., Aston Expressway).

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Pedant Alert

          "And uses the term "Non-Motorway Traffic" on signs directing such vehicles away from it."

          And for good reason too! There are multiple sections of the A1 which are proper motorway standard and designated A1(M). It would be confusing to name those sections as an M road since they are "disjointed" and there's already an M1. Even more confusing would be the junction in Nth Yorks where the M1 ends as it merges with the A1(M) between Leeds and York :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pedant Alert

        "The sections of the A1 called 'A1(M)' are of sufficiently motorway-like character that the law treats them as motorways (e.g. no stopping, no bicycles, no L plates except HGVs, etc.)"

        Roads with the designation Ax(M) are not only *treated* as Motorways, they *are* Motorways. Virtually the only thing that makes a Motorway a Motorway is its classification as such, which mostly relates to the restrictions you point out (no stopping, no bicycles, no pedestrians etc). The Motorway designation does not guarantee any standard of construction. There are plenty of Motorways with no hard shoulders (not even "smart" ones), single lanes, single carriageways, entry/exits on the right, traffic lights, roundabouts etc.

        In my original Pedant post, I when I was talking of "A" roads that some thought of as Motorway but weren't, I was thinking of roads like the A3 [not A3(M)] which in places has long stretches of three lanes each way plus hard shoulders and central reservation with barrier but is most definitely not classified as a Motorway.

        The Ax(M) designation is typically used when an Ax road is partially upgraded to Motorway over part of its distance, particularly when there is already a separate Mx Motorway with the same number. For example, there is the A3(M) which is a section of the A3, upgraded to Motorway, not to be confused with the M3, which is a completely separate road. Similarly for the A1/A1(M) not to be confused with the M1. Its a mess which has reached its zenith (or perhaps nadir) with the M74/A74(M). Although most people call this the M74, in fact much of its length from Carlisle to somewhere south of Glasgow is actually the A74(M). You can see this on many signs. During the 80s and 90s the old A74 over this section was upgraded from A74 to A74(M) in inline sections until the whole route was done. It has retained this designation despite there being no inline or separate A74 road.

        I should get out more.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Pedant Alert

          No, stay in and read this instead!

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Pedant Alert

      "There are many "A" roads that are 3 lanes in each direction with a central reservation and barrier."

      And a few with just 3 lanes, one each way and a suicide lane in the middle.

  9. spold Bronze badge

    New auto-nag

    Hmmm new term - auto-nag, anyway...

    >>> with one UK driver claiming that his 2018 Model S tried to swerve off to one side on an A road

    I guess the simple fix will be a new message every 30 seconds saying "DO NOT press the button marked Scenic Route".

  10. ForthIsNotDead Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Hey Tesla, I'm not beta-testing your software for you...

    ...with my kids in the back.

    Fuck off.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hey Tesla, I'm not beta-testing your software for you...

      Of course not!

      However, your kids are beta-testing when they cross the road in front of a Tesla.

      Maybe they will add T&C to accept before you are allowed to use sidewalks? Not allowed before they turn 13, however, so just buy a bigger stroller in the meantime.

  11. This post has been deleted by its author

  12. Giovani Tapini

    Does tesla collect system records or incident information?

    If said example above says car suddenly tried to take me off road, do they go to twitter and join the bandwagon or do they provide information back to the Tesla (or does the car do this anyway?)

    It is highly likely that weird patterns will be discovered by the car's systems interpreting certain shaped rocks as cats, or losing GPS accuracy.

    I don't really want to defend Tesla too much, however any system can only have its rules improved if feedback is received. Same as any other software project (albeit they are not usually life and death...)

    I have no idea on the above, but it does seem to be rather an easy target to just report something weird happened and watch the feeding frenzy of me-too's

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Does tesla collect system records or incident information?

      So do your testing as a milk float, a golf buggy, a shopping centre kid's train ride (avoiding pedestrians), a shopping trolley, a car park attendant / valet, etc.

      Not on a motorway at 70mph with everyone else.

      "But it's different". Maybe. But if it can't be trusted to negotiate a trolley around ASDAs, like hell am I gonna let it drive me up to Scotland.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Does tesla collect system records or incident information?

        But that's a Catch-22. The ONLY way to test it on a real road is to put it on a real road, just like with humans. There is no substitute. Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Does tesla collect system records or incident information?

          "Ain't nothin' like the real thing, baby."

          You are absolutely right there. Tesla's Autopilot is nothing like the real thing.

    2. Geoff Campbell
      Boffin

      Re: Does tesla collect system records or incident information?

      Very much so. The autopilot collects and reports detailed information every time the driver over-rides it.

      There's also a second neural net that is constantly operating in "ghost mode", observing the road and making decisions just like autopilot (but without actioning them) and comparing those decisions to what the meatsack is doing at the time. This is used to train the primary software, over time.

      GJC

  13. Peter Godfrey

    When you drive with Autopilot

    You have numerous little warnings that its not quite right. The worst is it ignores cones inside a white line and will run you in to them. I presume this is not a common scenario in the states, so its not been learnt on UK roads. That said I can't imagine any situation where if someone pulls out in front of you, yards from a stationary object on a long motorway drive, you won't crash into it with or without an autopilot. Also known as motorway pileups. I would think the person doing such a thing would be up for dangerous driving charge?

  14. techmind

    Really...

    "On an 'A' road drive today in dry, clear weather using Autopilot on a stretch of straight, clear, flat well marked road at 40mph"

    It's one thing using Autopilot on a motorway, but on a small A-road with junctions and cyclists....

    Does the Tesla even have the technology to detect pedal-cyclists?

    I think I'd better get a move on with fitting a radar retro-reflector to my bicycle.

    1. Credas Silver badge

      Re: Really...

      With simpler cars you don't have to - my Golf only has a simple radar for its ACC, but it's perfectly able to detect bicycles and slow down behind them. Tesla seems to be coming undone because of its reliance on vision systems and their failure to correctly interpret the scene in front of them.

  15. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Could someone please tell the press?

    Only this morning I heard a matter-of-fact by-the-by on Radio 4 - "Now that self-driving cars are commonplace".

    They aren't.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Could someone please tell the press?

      Only this morning I heard a matter-of-fact by-the-by on Radio 4 - "Now that self-driving cars are commonplace".

      A certain degree of self driving is an option on all of the cars I'm considering at the moment.

  16. Rob Crawford

    What that software with bugs

    Well who would have considered such a thing.

    I'm wondering how this software gets written considering Github doesn't have a whole lot of autonomous car projects to copy and paste from ;P

  17. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Potential safety update

    I would suggest a total solution to this 'issue' is the August update containing "You are the driver, you did the test, you are in control. If you can't be arsed to drive, get a taxi or a train or a bus and let someone else do it ..."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Potential safety update

      So if the bus doesn't run in my area and cabs cost more than I can afford, I'm essentially SOL?

  18. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    There's only one way to settle this: Top Gear (old version) style!

    Google and Uber will set their cars off around a track at some pre-determined speed. These will be doing the same job as the little black car did on that first slotless "scalextric-like" racing set back in the late 70s - getting in the way.

    Then two of the idiots (Hammond and Clarkson for best comedy) set off in Teslas with autopilot engaged.

    Meanwhile, James May will, from the cabin of a hyrdogen-filled blimp flying on real GPS/SatNav-enabled autopilot overhead, attempt to take out each Tesla with a high speed hex-copter drone. Can he do it before either of the idiots hits a block car (or the other idiot in a Tesla), or will his blimp - saddled with a crucial +/- 50 feet margin of positional error, hit the encircling power lines and immolate him first?

    Now I'm sure some OCD-riddled commentard will point out that this test will prove nothing useful with regard to the Tesla autopilot feature, but to this I respond "What do you expect? It's a Top Gear test FFS!"

  19. Howard Hanek
    Happy

    Market Solution

    Insurance premiums WILL solve the 'dilema' of what to 'do' about self driving cars.

  20. batfink

    The Merc solution

    Apparently the new Merc S-Class has "driver assistance functions", and, like the Tesla, monitors whether you've actually got your hands on the wheel, BUT the difference with the Merc is that it takes action when it detects you haven't done anything for a while.

    This includes stopping the car, unlocking it and calling its emergency number, all on the assumption that you've probably died, because as you're driving an S-Class you're clearly a heart attack risk.

    Not sure whether it actually pulls over or just stops you in your current lane (no doubt the fast one). The latter would then become exciting very quickly...

    1. 's water music Silver badge

      Re: The Merc solution

      Not sure whether it actually pulls over or just stops you in your current lane (no doubt the fast one). The latter would then become exciting very quickly...

      I dunno, how long is going to be before a Tesla comes along and barrels into the back of your Merc? You don't see that many of them on the road yet.

  21. Donchik

    This is the crux of the matter: https://youtu.be/7phGegNjZL8?t=13m12s

    BBC Horizon (1986) - The Wrong Stuff "We've got it the wrong way round" quote relating to Aircraft computer automation in the cockpit.

    They learnt this back in the 80's why will Musk et. al. not at least research the human machine interface before creating these "Death Traps"

  22. baceman

    Latest update has neutered AP

    Tesla just sent out an over the air update earlier this week. They are clearly overreacting with the recent tweaks. Autopilot is almost non existent now. Only 30 seconds between touches and the distance between cars (on a 1 car gap) is now almost 3 cars. Impossible to use on the highway with this update. Cars keep cutting in front of you and folks behind honking because you now have such a large gap. Soooooo frustrating. The main cool feature has now been completely neutered. Bye bye autopilot. You’ll never be the same. We’ll miss you immeasurably.

  23. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    An A-road isn't a two-lane undivided highway, a two-lane undivided A-road is a two-lane undivided A-road. A Two-lane divided A-road is a two-lane divided A-road, a three-land divided A-road is a three-lane divided A-road. A single-lane divided A-road is a single-lane divided A-road. An A-road is an A-road, nothing more and nothing less, the number of lanes it has and whether the carriageways are divided or not is completely and utterly irrelevant to whether the road is an A-road or not.

  24. Toltec

    ACC question

    I've never even driven a car with adaptive cruise control so I'm curious to know if a car equipped with it would stop in time in the same situation?

    Or is it only a Tesla that would crash?

  25. Dr. Heinrich Backhausen

    Old but useful rules

    Hmmm,

    in the old days when experimental ory rule,started entering the streets, there was the mandatoty

    rule in some areas, that a bod swaying a bell had to run beforehand of it, just to warn everyone of the approaching danger.

    Maybe Tesla , i.e. His Godlike Muskness takes up the idea??!!!

    P.S.: Assistance systems that work quite well are around for long, for instance AMG models (which Teslascan't keep from easily following them on german highways ;-) :-) with a well functioning Distronic, these days in overhauled version in standard Mercedes. So what is the problem you have , Your Godlike Muskness??

  26. Hoe

    Mile per crash for Human's is far, far higher than Mile per crash for Autonomous but that doesn't seem to be newsworthy.

    That said I get the concern and it's rightful as there is still a number of unsolved issues some of which are pretty damn big and important and I am not sure Tesla can be trusted to police this roll out which is how it appears to be happening.

  27. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    I'd happily pay $800 to not have one...

    Tesla should offer an option to explicitly remove all this dangerous nonsense. What if one's teenager borrows the car, accidentally or intentionally turns it on, and is somehow killed?

    As with my slightly-famous UPS Rant, I'd happily pay an extra $800 to have a Tesla without any Autopilot. Not that I'm planning to buy a Tesla anytime soon.

    To be clear, same thing applies to any of these present-day self-crashing death traps. I like Automatic Braking and similar 'oversight' safety feature, but not these silly things.

    1. kwhitefoot

      Re: I'd happily pay $800 to not have one...

      Set t car in valet mode before you let anyone else drive it. Anyway, I thought Autopilot was an option.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not strictly true

    "...an A road (a two-lane undivided highway for our readers abroad)."

    Actually A roads in Britain vary from single track roads to dual carriageways just short of motorway status. If you include the ones with the (M) status, then it also includes motorway status roads as well.

    A roads are essentially a road that is maintained by central government rather than local government, and a road that has a high priority for snow clearance etc. This is why much of the North of Scotland has A roads that are single track with passing places.

    The Model-3 though is a death-trap regardless of road. Fortunately, with less than 10000 being sold by the end of 1st quarter this year, there aren't too many of them on the roads trying to kill people. But if you think about the number of crashes (and fatal crashes) and the number of these cars sold, I would not like the odds of getting in one.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A road undivided ?

    "a two-lane undivided highway for our readers abroad"

    Erm.... El Reg. You need to go back to driving school.

    An 'A' road can be either a single carriageway (without central reservation) or dual carriageway (with central reservation).

    And no, "single" doesn't mean one. And "dual" doesn't mean two. The differentiating factor is the presence, or lack thereof, of a central reservation. So a four lane stretch of road with no central reservation is a known as a single carriageway.

    Not knowing this is a big FAIL in terms of your knowledge of the highway code. Because, amongst other things, failure to be able to tell the difference between a single carriageway and a dual carriageway can result in you exceeding the speed limit.

  30. DougS Silver badge

    30 seconds is still WAY too long

    A car will travel a kilometer at highway speeds during those 30 seconds. I see no reason not to warn people after 2-3 seconds if they take both their hands off the wheel - exactly why should people be doing so at all when they're SUPPOSED TO BE DRIVING?!

    The only reason Tesla drivers want to be able to take their hands off the wheel for that long or longer is because they're doing something which ALSO distracts them from watching what's going on, like sending a text message, reading the next email on their laptop, or using one hand to load another video on pornhub.

    Maybe cops need to pull up alongside Teslas and if they see drivers without hands on the wheel for more than a few seconds, pull them over and write them a big fat ticket. Might be the only way to get through to the morons before their poorly designed autopilot that can't reliably see stationary objects directly in the front of the car kills someone.

  31. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    no apparent reason tried to swerve off the road sharply

    Sounds like Hammond Clarkson and May managed to slip in a contribution to the codebase somewhere in development.

  32. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    at 40mph the car suddenly and for no apparent reason tried to swerve off the road sharply

    Other Tesla drivers soon chimed in with similar experiences since the software update was installed

    If "Autopilot resources have rightly focused entirely on safety," they clearly need more resources.

  33. Davidwall

    In the original video - the leading vehicle appears to have left it extremely late to change lanes, thus setting up the following vehicle to purposely fail.

    If there had been no room to change lanes earlier than it did, then the leading vehicle 'should' have been braking (which it didn't do at all).

    It was set up to fail - and it did.

  34. The Oncoming Scorn
    Coat

    Todays Apologies Go To OMD.

    Go

    Go Go Go

    Go Go Go

    Tesla cars Tesla cars

    Pushing OTA updates

    Electric cars and dynamos

    Speeding to kill they're killing me

    But Musk he has a strategy

    Go Go Go

    You wouldn't believe me if I said

    The Autopilot took off my head

    I've been patient Elon knows

    Autopilot drives and off we goes

    I shouldn't sleep or porn surf now

    But when it drives I don't watch the road

    See those cars they're Elon's best

    I'm so glad Musk knows how to test

    Tesla cars Tesla cars

    Owners in their forums

    While out driving I'll watch TV

    Now and then the car tries to alert me

    But Musk he has a strategy

    You wouldn't believe them if they said

    The code they write went over their heads

    They've been patient heaven knows

    They seem to care and so it goes

    They can't stop now or power down

    And when they drive the sensors watch the road

    See those cars they're Elon's best

    I'm so glad Musk knows how to test

    Tesla cars

    Tesla cars

    Tesla cars

    Tesla cars

    Tesla cars

    Pushing OTA updates

    Electric cars and dynamos

    Speeding to kill they're killing me

    But Musk he has a strategy

    Tesla cars Tesla cars

    Owners in their forums

    While out driving I'll watch TV

    Now and then the car tries to alert me

    But Musk he has a strategy

    No no n...CRUNCH

  35. JLV Silver badge
    Boffin

    why?

    For now at least, Tesla is one of the most lusted-after EVs on the market (see https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/06/forget-about-that-tesla-the-jaguar-i-pace-is-the-most-compelling-ev-yet/ for something that looks sweet too).

    How central is Autopilot to its appeal? How much pain is the scrutiny about it inflicting on Tesla? Does Tesla have the resources to ramp up its manufacturing on the Model 3 and solve an AI problem that seems harder the more it is looked at? Does Tesla have the IT hardware/software expertise to do so? How much distraction is this mess causing management? Doesn't help that any self-driving accidents are for now associated with the Uber lepers.

    One possible upside might be that an acquirer of Tesla, late into the self-driving game, might look very favorably about all that accumulated real-world data and experience and cost the acquisition accordingly.

    But still, how much does the average Tesla buyer really count Autopilot as a need-to-have, rather than a nice-to-have? Esp as the ambitions to what it's supposed to do on its own are shrinking. It wouldn't even register on my liradar.

    Boring Company, SpaceX, Autopilot, Model 3, EV Truck, grid batteries that's a lot to chase after. A little pruning of spending and focus might be warranted?

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