back to article Tesla has a smashing weekend: Model 3 on Autopilot whacks cop cars, Elon's Cybertruck demolishes part of LA

A man driving a Tesla Model 3 on autopilot mode rammed into the back of two police cars and another vehicle parked on the side of a highway in Connecticut, USA, on Saturday. No one was injured in the crash. Connecticut State Police (CSP) were called to an area of Interstate 95 in Norwalk early Saturday morning to attend to a …

  1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Elon's gone overboard trying to prove that the cybertruck really is rugged?

    1. tfewster Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Or that he's above the law?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Well, he clearly is...

        /s

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Unlike the defamation case - which was hopeless for the plaintiff - he ought to be charged and convicted of various, albeit probably minor (I don't know the specifics of California law), offenses in this case. If he was driving an unregistered vehicle on public streets, that's a crime. If he got in an accident with it and was at fault (hard to see how he wouldn't be in this case), that's a crime. He should pay the associated penalties just like anyone else.

    2. IGotOut

      Elon's gone overboard trying to prove that the cybertruck really is rugged?

      It only breaks if you are hitting it wrong.

    3. batfink Silver badge

      Maybe he should've had it on autopilot...

    4. Annihilator

      If it's so rugged it won't even dent, I wouldn't fancy being hit by that as a fleshy pedestrian. Wouldn't fancy being the driver if it hit something non-fleshy either - I prefer the energy of my car accidents to be absorbed by the car's crumple zones, not passed straight on to me like some sort of Newton's Cradle Deathtrap.

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Video here

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAz7GK3LDlA

        Not that dramatic, just clipped a plastic cone turning out of a car park.

        1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

          Re: Video here

          OK, so that may well not qualify as an offense under California law. But unless that vehicle is registered, he's still committing a crime.

          Also, the blind spots on that truck must be abysmal. Yes, you can augment the driver's view with cameras - and in fact that's one of the few recent in-cabin technological developments in motoring that I'm a fan of. But cameras and screens have a lot more failure modes than windows do.

      2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

        It's a fucking truck

        "I wouldn't fancy being hit by that as a fleshy pedestrian."

        It's a truck. Even getting tapped by a tractor that's not hauling anything isn't going to be good for a meatbag. If it's hauling something then it's going to be worse. The cab is designed to allow to driver to survive when if it hits something at 60mph with 100+tons. Do not step in front of it. Don't pull in front of it and brake.

        Fortunately they are in the main driven by professional drivers, who take proper care and attention, who will lose their livelihood if they have a stupid accident. Thus they are, in general, less danger to pedestrians than your average car or van. Pedo guy obviously isn't a professional driver, so is probably more dangerous. Especially as using the tractor to go out to eat is.... weird.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: It's a fucking truck

          "It's a truck. Even getting tapped by a tractor that's not hauling anything isn't going to be good for a meatbag. If it's hauling something then it's going to be worse. The cab is designed to allow to driver to survive when if it hits something at 60mph with 100+tons."

          <waves hands>This is not the truck you are looking for.

          Yes, it's a fucking truck. A fucking PICKUP truck. It ain't never gonna be haulin' 100+tons. Considering the recent publicity, how could you manage to make a comment about the wrong sort of truck? This ain't Apple you know!

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well he has proved beyond all reasonable doubt that he is a c*nt.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    A man and his dog....

    And he didn't notice that he hit three vehicles until someone flagged him down? WTF?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A man and his dog....

      Plot twist: There was no dog in that car that day.

      1. batfink Silver badge

        Re: A man and his dog....

        Yes. "Checking the dog in the back of the car" is a euphemism that I hadn't heard before...

      2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: A man and his dog....

        There was no dog in that car that day.

        Well, that's what he was checking. You don't want to just assume there's no dog in the back seat.

    2. Oh Homer
      Trollface

      Re: A man and his dog....

      Tesla drivers don't know anything unless there's an indicator on the dash that tells them. The "You've just hit three vehicles and murdered 20 people" indicator is still in beta, and won't be activated until the next firmware update.

  3. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    In Los Angeles, California, the company’s CEO Elon “Pedo Guy” Musk hit a traffic bollard

    FTFY

    1. nanchatte

      Slow news day, apparently.

    2. Khaptain Silver badge

      In totalement agreement with "Elon Pedo Guy Musk".. He is a creepy middle aged man.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Creepy, middle-aged half arsed creep with an excess of ego over judgement - or just a drugged up deranged over blown little sh*t.

      2. james_smith Bronze badge

        A creepy middle aged man with a girlfriend seventeen years younger than him.

        1. FlossyThePig

          I'll give you one guess

          My lying middle aged man with a girlfriend twenty four years younger than him beats your creepy middle aged man.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll give you one guess

            Come on guys, sports cars and trophy wives are a standard feature of this income class. Don't get envious... :p

            1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

              Re: I'll give you one guess

              I think it's fair to say those are two things I'll never be envious of.

              There are days when I think, "hey, this would be a nice day to be out on a yacht". Every time I fly I think how nice it would be to afford private air transport (having my own plane probably wouldn't be much of an incremental improvement on that, but I'd give it a try). I frequently wish I owned more homes in various locales, not for any good reason (that's what rental is for) but because I just like the things.

              But sports cars? Meh. I've had "sporty" cars, but modern cars are so overpowered anyway that I never use them to anything like their full extent, and these days I greatly value practicality and/or comfort over performance.

              And as for trophy wives - well, I'm very fond of my current (and only) wife, but I don't expect to ever want another one; and if I did, it would be someone I genuinely liked and enjoyed spending time with. I don't think I want to spend my personal time every day with someone decades younger than me, and certainly not someone I associate with for show.

        2. Pete4000uk

          Lucky him

    3. W.S.Gosset Silver badge

      "The traffic bollard, asked whether it would sue, said 'No way, man! If pedo guy can't win, what the hell chance have *I* got??' "

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Bollards to that!

      2. NATTtrash
        Joke

        elReg reported before on this, didn't it?

        <having_a_read>

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/11/15/bollard_run_over/

        </having_a_read>

        [...]

        Oh Elon!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Alternate subhead

      "Pedo" guy hit in the bollards

    5. 0laf Silver badge
      Holmes

      Sorry you're just not rich enough to make a 'sarcastic' comment like that. See you in court

    6. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Now that it's been proven in La La Land that calling someone a "pedo guy" + repeating the claim more specifically without evidence + sending a private detective after someone is not defamation, perhaps El Reg could use Elon "Pedo Guy" Musk for as name in all stories featuring him from now on*. After all, it's a quote from Elon himself and it's only 1/3 of the way that Elon went. What can the thin-skinned billionaire narcissist possibly object to?

      * Which will be about one of 1) his rocket measuring contest with Bezos, 2) his magic battery-powered AI deathtraps getting people killed, 3) his latest ill-advised Twitter tirade/podcast interview.

  4. Imhotep

    I Can't Stop Myself

    So police cars parked with lights flashing, the moron driver is turned around fiddling around with a dog in the back seat so he has no idea what is happening on the road in front of him.

    How about Tesla starts calling this Cruise Control and lays off with all the self-driving talk.

    Nobody is there yet with self driving. No one is close.

    1. Richocet Bronze badge

      Re: I Can't Stop Myself

      I think the dog thing is just an excuse.

      The Tesla autopilot needs to be banned. It has already reached the point of being widespread misleadingly labelled and marketed, and the average driver who thinks that cars work by some sort of engineering magic believe it is a full autopilot already.

      So the only way to reset this thinking in an effective way is to require Tesla to withdraw the function, and then people will notice it and ask why it is not working. Tesla's factory forced updates can easily implement this.

      Self-driving is an interesting field to explore, but it was arrogant and naive to assume and declare that it was achievable before cracking the problem.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

        How do you expect to collect the massive amount of real-world data required to create a true self-driving system without deploying a massive fleet using elements of the proposed system?

        1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          Doesn't have to the driving the car autonomously to be useful...

          The system could:

          1) Still collect real-world driving data without actually doing the driving;

          2) Compare what it would do with what a meatbag driver does in the same situation;

          3) Note where there are differences between system- and human-derived outcome;

          4) Use the continual analyses to gradually work toward a genuinely capable autonomouse driving system.

          But that's not disruptive, doesn't bring in the punters. "Autopilot" and overblown claims of autonomous abilities bring in the punters.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            Sounds very like the successful approach Google took for machine translation. Forget trying to analyse and reverse-engineer the underlying problem, just perform an extensive examination of the superficialities. I know Google Translate is far from perfect, but it's far better than anything produced the analytical way.

            1. Kristian Walsh

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              " I know Google Translate is far from perfect, but it's far better than anything produced the analytical way."

              To cure you of such delusions, I suggest you bookmark DeepL: https://www.deepl.com/translator

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              "I know Google Translate is far from perfect, but it's far better than anything produced the analytical way."

              I was going to rubbish your comment by pointing out that nobody ever died from an AI translation, then I remembered the great war fleets that got swallowed by a dog.

          2. Kicker of Metaphorical Cats

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            Kind of sounds like you are describing a treadmill. Real-world trails shown on the screen as it adjusts the platform angle, gives you a target time to chase, shows you the difference between the target and your last effort, sends data to your phone which then alters your workout program.

            Companies sell a lot of treadmills.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

        AH yes, ban it, ban it. The cries of the post middle aged generation. I mean the answer to everything is ban it.

        Ban car entertainment systems they have been shown to be distracting and caused car crashes, ban mobile phones completely pedestrians and car drivers alike have been involved in incidents while using them, ban vanity mirrors in cars people have lost control while applying make up, ban night driving as the use of full beam headlights has blinded people and caused accidents, ban manual control of the accelerator as using inappropriately has had people rocketing into tight bends too fast causing them to crash.

        The good ol', knee jerk ban. Proposed by many with limited understanding of the problem space. Without understanding it, you may finf the autopilot technology has saved more people and reduced accidents, than not having it. Or that most drivers understand the limitations and use it wisely. You might find different but, please, the knee jerk ban is just for jerks.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          This is my limited understanding of the problem space:

          Presumably you say that because there's no other way need to learn about how people get killed on roads and there's no existing data to draw from. The sacrifice will be worth it, after all were it not for the pedestrian getting killed on a road but not on a pedestrian crossing, Uber would have never have learnt that not recognising people off pedestrian crossings could get them killed. Were it not for people's Telsa's driving straight down a dividing motorway or under trucks, Telsa would never have known that these things are possible.

          So here's to live crash-test dummies. So modern. So disruptive. So beta. So fucking absolutely brain-dead stupid in that tool-like arrogant way that only present-day Silicon Valley tech is.

          1. AVee

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            You seem to imply there is a moral side to this. That's where you go wrong.

            Firstly we're probably living in a simulation anyway. Pedo guy said so himself on multiple occasions, so it's probably not even real humans being killed. (Let the implications of that sink in for a bit...)

            Secondly, progress has always required sacrifices. That how it's always been and the fact that the progress is just for the shareholders and the sacrifice comes from others is no reason to change that.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              "Secondly, progress has always required sacrifices. That how it's always been and the fact that the progress is just for the shareholders and the sacrifice comes from others is no reason to change that."

              And yet, back in the day, building bridges, building canals, building railways, it was normal for multiple people to die on the project. Nowadays, it's so rare that a death on a building project almost always make the news. THAT is progress.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            1.25 million people die every year in road deaths. Th emotional response is to ban traffic on roads. Restrict ourselves to trains and planes which are statistically far safer.

            The reason people die on the roads is overwhelmingly due to human error.

            The reason that people have died as a result of the safety features built in to Teslas is due to human error, the Uber was due to human error. The car was never expected to be running autonomously without driver inattention, the 'safety driver' was not paying attention. The human error was on the part of the driver. However I'm in no way going to defend Uber for anything.

            So if the safety features have reduced accidents, deaths and injuries down by a factor of x, what does x have to be to be acceptable? Is a 10 fold decrease in deaths acceptable, or does it need to be 100 or 1000 or zero deaths at all? Would the reduction of 1.25million deaths down to 10 deaths per year be totally unacceptable and the vehicles should be banned and we should return to 1.25million deaths until, without any testing on the roads, it is guaranteed that it is impossible for a car regardless of the actions of the human driver, to be able to produce a result which may lead to a death?

            Also if it is acceptable that the path to self driving will lead to less accidents, injuries and deaths, how can that be achieved if those vehicles are never allowed on public roads to be used by the public to improve their reliability, reduce the chance of an accident causing death or injury and increase the amount of vehicles on the road which have some autonomous features which have an overall effect of reducing the amount of serious injuries or deaths.

            Yes, we should have a red flag waver in front of vehicles to warn of the danger, that would probably eliminate all deaths apart from ones to said red flag waver, however pursuing a goal of reducing road deaths and serious injury using technology is exactly the right approach and there is no evidence that this is not happening.Take a few cases over the past couple of years and in isolation they are unacceptable, place those in the list of vehicle tragedies overall and cross out the ones that may have been helped using advanced safety features on cars that are available today, right up to eliminating the driver's input for some classes of road and that might be an eye opener that you may think, a lot of lives lost unnecessarily.

            1. Dan 55 Silver badge

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              Your entire argument is based on a fallacy, you have absolutely no data on which to base lives being saved by Teslas running on "autopilot". The badly-named cruise control feature only takes over when the driver is not driving and requires driver attention at all times as it only achieves level 2 driving.

              In a dangerous situation the cruise control will:

              a) notice and deal with the situation

              b) notice and realise it can't deal with the situation, disengaging warning the driver to take over who does that - the Tesla didn't save lives.

              c) not notice but the driver will and takes over - the Telsa didn't save lives.

              d) not notice but the driver won't be ready causing accident or death

              e) not notice and the driver won't notice either causing accident or death

              The only possible way a Telsa can save lives is a) and even then there is no proof that the Telsa dealt with the situation better than the driver could do without assistance. b), c), and d/e) are progressively more dangerous than human drivers.

              Finally you've started talking about "safety features". No, let's bring it back to over-sold level 2 cruise control. That's what we're talking about here.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                You state that my argument is based on Fallacy but the argument only mentioned Tesla in one line in the context of an example where human error was concerned with those particular deaths (and Uber was also mentioned).

                So the data about whether lives are saved running on 'autopilot', there is some disputable evidence based upon figures where it shows the number of accidents using autopilot and not using it. The autopilot miles are obviously a lot less (or else they wouldn't be published). However the dispute is the type of roads that autopilot is more widely used on compared to when it isn't and then the type of driver and features of a car for Tesla compared to general population. However you would expect that it is safer to use a car with advanced safety features based upon empirical evidence (I mean every single crash when on autopilot across the world is reported by the media, compared to how many car crashes per day?) however conversely no-one has any data to suggest that using autopilot or other autonomous features are less safe than a car without them. If that data was available it would be major news, even sceptics only seem to contend the level of how much safer, so there is some assumption for sure.

                You then present your own fallacy with shown a list of options with no statistical basis to form a statistical interpretation. For instance a list of a 100 items where the first ten are the most probably and happen 95% of the time does not mean you can regard the other 95 items as more important. A different list using that method could produce the following result for instance.

                During normal driving the 'autopilot' features will:

                a) Keep the car in lane without veering out of lane

                b) Keep a suitable safe distance from the car in front and any cars that may enter the lan

                c) Notice and react to sudden slowing events even not in visible sight of the car

                d) Reduce driver fatigue in poorer driving conditions

                e) Allow the driver to be more alert to their surroundings with less mental agility required for driving

                f) Have full visibility for blindspots and the situation around the car within it's own capabilities but working at a sustained and constant level at all times

                g) Fail to spot something that may require driver action

                Therefore the 'autopilot' is much safer than the human driver as it helps with a,b,c,d,e,f and not g.

                See, doesn't work like that.

                Comparing to humans which no one can really defend as being safe at driving - plenty of stats available for that.

                These are all safety features at the moment, designed to make driving safer. However I guess you have driven a Tesla for some time to decide just how dangerous it is, or are you basing it on a few media reports when they crash?

                1. baud Bronze badge

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  Even if Autopilot might "saves" lives, the fact it's still misleading advertising, being sold as autonomous piloting, instead of a combined cruise control + lane assistance. So you end with nutcases like the one above trusting the system, thinking it could drive safely and not impact stopped car along the highway, because of course he hasn't read the user manuals (like everyone else).

                2. ChrisC

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  "a) Keep the car in lane without veering out of lane"

                  Don't need full-blown "autopilot" to achieve this...

                  "b) Keep a suitable safe distance from the car in front and any cars that may enter the lan"

                  Ditto...

                  "c) Notice and react to sudden slowing events even not in visible sight of the car"

                  How will it know the events are occurring if they're out of sight? The various sensors used by "autopilot" are all still reliant on having line of sight to whatever it is they're being tasked to detect.

                  "d) Reduce driver fatigue in poorer driving conditions"

                  Possibly, although...

                  "e) Allow the driver to be more alert to their surroundings with less mental agility required for driving"

                  ...whenever I dabble with using cruise control on my cars, I very quickly remember why it is I detest using it - the feeling of disconnection between what I'm doing and what the car is doing makes me feel like I'm always ever so slightly behind the car, so if something occurs up ahead that requires my attention I find myself reacting a little slower than I'd like to. In contrast, when I switch cruise off and let my right foot take care of speed and distance control, everything falls more comfortably into place and I then feel more able to respond to events around me.

                  IMO, if you take *too* much stimulation and mental effort out of the act of driving, the driver then ends up in a reduced and somewhat soporific state of attention, which is the polar opposite of where you need them to be, or where you're expecting them to be having just given them all that free time to spend on watching out for stuff happening now they're not having to work on the basics like maintaining speed, lane position etc.

                  "f) Have full visibility for blindspots and the situation around the car within it's own capabilities but working at a sustained and constant level at all times"

                  With *heavy* emphasis on "within its own capabilities". This, and other "autopilot"-related collisons, prove that its capabilities are, at times, far worse than would be even remotely acceptable from a complete novice driver out on their first ever lesson.

                  "g) Fail to spot something that may require driver action"

                  Yep, it seems to be pretty good at that...

                  The thing about "autopilot" is that, whilst all of its individual parts seem like a good idea, and indeed in some cases *are* a good idea - hence them being available from pretty much every other car manufacturer on the planet - the way all these parts have been lumped together under the "autopilot" moniker and promoted, knowingly or otherwise, to Tesla owners as being something rather more than it actually is, is what makes so many of us deeply uneasy about it. And crashes like this one, which should have been well within the capabilities of "autopilot" to cope with despite the idiotic behaviour of the driver, really don't help its cause one bit.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                    Not sure what "full blown" autopilot is? Autopilot is steering within lane and traffic aware cruise control. DO you mean Enhanced autopilot which does lane changes and autoparking?

                    "How will it know the events are occurring if they're out of sight? The various sensors used by "autopilot" are all still reliant on having line of sight to whatever it is they're being tasked to detect."

                    Because radio waves can bounce off many surfaces (specifically the road). Cameras and your eyes are generally viewing what is directly ahead and light reflections rarely have any bearing on that. SO the Radar can detect two cars ahead.

                    "whenever I dabble with using cruise control on my cars"

                    There is different quality and usability of cruise control. I've use three versions, like you I've found a couple of them not very good. You may well find that a more advanced system makes driving easier and more relaxing - it stops mental fatigue and allows you to remain more alert when needed. You may not, but many do.

                    "With *heavy* emphasis on "within its own capabilities"."

                    No, completely normal emphasis on its own capabilities. It has a strong set of capabilities but it is well known by Tesla and all owners of their cars that the vehicles are fully self driving and require human attention. Hence the combination of a human and the car makes the system much safer.

                    "Yep, it seems to be pretty good at that..."

                    See you've fallen for the trap. By having a Tesla accident published every time it happens (btw many were later shown not to be due to autopilot) you believe that is the norm and they are 'good at that'. However over 2 billion miles driven on autopilot and you've probably read about every crash they've ever had. It is actually pretty impressive, and you could conclude that the likelyhood of it getting it wrong over that mileage is extremely low? In fact pretty much every one you hear about is a stationary object on the road which was undetected - this is a none area where it may fall short (in very many cases it will be detected) but every car with AEB has a similar problem. And human drivers also miss stationary objects in the road all the time, often crashing into emergency service vehicles or their workers.

                    Many of you are 'deeply troubled' by a name and assume that because of that name it means that the drivers of the cars are likely to believe the car can be left to drive itself is quite a leap. I doubt there is any Tesla owner who does not realise it can' drive itself without supervision, it won't even let you. But used correctly it wouldn't surprise me if it wasn't one of the safest cars on the road.

                    1. ChrisC

                      Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                      "Not sure what "full blown" autopilot is? Autopilot is steering within lane and traffic aware cruise control. DO you mean Enhanced autopilot which does lane changes and autoparking?"

                      No, I mean "autopilot" as it's touted by Tesla. Other manufacturers choose to provide some of the features such as lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring etc. without the need to make out that they're anything more than they are, and without the need to provide *all* of the features - thus some of the benefits you've suggested are attributable to "autopilot" can also be attributed to many other cars as well.

                      "Because radio waves can bounce off many surfaces (specifically the road). Cameras and your eyes are generally viewing what is directly ahead and light reflections rarely have any bearing on that. SO the Radar can detect two cars ahead."

                      Hmm, good luck getting much of a useable return signal after it's bounced off the road and squirmed its way under the vehicle in front which is blocking the line of sight to the vehicle ahead of that, then reflected off said vehicle and squirmed back under the vehicle in front via the road surface again... I think you're giving automotive radar subsystems a bit too much credit here.

                      And things like light reflections and shadows cast by vehicles further ahead DO often play a significant part in giving a driver - at least a halfway competent and observant one - clues as to what's going on beyond the vehicle directly in front of them.

                      "but it is well known by Tesla and all owners of their cars that the vehicles are fully self driving"

                      Ah, so you admit it :-) Unfortunate slip of the keyboard there...

                      "However over 2 billion miles driven on autopilot and you've probably read about every crash they've ever had. It is actually pretty impressive, and you could conclude that the likelyhood of it getting it wrong over that mileage is extremely low?"

                      The question is whether any of those accidents would still have occurred if the drivers in question had a clear understanding of the limitations of "autopilot" and hadn't therefore left it to drive the car for them whilst their attention was elsewhere.

                      1. Anonymous Coward
                        Anonymous Coward

                        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                        "Hmm, good luck getting much of a useable return signal after it's bounced off the road and squirmed its way under the vehicle in front which is blocking the line of sight to the vehicle ahead of that, then reflected off said vehicle and squirmed back under the vehicle in front via the road surface again... I think you're giving automotive radar subsystems a bit too much credit here."

                        It was part of a software update and works. There are videos of it working - see my other post showing the you tube clip.

                3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  "a list of options with no statistical basis"

                  ROFLMAO

                  Where are the statistics to show the orders of magnitude reductions in deaths you seemed to be claiming a few posts ago?

            2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              "The reason that people have died as a result of the safety features built in to Teslas is due to human error, the Uber was due to human error."

              So let's deride the human driver's ability. Let's deride the human driver by calling him or her a meatsack. But when the situation gets beyond the much-vaunted AI dump the problem in the human's lap, probably after a long period of having nothing to do has sapped the human's attention and almost certainly when it's too late to do anything and then blame the human.

              Did I miss anything?

          3. maffski

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            'So here's to live crash-test dummies'

            Actually you might be on to something. Rich countries have low road fatality rates. Poor countries have high road fatality rates. If rich countries provided cars to poor countries they could raise the standard of living and self driving behavior would quickly become safer than the local human drivers.

        2. AIBailey Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          No, simply "ban it" because it doesn't bloody work.

          The fact that this moron thought he could sort out a dog in the back seat of his car, leaving the driving of said car to a souped up cruise control, is the reason. Give people too much automation and they forget that the need to keep their brain engaged.

          1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            So, by your reasoning, cruise control should've been banned when the guy in the RV engaged it and went into the back to make a cuppa? Maybe we should ban ABS because some guy thought it'd stop the car quicker than physics allowed and crashed? In fact, let's ban all automated assembly lines because some guy got complacent and injured his hand getting it caught in the conveyor belt...

            I have read the manuals for Tesla's cars. I lost count of the number of times there were big, bold warnings to pay attention and be ready to take over. The car even warns you if you take your hands off the wheel. Yet so many people are ready to blame the system rather than the morons who misuse it.

            This guy took his attention completely off the road and was dealing with his dog. If he did that in any car, he'd crash. Yet, because it's a Tesla on Autopilot, it's suddenly the car at fault rather than the nut behind the wheel?

            1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              Cruise control doesn't claim to be anything other than cruise control i.e. it maintain the speed it's been set to. It's not deliberately misleading.

              ABS doesn't claim to do anything other than reduce brake lock-up. It's not deliberately misleading.

              Autopilot has the ingrained meaning of doing the piloting automatically, even if that's not what it does in a Tesla. That is deliberately misleading, and as such Tesla should be banned from calling it's advanced cruise control an "Autopilot".

              The twat in the RV activating cruise control and making a cuppa is solely the responsibility of that twat. Nothing to do with cruise control, purely another moronic driver.

              People are stupid, and they do stupid things. Deliberately misleading people by naming a feature as something it's not only gives stupid people more opportunity to be stupid.

              This guy took his attention completely off the road and was dealing with his dog. If he did that in any car, he'd crash. Yet, because it's a Tesla on Autopilot, it's suddenly the car at fault rather than the nut behind the wheel?

              It's a mix of both. Tesla for calling it Autopilot when it's not, the driver for believing it.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                "...the driver for believing it."

                Do you have any evidence at all for the guy thinking that the car required no driver attention due to the fact it isn't an autonomous vehicle?

                In fact do you have any evidence that a Tesla owner believes that the system does not require the driver to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel. The fact it reminds you every few seconds, is usually quite a good hint.

                1. ChrisC

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  "Do you have any evidence at all for the guy thinking that the car required no driver attention due to the fact it isn't an autonomous vehicle?"

                  Besides the evidence that he clearly thought it was perfectly acceptable to divert all of his attention into checking on woofums in the back, without first pulling over to the side of the road and parking it safely?

                  As a parent of two, I'm only too aware how much of a distraction it can be to have someone or something in the back seat demanding your attention, but in all the times I drove with my kids in the back, I never, EVER, forgot that my primary objective was to continue driving safely. If one of them suddenly started crying out, or threw up, or anything else attention-getting-worthy, it was a case of finding the first safe place to stop and then, and only then, attending to them.

                  So at the very least, this incident provides sufficient evidence that this particular individual isn't fit to be driving any sort of vehicle, let alone one which uses potentially misleading terminology to describe its driver assistance features.

                  "In fact do you have any evidence that a Tesla owner believes that the system does not require the driver to remain alert and keep their hands on the wheel. The fact it reminds you every few seconds, is usually quite a good hint."

                  The fact that Tesla felt the need to have their cars reminding their drivers regularly throughout a drive, rather than just on startup/first use of "autopilot" in that drive, suggests they think there IS a risk that some of their drivers aren't quite as clued up and sensible as this.

                  And the fact that this incident is merely the latest in the collection of such incidents related to driver misuse/misunderstanding of what "autopilot" actually is, rather than being the first such incident ever to occur with a Tesla, suggests that this risk is entirely real and not being adequately dealt with by whatever warnings the car is giving the driver.

              2. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

                Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                "Autopilot has the ingrained meaning of doing the piloting automatically"

                You can look at it a few ways.

                Firstly, Autopilot makes it sound like that used in aircraft. Aircraft autopilots are mostly not much more than cruise control: They maintain speed, heading and altitude, even if those carry you into a building or mountain. By that standard, the Tesla is actually more advanced, and no pilot would rely on autopilot without staying aware and in control.

                Another would be the one you say here. However, this is negated by the fact that every Tesla owner is told it needs constant supervision. The sales guys make it very clear and the manual is plastered with big, bold warnings about it. Not only that, but the car tells you whenever you engage it, and warns you if you take your hands off the steering wheel. If you ignore the warnings, it disengages and won't reengage that journey.

                If this guy decided to turn to deal with something in the back seat while driving, it is his fault just as it would be in any vehicle. This is even more the case given the numerous warnings over Autopilot's use, no matter what you think of the naming.

                1. Charles 9 Silver badge

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  The hint is in the word itself: "Autopilot", short for "automatic pilot," as in it does it for you, like the automatic transmission and so on. If people didn't think that way, Airplane!'s Otto wouldn't have made a good joke.

                2. Martin an gof Silver badge

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  Firstly, Autopilot makes it sound like that used in aircraft.

                  That's probably the key thing. It "sounds" like it should be autonomous, so a few people (probably only a very few) will assume it is autonomous.

                  Aircraft autopilots are mostly not much more than cruise control: They maintain speed, heading and altitude, even if those carry you into a building or mountain.

                  That's as maybe for a light aircraft, but (simplistically) commercial aircraft can perform the equivalent of selecting a postcode in the sat-nav, pressing 'go' and sitting back and watching. A Hawker Siddeley Trident performed the first fully automatic landing way back in 1964.

                  M.

                  1. ChrisC

                    Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                    Pretty much, although IIRC it's still up to the human pilot to handle taxying *from* the stand to the runway and then the take-off itself. Once up in the air though, a full spec commercial autopilot system, combined with the associated ground systems at the destination airport, can do everything else up to and including taxying *to* the stand.

                    Add into the mix the option to link other technologies such as TCAS and GPWS to the autopilot, and you can end up with an aircraft capable not only of getting from A to B all by itself, but of doing so without colliding with anything else along the way.

                  2. maffski

                    Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                    '..commercial aircraft can perform the equivalent of selecting a postcode in the sat-nav, pressing 'go' and sitting back and watching. A Hawker Siddeley Trident performed the first fully automatic landing way back in 1964...'

                    And they absolutely will not make any attempt to avoid crashing into things.

              3. Charles 9 Silver badge

                Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                "The twat in the RV activating cruise control and making a cuppa is solely the responsibility of that twat."

                You DO realize that's just an urban legend, right? No one actually did such a thing or it would've made the national news long ago.

          2. Kristian Walsh

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            AC is presenting a straw-man argument. Nobody wants to ban self-driving systems, they just want the vendors of these systems to prove that they're safe before putting them on the public roads. Uber and Tesla need to realize that this isn't some crappy javascript running on a web-page where you can just update when the thing crashes: if their system fucks up in a moving car, there's a good chance that people will die or be maimed for life. Higher consequences require a bit of grown-up responsibility.

            Tesla's system does not meet the requirements to be called an "Autopilot" (I'm aware that autopilot doesn't mean self-driving - I'm referring only to maintaining a safe speed and distance within a traffic lane). In this case, the correct action would have been to sound an alarm to alert the driver of a stationary hazard, slow down before the hazard, and finally, in extremis, to apply the brakes to avoid impact. That's what other people's automated cruise-control systems do.

            There are now too many instances of Tesla "autopilot" driving straight into visible hazards to consider it a safe system. In this case, the solution is for Tesla to re-engineer their product to fix this error, but until they do so, there is no reason why other road users should be endangered by the buggy software.

        3. hmv Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          Indeed.

          There's already (at least in the UK) a perfectly adequate law for dealing with the fuck-wits - 'driving without due care and attention'.

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          "limited understanding of the problem space"

          Or should that be "understanding of the limited solution space"?

      3. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

        Banning it is not the way forward, but Tesla needs to be hit where it hurts, so any damage done while autopilot is active, whether the driver was paying attention or not, should be payed in full by Tesla plus the same amount again into a fund used for road safety improvement. This will give them an actual incentive to get it to work, and an actual incentive to make sure people don't use it when not appropriate.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          Yes, and every car manufacturer should be forced to pay out when the driver is at error. In fact, every piece of machinery or equipment should put the fault with the manufacturer when the human operator misuses it.

          Humans need to never be held responsible for anything - just the manufacturers.

          Why can't some people just take responsibility for things themselves.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            How can you have that if your level 2 car has decided to plough into another car with no warning? You can't have it both ways.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              You obviously don't know what "level 2" is.

              You don't know if there was warning or not, either way it doesn't alter the fact that this is a level 2 vehicle.

              1. Dan 55 Silver badge

                Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                You know if there warning or not because Tesla has telemetry which shows that the car did not detect the obstacle and warn the driver in time.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  Oh, I didn't realise you worked for Tesla. Maybe you'd like to give us an exclusive insight into the telemetry?

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                    My point was - you say there was no warning. I ask how you knew and you said Tesla knows. Which doesn't answer how you know there was no warning until Tesla release the details or there is an investigation?

                    How do you know whether the driver was even on autopilot or didn't have his foot on the accelerator at the time, overriding the AEB/TACC?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            "Why can't some people just take responsibility for things themselves."

            Musky needs to take fucking responsibility for hyping up an over blown cruise control by calling it "autopilot" that then leads to deaths as the fucking idiots who bought into it don't understand it is not a fucking "autopilot"

            1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              by calling it "autopilot" that then leads to deaths as the fucking idiots who bought into it don't understand it is not a fucking "autopilot"

              But it is. In fact it's more advanced than most autopilots, which just maintain speed, heading and altitude (even if that flies you into a building/mountain)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I Can't Stop Myself

              You would need to cite evidence that anyone who buys a Tesla believes that it is 'fully self driving' regardless and you can leave it to drive itself.

              The only people who seem to think this is the case are people like you.

              1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

                Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                You would need to cite evidence that anyone who buys a Tesla believes that it is 'fully self driving' regardless and you can leave it to drive itself.

                Pretty sure that's not what was said.

                Clearly some Tesla owners believe it is 'fully self driving', otherwise they'd have been paying attention instead of heedlessly ploughing headlong into whatever they happened to hit (trailer, cop car, whatever).

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                  "Clearly some Tesla owners believe it is 'fully self driving'"

                  I would dispute that and say no Tesla owner believes that.

                  I mean, just because a driver ploughs into a stationary object because they are texting on their phone doesn't allow me to assert "Clearly the driver though their 2003 Ford Fiesta was self driving otherwise they'd have been paying attention instead of heedlessly ploughing headlong into whatever they happened to hit (trailer, cop car, whatever)."

                  1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                    Re: I Can't Stop Myself

                    I would dispute that and say no Tesla owner believes that.

                    A clever argument, considering you were just berating other posters for making claims based on what you thought was insufficient evidence. You've asked all Tesla owners about this, have you?

          3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            Why can't some people just take responsibility for things themselves.

            Writes the person posting anonymously.

    2. dfsmith

      Re: I Can't Stop Myself

      Was the vehicle in "self-driving" mode, or "autopilot" mode?

      An aircraft autopilot does not relive you of the responsibility for checking with Air Traffic Control before landing. It will happily autopilot you into a grounded airplane if you request it to.

      1. Richocet Bronze badge

        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

        True, but pilots are highly trained an monitored and have to be re-accredited annually. Pilots lose their livelihood if they are reckless or incapable.

        In Australia you get your drivers license once as a teenager, and being employed is literally a get out of jail free card for any type of driving offense including running people down and killing them.

        So we shouldn't anticipate all drivers will be as careful and responsible with these functions as pilots.

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          "In Australia you get your drivers license once as a teenager, and being employed is literally a get out of jail free card for any type of driving offense including running people down and killing them."

          Wait, what???

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            I assume the "company is responsible" defense, which I only know of defending against damages costs, not criminal ones.

          2. Dagg

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            being employed is literally a get out of jail free card for any type of driving offense including running people down and killing them

            Only if you need your drivers licence for employment.

            As it is compared to many other countries your normal aussie drivers are crap. Can't keep left, always on the mobile phone, no idea what an indicator is, etc...

      2. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

        Tesla does not have a "self driving" mode. Musk promised one by the end of the year, but that doesn't seem likely to happen. I think he previously promised it for 2016.

        The article clearly said it was in "autopilot" mode. Regardless of how autopilot actually works in airplanes, the majority of the general public believes the word autopilot to be roughly synonymous with self-driving. A certain segment of dimwit Tesla owners certainly seems to believe so.

        I wonder if the guy really was "checking on his dog" or if he was sleeping. Seems unlikely he just picked that exact moment to turn around and was otherwise paying attention to what was happening in front of him. If the police had road flares set up, he would have seen that from a couple miles away unless it was around a bend - well over a minute of driving time.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          "self driving" mode "autopilot" mode

          whats the difference?

          .

          It should be called "Cruise Control note: hands on wheel"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I Can't Stop Myself

            It pretty much is. First phase is called Traffic aware Cruise Control, Section stage is called Auto Steer. "Keep you hands on the wheel at all times" comes on the display as soon as you select it.

            It's what pops up when you turn it on, it's what constantly comes up every 20 -60 seconds (depending on territory) if you don't have you hands on the wheel.

        2. dajames Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          I wonder if the guy really was "checking on his dog" or if he was sleeping. Seems unlikely he just picked that exact moment to turn around and was otherwise paying attention to what was happening in front of him.

          Maybe it went like this:

          Fido: Hey! Watch out for that police car. I don't think the "Autopilot" has spotted it.

          Driver (turning in his seat): What's that you say, Fido?

    3. IGotOut

      Re: I Can't Stop Myself

      You got a downvote for a statement of fact. Guess it must be a driver of a Paedomobie.

      1. Richard Cranium

        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

        Agreed, a downvote here without an explanatory comment often gets me scratching my head to understand why.

        I long ago concluded that any mention of Apple (other than a glowing testimonial) will get a downvote. Looks like we can now add any negativity toward Tesla/Musk as another route to a guaranteed downvote.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: I Can't Stop Myself

          "I long ago concluded that any mention of Apple (other than a glowing testimonial) will get a downvote. Looks like we can now add any negativity toward Tesla/Musk as another route to a guaranteed downvote."

          Basically, if you badmouth any religion, you'll get downvotes ... even especially if you are right and the downvoter knows it. The thumbs aren't logical, they are emotional. Ignore them.

      2. katrinab Silver badge
        Childcatcher

        Re: I Can't Stop Myself

        Or the Elongated Pædo Guy Muskrat himself is reading this ...

  5. Schultz
    Angel

    ... checking on his dog in the back seat ...

    I bet he was worrying about the homework he also kept on the back seat!

  6. David 164

    Still waiting on Mclaren to release ultrasonic force field that was suppose to stop rain from hitting the car screen.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Happy

      Small correction - hitting the driver/passengers faces?

    2. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Always XKCD

      https://what-if.xkcd.com/119/

      Lasers on a windshield are only partially less stupid than a laser umbrella. But this is Elon. He is one of those "so stupid they are a genius" persons sadly. Lasers might work. But I'm sure a more reliable "life time" quality option is there. A wiper that lasts 20 years is more than enough (plastic or some other material that wears at a known rate and shape and still wipes).

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Eh, people have been playing with the "ultrasonic wiper" thing for ages. Here's a patent from 1986.

      I remember a car review from sometime in the late '80s or early '90s which mentioned an ultrasonic windshield-clearing system. I think it was for a prototype and didn't make it into the production model; at any rate, a quick search didn't turn up any production vehicles with ultrasonic cleaning. But in any case, all the press Mclaren's received for their system is more a testimony to marketing than to innovation.

  7. vtcodger Silver badge

    I just can't wait

    To see what bizarre, costly, unreliable, high tech solution Musk comes up with to the problem of emergency vehicles and bridge abutments interfering with Tesla drivers' God given right of way.

    Does the Cybertruck really need side mirrors? I should think it would ship with full time rear view cameras even in the most basic configuration. Easy enough to do, possibly useful, and inexpensive. It looks like other vehicles have gotten waivers for the side mirror requirement. I'd worry more about the questionably legal exterior lighting and the apparent lack of proper bumpers. https://cleantechnica.com/2019/11/27/tesla-cybertruck-fud-they-cant-build-that/

    BTW, has the Reg really missed out on this Tesla issue: https://www.thedrive.com/news/31274/more-teslas-on-the-road-meant-hours-long-supercharger-lines-over-thanksgiving ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just can't wait

      "what bizarre, costly, unreliable, high tech solution Musk comes up with to the problem of emergency vehicles and bridge abutments interfering with Tesla drivers' God given right of way."

      That'll be the Cybertruck... he just needs to toughen up the windows a little before it goes on sale.

    2. aqk
      Coat

      Re: I just can't wait

      re: I just can't wait

      I know the feeling. See my comment elsewhere here.

  8. cb7

    I'm still trying to work out why the radar system in all the Teslas that have been involved in "autopilot" crashes (and there have been a few, some unfortunately fatal), didn't detect the obstructions up ahead and slow down/stop.

    To me it seems logical that radar obstruction detection should take higher priority than image recognition and if working properly (how hard can that be?) would deliver a rather basic safety function that seems to have been missing in each case.

    1. getHandle

      Unfortunately adaptive cruise control radar doesn't work like that

      See, eg, this Wired article.

      1. Richard Jones 1
        WTF?

        Re: Unfortunately adaptive cruise control radar doesn't work like that

        The Wired article link clearly explains a situation that had me puzzled for a while. It confirms that current systems are only assistance tools. Whether they can develop to allow identifying obstructions appears doubtful. Despite the Musk rambling autonomous vehicles are a pipe dream.

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: Unfortunately adaptive cruise control radar doesn't work like that

          The Wired article is clear and comprehensible. But really folks, if your collision avoidance system can't avoid collisions, you probably shouldn't deploy it . At least not at high speeds where the driver has essentially no time to figure out that the vehicle has failed to detect an obvious obstacle and isn't going to avoid it. What might be sort of OK at parking lot speeds simply isn't acceptable at high speed any more than a steering wheel that occasionally fails to turn the car would be,

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What radar? Tesla Autopilot runs on just the car's built in webcams. Elon declared "humans drive with only their eyes, so why should our cars be any different?" and the Tesla engineers had to make it so.

      AFAIK Teslas only use their LIDAR for parking assist and making sure the gullwing doors don't bump into the ceiling when they open. Unless they've changed it in a patch.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Tesla has a mix of ultrasonics, forward facing radar, and 8 cameras. It doesn't have LIDAR at all on it. The Radar uses Radio Waves for detection and ranging. It is useful for seeing cars in front that are not visible to the cameras.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          If it's not visible to a camera, how can it be visible to radio waves that, last I checked, still need line of sight to be effective in this case?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Because radio waves can bounce off many surfaces (specifically the road). Cameras and your eyes are generally viewing what is directly ahead and light reflections rarely have any bearing on that.

            Details here https://insideevs.com/news/331275/elon-musk-on-autopilot-80-if-the-car-in-front-of-you-suddenly-swerves-model-s-x-are-ready/

            And you can see it in real world action here (need sound on) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFMY5iHkW8U

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Still seems to rely on line of sight since things like tinted windows block a thru look and bounding under a vehicle is bound to have physical limitations, too (low ground clearance, extra-long vehicles like 18-wheelers/lorries, or rough road surfaces).

  9. jake Silver badge

    "Concentrated zaps of electromagnetic energy"

    How does that affect the range, then? Is it worse than what happens to it when you're towing, or off-road?

  10. My-Handle

    Top Gear idea?

    Wasn't the "clear the windscreen with lasers" idea one of Clarkson's? I believe he'd just gotten a Lamborghini to test in Italy and was getting carried away with how he thought it should work (i.e. in as energetic and confusing way as possible). James May accused him of drinking too much pop that morning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Top Gear idea?

      I can't see "clear the windscreen with lasers" ever being implemented in reality, because there's no way it can be made safe. If there's enough energy to vapourise water and/or dirt, then any stray reflections will be enough to cause instant permanent sight loss, and there *will* be stray reflections. That's physics for you.

    2. james_smith Bronze badge

      Re: Top Gear idea?

      James May accused him of drinking too much pop that morning.

      Hoiw naive of James. That's not how you consume cocaine.

    3. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Top Gear idea?

      Clearing windshields with lasers seems kind of a nutty idea, and one that I'd like someone else to test extensively. I suspect it might be subject to problems with gradually removing the windshield when confronted with stubborn deposits or minor scratches from wind driven sand. I really doubt it will work out, but I can imagine it being an option at car washes even if it doesn't work very well. "Laser clean your windshield, sir?"

      It does illustrate one of many flaws in the current patent system. Your "invention" doesn't have to work in order to be patentable. (example:. the field effect transistor was patented in the 1920s but wasn't actually built even in a laboratory until the 1950s)

    4. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Top Gear idea?

      One other potential problem with laser windshield cleaning. You have this gunk on your windshield. Or maybe a a tiny scratch. You whap it with a beam of energetic photons. Where are the photons that aren't absorbed by the target going to end up? I'm thinking that the answer to that question for some of them is likely to be "the driver's eyes".

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: Top Gear idea?

        Where are the photons that aren't absorbed by the target going to end up? I'm thinking that the answer to that question for some of them is likely to be "the driver's eyes".

        That's easily avoided. Just apply an interior tint that completely blocks the laser's wavelength. But lack of vision is a non-problem anyway given you have autopilot, and armour to protect you.

        Might be some snags, like heavy tints being illegal in a lot of states, along with lack of wing mirrors, unapproved turn signals etc etc.. So whether the fuglytruck was legal to be on the road, and if Musk/driver would lose their licence as a result.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Top Gear idea?

          "Just apply an interior tint that completely blocks the laser's wavelength."

          Nice thought, but if the coating reflects the laser, you've got some nasty stray reflections which could blind someone, and if it absorbs the laser, you have an interesting heat dissipation problem, because you need to be able to absorb enough energy to almost instantaneously vapourise a (say) 5mm diameter droplet of water. Given that you need to be able to do that a few hundred times a second, the laser would probably be capable of cutting *through* the windscreen if it were tinted to absorb the beam.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Peado Tesla truck driver...

    The Peado Tesla truck driver was distracted having taken Vern Unsworth's advice to ‘stick his submarine where it hurts’

  12. 0laf Silver badge
    Terminator

    Is it actually becoming a thing more than a joke? Teslas running into emergency service vehicles?

    Was the AI developed by a plot hating psycho?

    1. 0laf Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Plod hating psycho. I need a proofreader

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I don't know, but maybe, just maybe cars have always run into the back of emergency service vehicles due to driver inattention. In fact, even killing the emergency service personnel.

      Maybe the possibility is a combination of:

      1) The media only report when a Tesla crashes into one

      2) The driver often blames autopilot thinking that will mean they are, somehow, not responsible

      3) Commentards love stories about Teslas having issue on Autopilot and rather than look at whether they are statistically safer or whether, because fo the amount of Teslas on the road, this is actually newsworthy anymore, they lap it up which keeps #1 going.

    3. Baldrickk Silver badge
      Alert

      Is it actually becoming a thing

      As previously covered - Teslas ignore all static objects when moving. - it'll follow a car in front, and stop and start behind one, but anything that remains stationary is classified as noise.

      This is necessary because otherwise your car would detect every pot-hole, bump, overhead gantry, stone etc etc as an obstacle and you would never get anywhere.

      False positives can be worse than false negatives - If every Tesla would stop at random on the motorway having seen a false obstacle it needs to avoid, then you'd get people running into them all the time.

      Instead, it follows the flow of moving traffic around it.

      Which is great until there is something stopped in the lane.

      In the case where an obstruction is already in a lane however (e.g. broken down car / stopped emergency vehicle) the driver is meant to react - as noted, it's not an autonomous system.

      Said obstruction, because of the relatively low number of Tesla cars compared to all the rest and the small window between (as in this case) a car breaking down and the emergency vehicle arriving means that is likely to be an emergency vehicle, that is encountered, as it may be present for some time - a much larger window for an incident to occur.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Is it actually becoming a thing

        "False positives can be worse than false negatives"

        Both are bad. If stationary obstacles have to be ignored to avoid false positives the system is not fit for deployment on public roads.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Is it actually becoming a thing

          Catch-22 time. No amount of closed-road testing can account for Murphy. So how to do you deal with the problem to make it worthy for on-the-road use without actual on-the-road use?

        2. Baldrickk Silver badge

          Re: Is it actually becoming a thing

          I used "can" for a reason. With Tesla cars, the driver is still an important part of the control loop. They remain responsible for the vehicle.

          False positives locking the car down because there are some leaves in front of your parking spot that it thinks are solid barriers or something would mean you get to go nowhere.

  13. drand
    Unhappy

    Absolute bastards

    I thought of laser windscreen wipers when I was ten. I drew a picture of them on a car to enter a Ford design competition (I think it was for a new small coupe which went on to become the Puma). Wish I'd kept a copy. I think McLaren have recently released details of a car with an alternative to wipers for clearing the front screen (might be a track-only car).

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Respect to the COPS.

    As, hopefully, said no injuries and insurance should cover the costs (so in effect the crasher does pay damages and reimbursements)... because "The bloke was ultimately given a misdemeanor for reckless driving and reckless endangerment."

    I had similar when young. You know the saying "you'll have a crash in the first year of driving if ever". Well, I did. 363 days after passing. I went a little too fast around a corner of a country road. I'd come the other way fine a few days earlier, so thought nothing of it. Was a bit more tired this time, there were cambers and raises in the road, there was mud, and of all things I could of just ended in a field if not for a small white van at the exact moment I got there and skidded. So big bump, two cars written off, but thankfully only minor injuries. The main one being a knocked off nail to a thumb, as the passenger of the white van grabbed the steering wheel to them.

    I felt really stupid. I was stupid. And have not made the error since. Well, except just putting my replacement car *slowly* into a tree when hitting a patch of black ice on the one single road not gritted in the entire town. Two lessons learnt in quick succession.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Respect to the COPS.

      "You know the saying "you'll have a crash in the first year of driving if ever"."

      No, I don't. For me, it was three years in and it wasn't my fault (truck pulling a trailer forgot about the trailer and pulled in front of me while the trailer screwed up my passenger side).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like the new Autopilot version was rolled out.

    It is codenamed "GTA6".

  16. devTrail Bronze badge

    How come it only happens to Tesla?

    Tesla is not the only producer equipping their cars with automated pilots, how come all the news about such accidents involve only Teslas? Do they have more coverage? Do they market their systems differently, in such a way that causes overconfidence? Or are they far worse than the competition?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How come it only happens to Tesla?

      They are driven by more entitled persons?

      Driving a Tesla is a statement: I'm too rich and successful to drive Audi.

      1. devTrail Bronze badge

        Re: How come it only happens to Tesla?

        Basically you are blaming the customers on the base of the usual stereotyped assumptions. Of all the possible hypotheses this is the least credible.

    2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: How come it only happens to Tesla?

      Perhaps something to do with other manufacturers not marketing it as "Autopilot" but as an "Assist" e.g. Volvo's "Pilot Assist". Creates a different impression of function and useability right from the outset.

    3. Erik4872

      Re: How come it only happens to Tesla?

      "Do they market their systems differently, in such a way that causes overconfidence?"

      (a) Most people equate "Autopilot" with full self-flying (altitude-keeping, heading lock, speed maintenance) and will assume the car will drive itself and they can go make a sandwich/play on their phone/whatever. Cadillac has a system they call "Super Cruise" that keeps the car in the lane on large highways and is much more insistent about keeping your attention -- it's basically cruise control with automatic steering. It's not called autopilot because it isn't!

      (b) Even though the prices are coming down, a Tesla is still way above the average price for a new car. This ensures that there will be some...exclusivity...and very entitled drivers among the crowd. I can just see some of them basically saying their time and mental energy is much too precious to spend watching the road.

    4. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: How come it only happens to Tesla?

      People who can't drive want crash safety and reliability above all other factors. Teslas score very well in crash tests and their marketing hyperbole gives people the impression that the car can take care of it self on the road. They're quickly replacing Toyotas as the standard model of car driving dangerously slowly in the fast lane, stopping at a green light, running a red light, and displaying lane-change collision damage.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: How come it only happens to Tesla?

        "They're quickly replacing Toyotas as the standard model of car driving dangerously slowly in the fast lane, stopping at a green light, running a red light, and displaying lane-change collision damage."

        Here in California, that seems to be Subarus, followed closely[0] by Volvos. Toyotas just quietly go about their business, kind of like Hondas but without the longevity.

        [0] No, tailgaters are usually BMW drivers.

  17. batfink Silver badge

    I don't believe this laser windscreen wiper idea is going to catch on

    Every time you went around a corner, some of the water in the shark tank would slosh out.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Laser wipers

    Thought lasers had to be mounted on sharks?

  19. OssianScotland Silver badge

    Laser Windscreen Wipers

    Lasers - of variable power - shining onto the windscreen while you are driving.

    What could POSSIBLY go wrong?

    (and why have the sharks been left out?)

  20. aqk
    Paris Hilton

    I know the feeling, Elon.

    Perhaps Elon just got "overly excited" when his silver, daft-looking, low-poly girlfriend decided to get "overly amorous" while "thanking him" for a great Sushi dinner.

    I know the feeling. Or I used to. Long ago... when a girlfriend tried that stunt on me while I was doing 130KPH on the NY route 87.

    "Wait, WAIT! Let me find a rest stop first!"

    Alas about 40+ years ago. Oh- the car was a (gulp) infamous Chevrolet Vega, not a sexy electric batmotruck. Well, chacun à son goût, (no pun intended)

    Ah... Glory days, glory days.

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