Tag: autopilot

By on July 15, 2016

Tesla Model X

Tesla’s Autopilot system is many things to many people — an automated folk devil to safety and consumer advocates, or a nice thing to have on a long drive (according to Jack Baruth) — but it isn’t the cause of a July 1 rollover crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The automaker’s CEO took to Twitter yesterday to claim that the Model X driven by a Michigan man wasn’t even in Autopilot mode at the time of the crash. Elon Musk said that data uploaded from the vehicle shows that Autopilot wasn’t activated, and added that the “crash would not have occurred if it was on.”

Tesla then released those digital logs to the media. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2016

2016 Tesla Model S

Getting a good price for a used Tesla is now solely up to its owner, after the automaker discontinued a program that allows three-year-old vehicles to be bought back for 50 percent of the purchase price.

Tesla dumped the program on July 1, Reuters reports, allowing the company earmarked for the program for other purposes. The program was created to assure would-be owners of a basic resale value after the Model S entered the marketplace. (Read More…)

By on July 14, 2016

MY16_Accord_Sedan_sensing_4

One of the first things any child learns in the modern technological era is that there are tools for which the true purpose is explicitly stated and tools for which the true purpose is hidden behind some obfuscating official language, legal fiction, or disingenuous disclaimer. Examples of the former: shovels, over-and-under trapshooting shotguns, noise-canceling headphones. Examples of the latter: BitTorrent, “professional” lock-picking kits on Massdrop, the Hitachi Magic Wand.

With the simultaneous democratization of tech and increased frequency of tech-related legislation, more and more things are falling into the category of “used for purposes other than intended, or in a manner other than suggested.” Nobody ever lets the FAA know that they’re going to be flying a Phantom drone over a motocross track, nobody ever deletes their MP3s when they sell their CDs back to Half Price Books, and nobody ever takes the Yoshimura pipe off their GSX-R1000 when they leave Willow Springs and ride back home.

From the moment that the Tesla “Autopilot” feature was introduced, with its copious disclaimers and strident request that the owner keep his hands on the wheel and continue to act just like he was driving the thing himself, the whole world has treated Autopilot like it was Napster. Oh, sure, I’m just going to keep looking ahead with my hands on the wheel, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. The near-universal assumption, one I’ve seen echoed by dozens of Tesla owners, is that Autopilot is, in fact, a functioning autopilot system and all the disclaimers are just there to keep the lawyers happy.

What if that’s not the case at all?

(Read More…)

By on July 12, 2016

2012 Tesla Model S

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has no plans to remove the Autopilot feature from his vehicles, despite demands from safety and consumer groups.

Musk told the Wall Street Journal that lack of education is the problem, not the technology behind the semi-autonomous driving system. The executive’s comments come after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration delivered a lengthy list of questions to Tesla as part of its investigation into the fatal May 7 crash of a Model S. (Read More…)

By on July 12, 2016

Tesla Model S In Hero Blue, Image: Tesla

Was the fatal May crash of a Tesla Model S driving in Autopilot mode significant enough for the automaker to inform its shareholders? The Securities and Exchange Commission plans to find out.

The federal agency recently opened an investigation into Tesla to determine if the automaker broke securities laws by not notifying investors of the crash, according to the Wall Street Journal. (Read More…)

By on July 10, 2016

Volvo Autonomous Drive, Image: Volvo Cars

The National Transportation Safety Board plans to investigate the fatal May 7 Tesla crash to see if the trend of increased automation in driving functions has a dark side, Bloomberg reports.

Already, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is looking into the incident and the role the vehicle’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system played in the crash, but the NTSB has a broader scope in mind. As vehicles increasingly rely on electronic aids for safety, drivers could be letting down their guard. (Read More…)

By on July 8, 2016

Tesla HQ

America’s highest profile consumer advocacy group is calling out Tesla CEO Elon Musk for waiting a month to disclose the potential risk posed to owners by the company’s Autopilot technology.

In a letter to Musk, Consumer Watchdog demands that Tesla sideline its Autopilot system until it can be proven safe, criticizes the CEO for side-stepping blame in several crashes, and accuses him of putting the public at risk. (Read More…)

By on July 7, 2016

Tesla Supercharger With Model S At Tesla Dealership

Tesla’s bad news week has now spilled over into a second, after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced a second investigation into a Tesla crash involving the semi-autonomous Autopilot system.

According to Reuters, the agency wants to know if the Autopilot on the Model X involved in a July 1 rollover was activated at the time of the incident, and if it played any role in the crash. The driver of the Model X, a Detroit-area man who wasn’t seriously injured, claims he was using Autopilot when the vehicle left its lane and hit a guardrail on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

While the NHTSA looks into this crash and the fatal May 7 collision that took the life of a Tesla owner in Florida, the automaker is engaged in a nasty war of words with Fortune magazine over two articles it claims are misleading and false. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2016

Volvo-self-driving-car

If you’re going to let people take their hands off the wheel and let the vehicle do the driving, you’d better offer every tool available to make sure it’s safe.

That’s the view of Stefan Sommer, CEO of German auto parts supplier ZF Friedrichshafen, who advocated for the use of LIDAR (light detection and ranging) in autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles in the wake of the fatal Tesla crash. (Read More…)

By on July 6, 2016

press01-model-x-driving

A rollover crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike doesn’t generate many headlines, unless it’s a Tesla Model X operating in Autopilot mode.

After last week’s revelation of a fatal May crash involving Autopilot, another incident involving the semi-autonomous technology is the last thing the automaker needs, but that’s what happened on July 1, according to the Detroit Free Press.

A Model X owned by Southfield, Michigan art dealer Albert Scaglione crashed outside of Bedford, Pennsylvania, about halfway between Pittsburgh and Harrisburg. The vehicle, which the owner said was in Autopilot mode, left its lane, hit the guardrail, rebounded across both lanes and overturned after striking the concrete median.

Neither the owner or his son-in-law were seriously hurt in the crash. (Read More…)

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