By on September 28, 2019

Tesla Model 3, Image: Tesla

As you read here yesterday, Tesla’s biggest over-the-air software update to date has brought Model S, X, and 3 owners a host of new features, with an especially ominous (or exciting, depending on your level of trust) feature reserved for the true believers.

That Software Version 10.0 feature is Smart Summon — a way of getting your vehicle to drive to you upon exiting a building. Open the mobile app on your phone, press the necessary buttons, and your Tesla will pilot itself like the Mary Celeste to your arranged rendezvous point. Presumably, you’ll have your hands full of children and shopping, though Tesla says you’ll have to keep tabs on your vehicle — keeping it in in your field of vision — lest you find yourself liable for a fender-bender or worse.

It kind of defeats the purpose of the feature. If your attention is distracted by whiny kids or something else, how is it more convenient (or even possible) to stand there and watch your car make its way towards you, alert and ready to release that button and stop the Tesla in the event of a wayward shopper, vehicle, or rogue action on the part of your own car? How hard is it to walk over and get into your own car and drive off, especially considering the feature’s beta nature and Tesla’s long list of Autopilot fails?

Naturally, owners began testing Smart Summon the second it arrived. (Read More…)

By on September 6, 2019

Tesla Model S Grey - Image: Tesla

Years of boasting from Tesla over the capabilities of its Autopilot driver-assist system — boasts the automaker dialed back after a series of fatal crashes — are in part responsible for a Culver City, California crash in January 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board states in a new report. Driver-assist features aim to make the monotonous task of driving easier, with the most advanced systems allowing users to take their hands off the wheel for varying periods of time.

Tesla’s system, which doesn’t employ the driver-monitoring camera fielded by Cadillac’s Super Cruise, is not as rigorous at ensuring the driver actually pays attention to the road ahead as its main rival. Videos of sleeping Tesla drivers continue to show up on the internet. Is it the driver’s fault for misusing the system, or the automaker’s for designing a system that’s ripe for abuse? The NTSB says it’s both. (Read More…)

By on May 22, 2019

tesla model 3

In this writer’s opinion, one of the greatest things to happen to high-speed motoring is the blind spot monitoring system. Try as we might to religiously check our mirrors and peer over our shoulders before each lane change, there’ll always be that time we half-ass it, just as an unseen car creeps up in the shadow of our B- or C-pillar. BSM can be a savior.

However, handing over the entire lane-change process to a combination of software and sensors, at least in Tesla vehicles, is far, far worse than doing it yourself, Consumer Reports claims. After giving the latest update to Tesla’s “Navigate on Autopilot” feature a shakedown cruise on the highways of Connecticut, the consumer advocacy group handed the system a failing grade. (Read More…)

By on May 16, 2019

Will online videos soon emerge showing Nissan drivers taking naps or hopping into the backseat while underway? Maybe, but Nissan hasn’t been as cavalier as Tesla in playing up the abilities of its driver-assist technology. Now that an upgraded system that’s on par with General Motors’ Super Cruise and Tesla’s Autopilot is on the way, the automaker remains cautious.

ProPilot 2.0, as the name implies, is the next generation version of Nissan’s ProPilot Assist technology, and it differs from the first-gen system in one big way: drivers will be able to take their hands off the wheel. (Read More…)

By on November 3, 2016

Ford Assist

How many times have you nearly backed your car over a child that was too short to see through your rear window? If the answer is more than once, you’re probably getting more than just a little tired of dealing with angry parents.

Fortunately, Ford has announced that its next generation of driver assistance technology will include self-stopping pedestrian detection. The automaker also plans to offer vehicles with enhanced “evasive steering” assist, aided cross-traffic negotiation, and advanced self-parking. While these safety features sound great in theory, they may forbid drivers from using their vehicle as a deadly weapon on public roads — at least on their own terms.

(Read More…)

By on August 22, 2014

V2V Intersection

As reported earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled plans to mandate vehicle-to-vehicle technology within the next few years through a proposal that could take just as long to make it through Congress. Since then, more details and reactions about the V2V proposal have come out.

(Read More…)

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