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posted by FatPhil on Tuesday September 28, @12:31PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the when-a-crash-is-more-than-a-crash dept.

Tesla owners can now request ‘Full Self-Driving’, prompting criticism from regulators and safety advocates:

SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla began letting owners request its “Full Self-Driving” software early Saturday, opening up for wide release its most advanced driver-assistance suite and signaling thousands of drivers will soon be on the road with the unregulated and largely untested features.

It’s the first time the company has let typical owners upgrade to the software it terms self-driving, although the name itself is an exaggeration by industry and regulatory standards. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk had said owners would be able to request this weekend the upgraded suite of advanced driver-assistance features, which Tesla says is a beta, although they wouldn’t receive the capabilities right away.

Owners will have to agree to let Tesla monitor their driving behavior through the company insurance calculator. Tesla issued a detailed guide specifying the criteria under which they would be graded. If their driving is deemed to be “good” over a seven day period, Musk said on Twitter, “beta access will be granted.”

It’s the latest twist in a saga that has regulators, safety advocates and family of Tesla crash victims up in arms because of the potential for chaos as the technology is unleashed on real-world roads. Until now, roughly 2,000 beta testers have had access to the technology.


Original Submission

This weekend’s release would make it available to those who have purchased the now-$10,000 software upgrade, and those who have purchased a subscription from Tesla for about $100 to $200 per month — if they can first pass Tesla’s safety monitoring.

[...] already, investigators are looking at its predecessor, dubbed Autopilot. That navigates vehicles from highway on-ramp to off-ramp, can park and summon cars, with a driver monitoring the software. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation last month into around a dozen crashes involving parked emergency vehicles while Autopilot was engaged.

“Full Self-Driving” expands Autopilot’s capabilities to city streets and offers the ability to navigate the vehicle turn-by-turn, from point A to point B.

Tesla and NHTSA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Tesla has repeatedly argued that Autopilot is safer than cars in manual driving when the modes are compared using Tesla data and information from NHTSA.

Musk has said “Autopilot is unequivocally safer” than typical cars. The data is not directly comparable, however, because Autopilot is supposed to be activated on certain types of roads in conditions where it can function properly. [...]

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday September 28, @01:05PM (19 children)

    by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 28, @01:05PM (#1182195) Journal

    I don't think it's quite ready for prime time. I had decent experience with a brand-new Model Y (drove it several hundred miles on freeway, highway, local roads) with full self-driving two months ago. It works very well for some things, like on- and off-ramps on the freeway or overtaking slower traffic in the right-hand lane. It can handle some city streets, too. But there are other places where its behavior is not what you'd expect.

    If you're on a two lane road and a semi or camper comes the other way, the Tesla brakes hard because of its front collision avoidance. You can turn that off and the behavior goes away, but then you don't have front collision avoidance. When you're cruising along on the interstate, with nobody within a half mile of you in the front or behind, the car will change lanes to the fast lane, go for a little, then switch back to the slow lane, for no discernible reason at all. If a deer jumps out in front of you and you try to swerve around it by going onto the shoulder, the lane minder fights you.

    Those are a handful of scenarios we ran into on that one trip. Now, there are a lot of settings you can tinker with, but you'd have to get used to them such that it became second nature. That could work if your only car is that one Tesla whose settings you have fine tuned, but if you have a second car that's not a Tesla or another Tesla that your partner has fine-tuned differently to yours, then you're gonna have a lot of problems with your muscle memory. (If you've ever gotten into someone else's car and been annoyed by how it drives and functions differently than yours, it's like that but worse).

    The hope is that all the telemetry Tesla gathers will produce a real self-driving car that you can ride safely in, blissfully asleep or doing a crossword puzzle, but I gotta say this transitional period is not without its challenges.

    --
    Washington DC delenda est.
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by DannyB on Tuesday September 28, @01:44PM (1 child)

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 28, @01:44PM (#1182206) Journal

      Tesla tests drivers to trust them to supervise experimental Autopilot [arstechnica.com]

      Beta testers are already reporting worrying results with the new software.

      [....] Those concerns are well-founded, if early reports by Tesla owners are anything to go by. Podcaster Stephen Pallotta has been posting videos to Twitter showing his car's behavior with the latest build.

      Ticket closed. Working as intended. Will not fix.

      --
      In order to make Halloween scary this year, children are ordered NOT to wear masks.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @02:00PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @02:00PM (#1182211)

        Ticket closed. Working as intended. Will not fix.

        s/Self-Driving/Self-Igniting/g

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by NateMich on Tuesday September 28, @02:59PM (10 children)

      by NateMich (6662) on Tuesday September 28, @02:59PM (#1182232)

      If a deer jumps out in front of you and you try to swerve around it by going onto the shoulder, the lane minder fights you.

      You really shouldn't swerve to avoid animals if at all possible. Your immediate reaction should be to hit the brakes.

      If they are standing in the road and it's safe to go around, fine, but don't try to play chicken with an animal at 60 mph.

      • (Score: 3, Disagree) by Phoenix666 on Tuesday September 28, @03:41PM (4 children)

        by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 28, @03:41PM (#1182253) Journal

        If you stop and think about it, the choice to avoid an obstacle in the road is not "to brake" OR "to swerve." You are going to brake AND swerve if that is what you need to do to avoid the obstacle.

        On a two-lane road on an S-curve after dusk, with deep ditches on either side of the road for wildlife to spring out of, you want to be able to do what it takes to not hit that animal without the car's autopilot fighting you. I have posted about this before, but it's not that the autopilot is uniformly wrong in that scenario, because it saved us once when an animal jumped out from my blindspot, but nearly doomed us 4 minutes later when I tried to brake and swerve around another animal.

        The point is that it's not consistent, so it makes it difficult to internalize its behavior and commit it to muscle memory.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @05:58PM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @05:58PM (#1182333)

          No, you brake then swerve, or you swerve then brake, depending upon the specifics of the situation. You'd never want to do both at the same time because it will either lock the wheels or cause the car's ESC and ABS to engage to stop you from doing something so stupid. If you legitimately need to do both at the same time, you've screwed up so badly that you might as well not bother.

          • (Score: 2) by drussell on Tuesday September 28, @06:24PM (1 child)

            by drussell (2678) on Tuesday September 28, @06:24PM (#1182353) Journal

            I like that my highway-travel vehicle has no "driver aids" trying to out-think me while I'm driving.

            Hell, it doesn't even have a computer of any kind since it uses a carburetor to mix fuel into the incoming air.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @01:32AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @01:32AM (#1182529)

              > ... carburetor ...

              My parents had those...big problems getting started in the winter.
              What kind of vehicle do you have? And where are you located (somewhere warm year around?)

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday September 28, @06:03PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 28, @06:03PM (#1182338) Homepage Journal

          The point is that it's not consistent

          It's worth pointing out that humans aren't consistent either. Sometimes I swerve for animals, sometimes I don't, depending on any number of concerns.

          it's not that the autopilot is uniformly wrong in that scenario

          Neither are humans uniformly wrong, or uniformly right. A trained human with a lot of experience is going to be right more often than an untrained human, or a human with little experience. It's my opinion that these AIs are getting some crap training, while at the same time, a lot of attention is focused on every wrong decision.

          Tesla needs more sensors, of different kinds (radar, etc)
          Tesla needs better AI training, that prioritizes hazards better
          Tesla needs to lay off the false advertising

          I like Musk, but he's going to get into some serious trouble if he continues selling his crap AI as "full self driving".

          --
          Let's go Brandon!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @05:46PM (2 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @05:46PM (#1182322)

        In western Canada, swerving and crashing means the insurance company will say you fell asleep at the wheel and you get nothing. So just brake.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @05:49PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @05:49PM (#1182327)

          Braking is for wusses, you speed up and go straight THROUGH the obstacle.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @03:32AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @03:32AM (#1182576)

            Yeah but my oscillation overthruster is busted.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:39PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:39PM (#1182367)

        Strike deer for free meal later.
        I test drove a Model X and getting it to disengage for driver intervention was terrifying, it fought. A bit like the AI Captain in Wall-E. In any sort of real life emergency you are toast.
        That said, let Musky turn this on, a few idiots die (and sadly they might kill some innocent people). Musky gets sued the heck out of business. Success.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @08:17AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @08:17AM (#1182669)

        It depends on the animal. For small animals (fox, skunk, squirrel, rabbit) don't brake unless you first verify that it won't cause problems for other drivers. Definitely don't steer to avoid. Sorry. I know it sounds cruel but these critters die all the time and it's not worth causing injury to yourself or other drivers to take any evasive action. Hitting them is not likely to damage you or your car.

        Deer and larger animals are an entirely different matter. A deer collision can kill you. Hooves have gone through the windshield right in to chest cavities. Act immediately to defend yourself and hope nobody is too close behind you, but you might not have time to verify that and you shouldn't take extra time. Yes, brake first; but also evade. Any car made in the last 20 years is going to have anti-lock brakes so you brake first and then steer to any safe location. I don't think anything other than video games really trains us for that kind of reaction. If you suck at games, you'll probably suck at this.

        We have deer here, and the last time I had a close call I had time to brake only. Before my adrenaline soaked brain could process anything more, it was gone. A truck was passing in the opposite direction. That deer played chicken with both of us. I caught a split-second of the truck driver's shocked face and he must have caught a split second of mine too.

    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Tuesday September 28, @04:28PM (3 children)

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Tuesday September 28, @04:28PM (#1182272)

      > I don't think it's quite ready for prime time.

      I guess the point is that they are misnaming it. I can't see how this is not false advertising and/or leaves them liable to damages in the event of an accident.

      disclaimer: I don't ever think self driving will work, speaking as someone who uses computer-based optimisation as a major part of my day job.

      • (Score: 2) by FatPhil on Tuesday September 28, @05:41PM (2 children)

        by FatPhil (863) <pc-soylentNO@SPAMasdf.fi> on Tuesday September 28, @05:41PM (#1182318) Homepage
        Yeah, mostly agree. The missing pieces are so significant, and so much more complicated than the parts we've achieved, that it's easy to see it not being realistic within decades. But it's probably closer than fusion power generation, and definitely before self-sustaining off-earth colonies, and everybody thinks those are all coming real soon now, for some reason.

        Number from arse? Late 2030s?
        --
        I know I'm God, because every time I pray to him, I find I'm talking to myself.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:00PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:00PM (#1182336)

          TBH, realistically, this is one of those features that should come gradually, with more and more scenarios being covered until virtually all possible situations are covered. The whole business of Tesla's being unable to deal with common things and then being expected to be "fully" self-driving is rather ridiculous. If it can't figure out not to run into the emergency vehicle parked by the roadway, why should we think that it's going to handle rare events? Around here there are regularly cars abandoned on the side of the freeway, it's too be expected for there to be at least a couple in the local area on any given day.

        • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday September 28, @06:11PM

          by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday September 28, @06:11PM (#1182346) Homepage Journal

          Mostly agree - but real self driving AI might be as close as 5 years away. IMO, it needs a slightly different focus. Musk insists that he can rely on visible light and cameras alone. I insist that making use of radar, lidar, infrared, and/or laser would improve things drastically. Giving the AI more input channels, each of which can prove superior to the others under various circumstances, increases your chances of avoiding problems.

          At least 5 years out, more likely 10 years out, possibly as far away as late 2030s.

          Meanwhile, government and the public seem to be pushing for it, like, tomorrow.

          --
          Let's go Brandon!
    • (Score: 1) by nitehawk214 on Tuesday September 28, @05:47PM (1 child)

      by nitehawk214 (1304) on Tuesday September 28, @05:47PM (#1182324)

      How the hell can you have something called "full self driving" when you can turn collision avoidance off?

      --
      "Don't you ever miss the days when you used to be nostalgic?" -Loiosh
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:11PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:11PM (#1182345)

        That's a feature, not a bug, it's Elon's contribution to society. Namely, removing the people too dumb to know what the consequences of turning that feature off would be.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:35PM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:35PM (#1182365)

    you should make them agree to let you spy at random times over a few months so they don't fake good driving for a week.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:43PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 28, @06:43PM (#1182369)

      :) like your Tesla doesn't SPY on you 24/7?
      People are incredibly dumb. Tesla spycar, Apple|Droid spyphone, gMail spymail, Alexa spyspeaker, Ring spydoorbell, etc. And they BUY these things!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @01:40AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @01:40AM (#1182533)

        > Tesla spycar, Apple|Droid spyphone, gMail spymail, Alexa spyspeaker, Ring spydoorbell, etc.

        Which one of these is different?
        Hint -- at least Gmail is free of direct costs (of course you pay with lack of privacy).

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @03:38AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 29, @03:38AM (#1182578)

        My brain keeps reading Amazon Ring as Ringu.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by darkfeline on Wednesday September 29, @02:45AM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Wednesday September 29, @02:45AM (#1182560) Homepage

    Google had it right. Either you have (real) full self-driving or you have nothing. Doesn't matter how good the driver, if you give them auto-pilot, they're going to stop paying attention. It's only human.

    On airplanes at 10k+ feet, you have seconds to take corrective action. On the road, you may not even have a second to react.

    --
    Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
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