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posted by FatPhil on Tuesday September 28, @12:31PM   Printer-friendly
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, 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.

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  • (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".

      The only reason for not believing in it (Marxism) is that it doesn't work. - Thomas Sowell
  • (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.