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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: 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.

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

    by FatPhil (863) <{pc-soylent} {at} {}> 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.

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