GRA
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Sun Jul 10, 2016 3:34 pm

abasile wrote:
LeftieBiker wrote:Not really an argument for or against, but some of you may recall a lawsuit about a decade ago: an elderly couple bought an RV, and set out on a vacation trip. After getting on the freeway, they set the cruise control, and...both went into the back for a cup of coffee. The RV crashed, of course, and they sued, arguing that the salesman hadn't adequately explained how the cruise control system worked, and what its limitations were.

That one has sure made the rounds! http://www.snopes.com/autos/techno/cruise.asp

Perhaps more to the point of people blindly trusting technology is the phenomenon known as "Death by GPS": http://arstechnica.com/cars/2016/05/death-by-gps/

I'm currently reading Milner's book "Pinpoint: How GPS is Changing Technology, Culture, and Our Minds," of which the above is an excerpt. I've never heard any of my ranger friends refer to it in that way, but we all know of people who've gotten into trouble because they were blindly following GPS directions, and either stopped paying attention to where they were/were going/had been, so that when the GPS was damaged/had dead batteries/couldn't get a signal they were helpless I(often because they didn't have maps/compasses and even if they had, didn't know how to use them or any natural indications of direction). Or, they simply didn't use their brains and evaluate if what the GPS was telling them made sense - the 'driving off a cliff or into the ocean' crowd.

This is a symptom of how we receive and process information, and Milner details much of the research into this area in the book. However, I'd noticed the effect myself shortly after I'd learned to drive. I found that if I was driving someone home and just following their spoken directions ("turn left here"), it was far too easy to stop paying attention to the route, and after dropping them off I often had great difficulty orienting myself and reversing my route to get back to somewhere I recognized. I forced myself to pay attention and not to let myself drop into auto-following mode after that, but it still requires some effort not to do so.
Last edited by GRA on Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Sun Jul 10, 2016 9:17 pm

In November 2000, Mr. Grazinski purchased a brand new 32 foot Winnebago motor home. On his first trip home, having joined the freeway, he set the cruise control at 70 mph and calmly left the drivers seat to go into the back and make himself a cup of coffee. Not surprisingly, the Winnie left the freeway, crashed and overturned. Mr. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not advising him in the handbook that he could not actually do this. He was awarded $1,750,000 plus a new Winnebago.


That's the version I read, in a fairly reputable place, IIRC, probably because of the "Stella Awards." I guess I'm glad it's an urban legend!
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:46 am

Another report (second-hand, unconfirmed ?) of an X crashing (no injuries, X totaled) while on autopilot, discussed here:

https://teslamotorsclub.com/tmc/threads ... day.73308/

But the report illustrates that, in addition to not being able to see very large objects such as a semi truck in some conditions, autopilot cannot see smaller obstructions like road debris or potholes (and animals and people?) that can lead to major collisions.

Does anyone think it is ever safe to take your eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel when driving an autopiloted vehicle, and if so, under what conditions?

Below, an explanation of the two investigations of the May 7 fatality, explaining the different functions and procedures of the two agencies now investigating the collision:

Driver Automation to Be Scrutinized in NTSB Probe of Tesla Crash

...The Safety Board will be sending a team of five investigators to Florida next week, agency spokesman Christopher O’Neil said Friday.

While the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting its own review of the May 7 incident, the NTSB wants to take a more comprehensive look at whether the crash reveals any systemic issues with driverless car technology, O’Neil said. NHTSA is a regulatory agency and the NTSB is an independent investigative body that only has the power to make policy recommendations.

“It’s worth taking a look and seeing what we can learn from that event, so that as that automation is more widely introduced we can do it in the safest way possible,” O’Neil said...

Ditlow said that the NTSB rarely opens investigations into highway accidents, so the announcement that it was looking at the Tesla crash is significant.

“They’re not looking at just this crash,” he said. “They’re looking at the broader aspects. Are these driverless vehicles safe? Are there enough regulations in place to ensure their safety?”

“And one thing in this crash I’m certain they’re going to look at is using the American public as test drivers for beta systems in vehicles. That is simply unheard of in auto safety,” he said...

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ ... esla-crash
Last edited by edatoakrun on Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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abasile
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:05 am

edatoakrun wrote:But the report illustrates that, in addition to not being able to see very large objects such as a semi truck in some conditions, autopilot cannot see smaller obstructions like road debris or potholes (and animals and people?) that can lead to major collisions.

Tesla's AutoPilot is supposed to be able to detect pedestrians, cyclists, large animals, etc. I'm not sure about cats, raccoons, potholes, etc.

edatoakrun wrote:Does anyone think it is ever safe to take your eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel when driving an autopiloted vehicle, and if so, under what conditions?

Perhaps one might consider this to be safe enough on an open Interstate, without traffic, with unobstructed views, where there are "rumble" strips on either side of the lane (in case AutoPilot starts veering out of the lane), and assuming one continues to monitor conditions at regular intervals. Of course, even then, the driver would be using the system outside Tesla's guidelines.

AutoPilot, at least with the current hardware and while it's presented as a "beta" feature, should be considered as nothing more than a driver aid to reduce fatigue. It should make it a bit easier for the driver to vary his/her posture and stay comfortable (but hopefully not too comfortable!). That said, I've never driven an AutoPilot-enabled car.

I think a significant part of the allure of AutoPilot is having the opportunity to use the latest in vehicle technology. Those who are using this feature within Tesla's guidelines are arguably performing a public service, at least to future Tesla owners, by providing data in their particular driving conditions. If there's one thing that's needed to develop good software here, it's data.
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:27 am

edatoakrun wrote:But the report illustrates that, in addition to not being able to see very large objects such as a semi truck in some conditions, autopilot cannot see smaller obstructions like road debris or potholes (and animals and people?) that can lead to major collisions.

Does anyone think it is ever safe to take your eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel when driving an autopiloted vehicle, and if so, under what conditions?


It is never safe to take your eyes off the road! Even if you take your hands off the wheel while on AP, you need to be in a position to take over anytime. The AP does remind you from time to time to place your hands on the wheel. Based on certain algorithms it will do so more often or slow down the speed if the hands are not detected in the given time frame. There are visual warnings, audible warnings and a last resort buzzer like warning with a "Take over immediately" display, else car comes to a halt. So yes, you need to be able to take over while it is on AP.

The car does not see debris. I personally experienced that over the weekend and had to maneuver it almost to the other lane while ensuring there was no car in that lane.

While the AP technology is amazing, I think people get a little carried away and push it little too far. It is a great tool when used as a driver aid. It can be your biggest enemy when you try to use it as a driver's replacement.
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GRA
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 4:30 pm

inphoenix wrote:
edatoakrun wrote:But the report illustrates that, in addition to not being able to see very large objects such as a semi truck in some conditions, autopilot cannot see smaller obstructions like road debris or potholes (and animals and people?) that can lead to major collisions.

Does anyone think it is ever safe to take your eyes off the road, or your hands off the wheel when driving an autopiloted vehicle, and if so, under what conditions?


It is never safe to take your eyes off the road! Even if you take your hands off the wheel while on AP, you need to be in a position to take over anytime. The AP does remind you from time to time to place your hands on the wheel. Based on certain algorithms it will do so more often or slow down the speed if the hands are not detected in the given time frame. There are visual warnings, audible warnings and a last resort buzzer like warning with a "Take over immediately" display, else car comes to a halt. So yes, you need to be able to take over while it is on AP.

The car does not see debris. I personally experienced that over the weekend and had to maneuver it almost to the other lane while ensuring there was no car in that lane.

While the AP technology is amazing, I think people get a little carried away and push it little too far. It is a great tool when used as a driver aid. It can be your biggest enemy when you try to use it as a driver's replacement.

Which is why Tesla should never have called it "Autopilot" as it clearly lacks the capability to be that currently, and why I expect, if they get sued, that will be a major point in whether they win or lose. Words set up expectations in people's minds and alter how they think, a fact which marketers have long known. So, just as soft 'Corinthian' Leather must be superior to 'regular' leather, 'Autopilot' must have autonomous capabilities, compared to a mere 'Pilot Assist' system, right?
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:08 pm

GRA wrote:Which is why Tesla should never have called it "Autopilot" as it clearly lacks the capability to be that currently, and why I expect, if they get sued, that will be a major point in whether they win or lose. Words set up expectations in people's minds and alter how they think, a fact which marketers have long known. So, just as soft 'Corinthian' Leather must be superior to 'regular' leather, 'Autopilot' must have autonomous capabilities, compared to a mere 'Pilot Assist' system, right?


I couldn't agree more!! That name is misleading indeed.
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garsh
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 5:50 pm

GRA wrote:Which is why Tesla should never have called it "Autopilot" as it clearly lacks the capability to be that currently
The name actually is entirely appropriate, since it pretty much mimics the autopilot features available on airplanes. Those can't dodge other planes, down-drafts, tornadoes, or anything at all either. But much of the public seems to think that "autopilot" implies "pilot", meaning it can handle all tasks of flying the plane (or driving the car).
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:40 pm

garsh wrote:
GRA wrote:........ But much of the public seems to think that .............


It's not who/what you are, but what you are perceived to be,..............
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GRA
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Re: Tesla's autopilot, on the road

Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:13 pm

inphoenix wrote:
garsh wrote:
GRA wrote:........ But much of the public seems to think that .............


It's not who/what you are, but what you are perceived to be,..............

That's not my quote, it's garsh's, but we agree that perception, not reality, is the key.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

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