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Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

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Postby TechJunkie on 18 Apr 2016 17:53

Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

Autopilot saves Model S:

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Tesla Model S autopilot saved the car autonomously from a side collision from a boom lift truck. I was driving down the interstate and you can see the boom lift truck in question on the left side of the screen on a joining interstate road. Once the roads merged, the truck tried to get to the exit ramp on the right and never saw my Tesla. I actually wasn't watching that direction and Tessy (the name of my car) was on duty with autopilot engaged. I became aware of the danger when Tessy alerted me with the "immediately take over" warning chime and the car swerving to the right to avoid the side collision.

You can see where I took over when there's a little bit of blip in the steering. Tessy had already moved to the right to avoid the collision. I was not able to slow down even more due to the heavy traffic (cars were behind me). Once I got behind him I slowly added more room between us until he exited. I was not tail gating after the incident.

It was a mistake on the other driver's part. He did not even know I was there until I honked my horn. There was a group of women in the black sedan to my left and they went nuts about the guy and what he did (all kinds of gesturing in their car). Once I was beside the truck as it slowed down on the ramp, the guy gestured a "sorry!" I gave him, "it's okay" wave.

Tessy did great. I have done a lot of testing with the sensors in the car and the software capabilities. I have always been impressed with the car, but I had not tested the car's side collision avoidance. I am VERY impressed. Excellent job Elon!

Note: I have over 39,000 miles on the car and I've had it since mid-July 2015. Hands down the best car I have ever owned and use it to its full extent. It has done many, many amazing things, but this was one of the more interesting things caught on the dashcam. Note: it's a really poor dashcam, so sorry for the poor video quality.

Note 2: In case you're curious, I'm listening to an audiobook in the background. It's a Malcolm Gladwell book (excellent book).


Sooner or later human drivers are going to learn that certain cars are easy to push around.
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Postby coach on 19 Apr 2016 11:47

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

TechJunkie wrote:Sooner or later human drivers are going to learn that certain cars are easy to push around.

That's why we need to get rid of those drivers. And by "those", I mean "all human."

I've always said we need WAY stiffer punishments for causing an accident. An accident is never an accident, it is always caused by inattentiveness. And inattentiveness is caused by lack of consequences.
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Postby pod on 19 Apr 2016 11:50

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

An accident isn't always the driver's fault. The vehicle, built by humans, can fail to perform to expectations. Braking systems do fail and steering does give out. Grant it, it's exceedingly rare, but to make a blanket statement like you just did is inaccurate.

Drive a Kia around for a bit and I can guarantee a manufacturing defect. Yes, I said that out loud.

And even when autonomous vehicles become the norm, either by market forces or by gunpoint, they will experience human-created failures, too. Your not-very-stylish Google car will spazz out one day and kill someone.
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Postby TechJunkie on 19 Apr 2016 12:06

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

pod wrote:Your not-very-stylish Google car will spazz out one day and kill someone.


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I am the proud owner of a 2015 Tesla SP90D, purchased with all available options. It is the best car I have ever owned and I love it dearly. I also own a large chunk of Tesla stock. Today my car received the anticipated version 7 software update and I was anxious to try out Autopilot near my home. After several seconds of successful hands-free driving, all hell broke loose. My car was tracking the car in front of me to successfully steer, but I was going closer to the speed limit and that car eventually drifted far ahead of me. Shortly after that, another car was coming in my car's direction from the opposite side of the road. I can only guess at what happened next. My car suddenly veered to the left, crossing the double-yellow road divider line right into its path. Had I not reacted quickly to jerk the steering wheel in the opposite direction, I might have clipped it. I post this in the hopes that it will prevent any losses to anyone using Autopilot in similar circumstances and in the sincere hope that Tesla can address the issue as soon as possible if the software can somehow be improved in detecting both oncoming vehicles and cross-traffic lane dividers to avoid steering into oncoming traffic.
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Postby pod on 19 Apr 2016 12:12

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

There you go. It's not always the human driver/occupant's fault. Sometimes it's the person who programmed it.

Tech, you're way more familiar with this than I am, but what sort of liability could you be exposed to if you were (for example) the coder responsible for the firmware in a mission-critical device or application?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Therac-25
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Postby TechJunkie on 19 Apr 2016 12:14

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

No personal liability for the developer unless there was negligence. Company could be liable as a defect depending on the state. The legal issues are still not sorted out yet.
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Postby coach on 19 Apr 2016 13:28

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

pod wrote:An accident isn't always the driver's fault. The vehicle, built by humans, can fail to perform to expectations. Braking systems do fail and steering does give out. Grant it, it's exceedingly rare, but to make a blanket statement like you just did is inaccurate.

Drive a Kia around for a bit and I can guarantee a manufacturing defect. Yes, I said that out loud.

And even when autonomous vehicles become the norm, either by market forces or by gunpoint, they will experience human-created failures, too. Your not-very-stylish Google car will spazz out one day and kill someone.

Thank you for the entirely pointless blinding flash of the obvious there Podster. We all know nothing is perfect. The point being, we can get to a lot less unperfect. Even without autonomous vehicles, we could cut WAY back on the number of "accidents" if we cracked down on the irresponsible drivers that caused them.
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Postby pod on 19 Apr 2016 13:39

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

How do you plan on cracking down on them?
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Postby TechJunkie on 19 Apr 2016 13:40

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

Make it too expensive for them to drive if they can't figure out how to do it without hurting people.
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Postby pod on 19 Apr 2016 13:51

Re: Human drivers vs. autonomous vehicles

There's the issue of collecting payment of course. Coach can have that job.
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