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Car Driver Dies When Using Car in Autopilot

     
9:04 am on Jul 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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In what appears to be the first accident of its kind involving a vehicle in autopilot, neither the system or the driver saw a truck turning, and the driver was tragically killed.

Is this a setback for autonomous vehicles?

Tesla said in a blogpost: "Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied." Car Driver Dies When Using Car in Autopilot [independent.co.uk]
9:15 am on July 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It may be a set back, but it should not be - Tesla claims it is already safer than not having autopilot, and it is only going to get better.
10:17 am on July 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm a bit surprised it kept on driving after it had hit a truck.
10:31 am on July 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Yes, it seems to have continued going, even though there was an impact. It suggests some kind of catastrophic failure before the impact.

Tesla claims it is already safer than not having autopilot, and it is only going to get better.


That claim by Tesla assumes the driver is not totally distracted and can act as a backup. The addition of the autopilot perhaps gives a false sense of security.

My wife won't even use basic cruise control.
11:03 pm on July 1, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My wife won't even use basic cruise control.


I don't either, I also hate ABS, power assisted steering, reversing alarms, and any other type of aid, including stabilty controls. I was taught to listen to the car and feedback through the wheels and steering. Problem is, younger drivers depend on these 'aids'.

Actually went on "a day out" with a car maker at a famous GP circuit, "if you beat the stability control a warning sounds" opps sorry, it went off doing hand brake turns ! Great day out though including driving the track in one of their sports cars, I had to past a test to be allowed to do that.

Self driving cars - too many problems for many years to come, enjoy the open road if you can find one.
6:41 am on July 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I've owned a Model S for over a year now and I can say that the cause here was pretty much all human error (probably on the part of both drivers). Autopilot had nothing to do with what happened, other than the cruise control feature kept the car going after the impact (other cars likely would have done the same). It's sad but if the drivers had been paying attention the result could have been much better.

I use Autopilot every chance I get, it's amazing. It is a driving aid though, and the driver is still ultimately the one in control.
7:48 am on July 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I had a small car many years ago that did not have power steering, and I do not see why small cars even need it. You are right it gave you better feedback - it its hard to buy cars that do not have it now.

I have no problem with reversing alarms.

Self-driving cars will be a lot safer than human drivers at some point.
10:55 am on July 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The first time I tried to reverse park a car with power steering I ended up almost at right angles to the kerb. I got used to it quickly enough though.

I love the reversing sensors on my current car, a reverse usually needs you to be watching at least two things at the same time and if one can be handled by hearing instead the whole thing gets a lot easier and safer.
12:48 pm on July 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Until all vehicles are driverless these things will happen because humans can always be trusted to make poor or wrong judgements. Will that happen? (driverless cars?) Don't know as it appears the only way to make that happen in the future is to argue that drivers are not needed, and thus private ownership of vehicles is no longer necessary. Can't see that happening any time soon.
1:49 pm on July 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Autonomous vehicles available to the public are coming.
10:19 pm on July 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Um, private ownership may go , if you can pick up one for a day in cities. Frankly I would rather accept a persons decision that an a computer on stop or go.
<aside>The first time I drove a 2 litre car I nearly ended up in a tree on the exit from the garage</aside>
Note I live out 'in the sticks' in the UK , and have had a Porsche ( rear wheel drive) and Alfa Romeo's ( a couple of those) No USA muscle cars here - they don't go around our UK corners !

Tesla much more expensive and no charging points here.
10:25 pm on July 3, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Autonomous vehicles available to the public are coming.

Might be interesting at the dragstrip.
1:08 pm on July 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I heard their disclaimer was that
autonomous required the driver to still keep hands on the steering wheel.

I'm a car guy and don't get the autonomous thing at all, however I was in a Tesla showroom a while ago and some of the models are really nice.

In California, especially San Diego where I live, charging stations aren't a problem. They're all over.
1:19 pm on July 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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automous thing


IMHO I think like most things it starts in commercial service in very subtle ways. But autonomous vehicles are fully road legal in Nevada for instance:
[dmvnv.com...]

Yes, the regulations say that you have to be present in the car with two drivers right now, but they're very easy to understand, and you can see that all they have to really do is strike 482A.130 and bam you can have cars on the roads with no drivers completely legally:
[leg.state.nv.us...]

But I don't think that happens short term.

Commercial trucking is where this is really going to start IMHO - it'll be like autopilot for planes. Driver teams will be able to operate a truck continuously for 24 hours a day without stopping. One will sleep, one will have "control" of the truck if anything goes wrong. Once it becomes more accepted, then drivers will gradually be able to become more "hands free".

But that's just IMHO.

To me the autonomous thing makes complete sense - car enthusiasts will always have cars they can drive themselves, but I think the economics of shared ownership (or renting per hour/day) make a lot more sense for a lot of people as cars are very expensive and rapidly depreciating assets that sit idle for the vast majority of the day. Autonomous vehicles will help drive the cost of shared ownership/rental way down, and will give an alternative to ownership for those that want to be able to go anywhere, anytime.

Like anything, it won't happen overnight, and it probably won't happen in quite the way we think!
1:31 pm on July 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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We probably all know someone who has had the conversation about taking away Mom or Dad's car key as they age.

Autonomous/driverless cars are likely to make maintaining independence and the ability to age in place a lot easier.

I'm a car guy, but I'm looking forward to these developments.
1:38 pm on July 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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"I think the economics of shared ownership (or renting per hour/day) make a lot more sense for a lot of people as cars are very expensive and rapidly depreciating assets that sit idle for the vast majority of the day"

Parking and clean air are other reason for shared vehicles.

There are hundreds of GOCARS all over my city. These are 2 passenger electric cars that are rented via mobile app. You use them & leave them for the next guy. The app tells you where an empty one is parked. Cost a little to sign up, but pretty cheap to use... no gas!
10:07 pm on July 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Is this a setback for autonomous vehicles?

I hope so! I hope they fail miserably like Zip Drives and fat-free crisps did! This doesn't make any sense at all. A car should be driven for the sake of enjoyment. If I simply wanted to get from point A to point B, I'd use public transport. Much cheaper and much less hassle.
10:40 pm on July 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Only way this actually works is if ALL vehicles are on a grid under a master computer/bureaucracy ... and I'd like that about as much as a nanny watching my every move. We already have autonomous rail lines and subways over a "closed circuit" but the rest of us like the idea of pick up and go wherever, whenever....
11:00 pm on July 4, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Only way this actually works is if... but the rest of us like the idea of pick up and go wherever, whenever
Don't worry, you won't be around (and neither will I) if/when this is fully implemented :)

For the hands-free autopilot technology to take effect with commercial transport (trucks) the energy enigma needs to be solved first. We need longer lasting batteries, or move to a different power source entirely.
3:10 pm on July 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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German automaker BMW announced Friday that it would begin mass-producing a car capable of operating itself in 2021.

[elpasoinc.com...]
 

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