Tesla Autopilot crash driver died "playing video game"

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/02/26/tesla-autopilot-crash-driver-d.html


How many times do we have to say this? A Tesla isn’t a self-driving car, say investigators after Apple man’s fatal crash

Article has a link to the video of NTSB’s board meeting discussing the crash.
(3 hours 24 minutes, so I’m gonna trust El Reg with the summary here.)

Some questions remain open because Tesla refused to cooperate with the probe. But it seems safe to say that crash happened the way it did because the driver’s attention was focused on his phone and not on the road. He would have had a good chance to survive the crash though if the attenuator he crashed into had been in order.


The “gore area”? That’s a little on the nose.


Well, presumably at least as many times as Elon Musk claims that it is, which is going to be hard to keep up with.




I certainly appreciate developments towards driverless cars but if i had a car that had the features Tesla’s have i’m not entirely sure if i would use them precisely because i know the systems do get confused at times. I would much rather drive myself given the choice, perhaps i’d turn it on during heavy traffic since the car shouldn’t have an issue with stop and go traffic.


Was it Outrun?
Too soon?
Like saying “self driving car” too soon?


They should never have called it “autopilot”. We’re not there yet. Not even close.


The NTSB wants “car mode” to be on by default on phones

Okay if this is something that can be turned off. What a lot of these “let’s disable phones in cars” proposals forget is 1) Cars often have passengers 2) There’s no way to distinguish by motion people in cars versus people on buses. Certainly while on a bus I often need to use my phone in order to figure out where to get off or transfer to another bus.


You get a fail! And you get a fail! And you get a fail!

Seems like Tesla could implement an “awareness” feature that works with autopilot: ie, eyes on road most of the time and at least one hand on the steering wheel at all times. Otherwise, autopilot won’t engage. (Not knowing much about Tesla, I’m assuming such a check is not already in place.)


They somewhat do this i believe, it can “sense” the attentiveness of a driver through the steering wheel instead of eye tracking, which i think is easier. A person paying attention will have their hands on the wheel as they should. Drivers are actually supposed to keep their hands on the wheel even when automatic driving is turned on. However taking hands off the wheel does not appear to disable automatic driving as far as i know.


That really bugs the hell out of me too, but I have to admit that, statistically speaking, cars effectively never have passengers.

My experience is that these locks only kick in when you connect to a car’s Bluetooth system.

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On the railways that would be called a vigilance device.


My experience (at least with my car) is that certain locks pertaining to some bluetooth features are on the car side’s UI and not on the phone side. I still think its dumb because there’s been plenty of times that as a co-pilot or passenger i’m the one connected to the bluetooth and not the driver.


It is not out of line with what a airplane autopilot does, which is maintain the same direction and altitude. That’s not enough for driving in traffic, though.

The problem is what to do when it’s already engaged. The car will loudly, constantly nag you to put your hands back on the wheel, and was doing that for a while before this guy crashed.

I work with a guy who says it works great in stop and go traffic. If you’re on a freeway going less than about 30, that doesn’t seem particularly risky.

All that said, with the very limited exception of stop and go traffic on a freeway, trying to use anything short of fully autonomous self driving seems really dangerous. If you’re not paying enough attention to actually drive the car, you won’t be able to react in an emergency.



Never trust a dinosaur with a go-kart.


Did the phone kill him or was it the Tesla, or both. Rise of the machines come to mind…

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Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. What the ever-loving fuck was he doing playing a video game while driving?!