Tesla car was involved in crash while in Autopilot mode, U.S. says

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The autopilot on my motorcycle does that, sometimes.


HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.


Too soon.


In other news, computerized driver assistance such as anti-lock braking and traction control, as well as passive safety like airbags saved thousands of lives. Idiot, inattentive drivers still managed to kill thousands in spite of all the assistance that they get from modern cars. But let’s report this one fatality, shall we? In fairness, it was great to see it placed in the context of fatalities per million miles.


I’ve been reading about this story on the automotive blogs. What’s not entirely clear is if the same outcome would have occurred even if he was driving in full manual mode.

Either way, I am not a fan of this concept of semi autonomous driving.


I’m a huge fan of semi-autonomous driving. And ultimately autonomous driving. But emotion will get in the way, and it will have to be orders of magnitude safer than the demonstrably incompetent human drivers for it gain acceptance. Don’t forget, 30,000 killed every year in the US alone. Over a million worldwide. Maimed and injured numbers are multiples of that. If anything else we did killed and injured our families, friends and ourselves at the same rate as driving does, it would be banned.


Are people able to really cope with semiautonomous driving, or is it really autonomous?

Are they really sitting there, paying enough attention to be able to jump in as necessary?

Fully autonomous cars can’t come soon enough.




There’s an easy solution to that! Make it more challenging to get a driver’s license. If everybody on the road needs to be an in-control expert, then people will try to become much better drivers.

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Or we could push for more public transit, such as light rail? I just don’t see how more cars for individuals/families on the road are really the solution here?


It’s a legitimate story, and I say that as an excellent-for-a-human driver who can’t wait to be made redundant by my car. The media will get bored reporting on dead autonomous-car passengers as soon as there are enough of them on the road for it to happen more than once in a blue moon.

In the meantime, if awareness that you are not invincible in a Tesla encourages people not to be absolutely foolhardy with systems that are still basically in pre-alpha, good.

You’re right that, for a while, it’s going to seem like a media shitstorm every single time a Tesla autonomously taps a bumper. But honestly, I think the prospect of not having to really actively drive (or have their elderly parents driving, etc.) is going to be so alluring to so many people that it won’t really matter. After all, that’s how we got automobiles themselves made universally legal, and as a lot of people pointed out at the time, they were absolute death traps relative to the worst that was likely to befall you in a horse-drawn vehicle.


Mm. Getting a license in the UK is fairly tricky, and we have one of the lowest road fatality rates. Sweden and Switzerland seem to have similar regimes with similar results.

Apparently the safest place to drive is San Marino, though not all nations have access to their wildly successful “have an area of less than 30 square miles” strategy.


Such an enquiry must first happen before NHTSA can call for a recall, if the vehicles are determined to be unsafe.

They will of course first recall the manually driven cars that kill over 30,000 Americans each year. No?


@winkybber “If anything else we did killed and injured our families, friends and ourselves at the same rate as driving does, it would be banned.”

Well, not guns, don’t forget guns… :pensive:

Gun violence in the United States results in thousands of deaths and injuries annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013, firearms were used in 73,505 nonfatal injuries (23.23 per 100,000 U.S. citizens) and 11,208 deaths by homicide (3.5 per 100,000), 21,175 by suicide with a firearm, 505 deaths due to accidental discharge of a firearm, and 281 deaths due to firearms-use with “undetermined intent” for a total of 33,636 deaths due to “Injury by firearms”, or 10.6 deaths per 100,000 people. 1.3% of all deaths in the country were related to firearms


Complete, autonomous traffic can’t get here soon enough for me. Yeah there will be accidents, but not a fraction of what happens now–in this case, had the truck been self-driving too, it probably would not have cut across the lane in the way it did in front of oncoming traffic, and even if it did–other cars in the vicinity would have been aware of it via signals other than simply visual, making it impossible to miss simply because its “coloring blended in with the sky.”

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They already have a greater number of vehicles on the road than Tucker ever did. It’s too late for the other manufacturers to kill Tesla.

@Jim_Kirk: You beat me to it. Although, I was gonna put one of these in first:


I see them being useful on closed campus’, but the real world overwhelms systems. It just does.

Plus we seem to prefer blaming/scapegoating people for tragedies like these.

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Hey, we’re all “excellent-for-a-human” drivers aren’t we? But I agree with your post. It IS a story, and I find it interesting. Will its significance be overblown? Probably.

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