Computer Error: Tesla Showing Just How Much Humans Still Need To Drive

Written By BlabberBuzz | Friday, 03 September 2021 05:15

A Tesla vehicle operating on autopilot slammed into a Florida police cruiser on a highway near Orlando on Saturday, only days after CEO Elon Musk admitted faults with the experimental self-driving software amid a federal investigation into the system.

The crash happened just before 5 a.m. on Saturday when the trooper had activated his cruiser’s emergency lights on the way to assist a disabled vehicle.

The Tesla hit the cruiser on its left side and then crashed with the disabled vehicle, highway patrol spokeswoman Lt. Kim Montes explained to the Orlando Sentinel.

The 27-year-old Tesla “driver” and disabled vehicle driver endured minor injuries as a consequence of the collision, according to the report. The state trooper was unhurt.

An email to Tesla asking for comment was not immediately returned.

Earlier this month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration declared a formal investigation into Tesla’s autopilot system after a set of crashes with parked emergency vehicles.

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The agency announced it had identified 11 crashes since 2018 in which Teslas on Autopilot or Traffic-Aware Cruise Control have hit vehicles with flashing lights, flares, an illuminated arrow board, or cones signaling of hazards.

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The investigation includes 765,000 vehicles — or almost every car that Tesla has sold in the US since the start of the 2014 model year, including the Models Y, X, S, and 3, the agency explained.

The National Transportation Safety Board, which has also investigated some Tesla crashes in which Autopilot was allegedly engaged, has previously recommended that the NHTSA and Tesla limit the use of Autopilot to certain areas.

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The NTSB also recommended that the NHTSA ask Tesla to have a better system to make certain drivers are paying attention. The NHTSA has not yet taken action on any of the recommendations.

In June, federal safety regulators announced they have opened 30 investigations into Tesla crashes that included 10 deaths since 2016 in which Autopilot mode was suspected to have been in use.

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“With the physical evidence and the things of that nature on the scene, that night the position of the bodies, the trajectory of the impact, they are 100 percent certain that no one was in the driver seat driving that vehicle at the time of impact. They are positive,” Harris County Constable Mark Herman told local reporters at the time.

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On Monday, Musk conceded problems with the company’s latest auto-pilot technology.

“FSD Beta 9.2 is actually not great [in my opinion], but Autopilot/AI team is rallying to improve as fast as possible. We’re trying to have a single stack for both highway & city streets, but it requires massive NN retraining,” Musk announced in a tweet.

But at about 1:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Musk followed up that tweet, saying, “Just drove FSD Beta 9.3 from Pasadena to LAX. Much improved!”

Musk, for his part, has repeatedly defended the company’s self-driving tech, and his concession Monday of the company’s shortcomings with the latest update comes just days after Tesla’s driver-assistance features drew fresh scrutiny.

“Tesla’s marketing has repeatedly overstated the capabilities of its vehicles, and these statements increasingly pose a threat to motorists and other users of the road,” the senators wrote in a letter last week to FTC chair Lina Khan. “Their claims put Tesla drivers – and all of the traveling public – at risk of serious injury or death.”

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