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Tesla autopilot fatal crash

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http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/tesla-autopilot-driver-was-reportedly-watching-harry-potter-when-he-was-hit-and-killed/news-story/eb97718fe50bd5c95da5eaf25436b6a5

It was announced early this morning that a Tesla Model S has been involved in a fatal crash during which the autopilot mode of the vehicle was activated.

The accident occurred on a highway in northern Florida when a tractor trailer drove perpendicular across the highway crashing into the Tesla car which was driving itself.

Tesla, which said the driver was ultimately responsible for the vehicle’s action even when in autopilot mode, said both the driver and the car failed to notice the tractor trailer “against a brightly lit sky” and the brakes failed to kick in.

.......

The driver of the Tesla was a 40-year-old Joshua Brown, the owner of a technology company who nicknamed his vehicle “Tessy” and had praised its sophisticated “Autopilot” system just one month earlier for preventing a collision on an interstate.

While the accident was only recently reported, it took place on May 7.

The cameras on Mr Brown’s car had failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn’t automatically activate its brakes, according to a government report obtained by the Associated Press.

:o 

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“Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert,” the company said.

Why the F would they sell it if they knew it is not perfect... an admission of fault!!

Keep it OUT of my car thank you!!

A Car and Driver review of the current crop of "self driving" cars -

"However, it’s notable that Car and Driver still felt that the best feature about these autonomous functions was the “off” switch. Human control is still the best control and these systems are gimmicky for the most part at the moment. They’re just not good enough to be relied upon just yet. They can be helpful, like when you’re stuck in traffic, and they have their uses, but for the most part they just aren’t a worthwhile replacement for human interaction."

Nuf said.....

Edited by ANF

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I'm surprised this was a visual issue- I thought these systems used radar facing forwards to detect obstacles.

sad for the family of the victim, I wonder why he didn't override it and take action - perhaps texting ?

Lots of improvements still to make but it shouldn't be scrapped over the inevitable incidents.

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 I wonder why he didn't override it and take action - perhaps texting ?

Frank Baressi, 62, the driver of the truck said the Tesla driver was “playing Harry Potter on the TV screen” at the time of the crash and driving so quickly that “he went so fast through my trailer I didn’t see him.”

“It was still playing when he died and snapped a telephone pole a quarter mile down the road,” he said.

Tesla Motors Inc. said it is not possible to watch videos on the Model S touch screen and Mr Baressi acknowledged he couldn’t see the movie, he only heard it playing.

 Tesla can say all they like but when people "get behind the wheel" of these weapons in the near future they will most certainly be txting and watching videos.

I'll be driving the tractor,  so techies and hipsters and their families be warned.

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I don't know about everyone else, but when I don't feel like driving somewhere I get on a plane, train or flag down a cab. 

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Tragic outcome for sure, but I wonder if the driver was paying attention would this accident have a different outcome? It's possible that it was always going to be a fatal outcome, human or autopilot, you can't defy the laws of physics and the absolute that accidents will happen. (shit happens)

So, it begs the question, will we ever have a 100% safe autopilot, unlikely.

Therefore should we never have autopilot? Even if the systems absolutely dictate that human intervention is required, human nature is such that many wont heed that requirement. 

I would argue that autopilot could be safer than many "human pilots" and could potentially reduce the number of accidents.

Having said that, I wouldn't want a fully autopilot system in any of my vehicles.  I think I would be happy if the safety systems kicked in to help avoid potential accidents, whilst the driver was still required to control the vehicle.  Very much like the autobraking systems of new cars.  I would be particularly happy if my wife and parents had these systems in their vehicles.  But not autopilot, might as well catch an uber and leave your fate in someone else's hands.

The dawn of Skynet is upon us  :-)

Edited by tk111
gramma

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Want to cut down accidents? Ban phones in cars. I know I know I know it won't work , but it doesn't help to have people distracted in any way when piloting a massive chunk of metal at any speed.

Airbags don't stop your soft brain getting rattled around,  and life in a wheelchair is only slightly better than a life wasted. Unless you believe in real angels as opposed to the electronic ones. The "road toll" is just the number of dead ones .

Hope Audi come up with a better solution. The poor tractor driver has to live with what "he did",  and likely Tesla will out lawyer him.

 

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I don't know about everyone else, but when I don't feel like driving somewhere I get on a plane, train or flag down a cab. 

Or get someone else to drive for you.....

Want to cut down accidents? Ban phones in cars. I know I know I know it won't work , but it doesn't help to have people distracted in any way when piloting a massive chunk of metal at any speed.

Airbags don't stop your soft brain getting rattled around,  and life in a wheelchair is only slightly better than a life wasted. Unless you believe in real angels as opposed to the electronic ones. The "road toll" is just the number of dead ones .

Hope Audi come up with a better solution. The poor tractor driver has to live with what "he did",  and likely Tesla will out lawyer him.

 

The only way to curb the road toll is to teach people how to drive, and the car is not some sort of fashion or electronic accessory!

Many truck drivers everywhere have to live with similar incidents....

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People don't want to learn to drive.

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People don't want to learn to drive.

I don't think that is the issue.... we are not forced to learn how to drive a car, only how to pass a test... change the test and people will adapt. But this will never happen, somehow society is quite happy to accept some deaths on our roads, a few hundred a year, but scream all sorts of injustice if a shark takes a swimmer (just one random example...)

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It is the issue, sorry.  Even sharks don't want to learn either.

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I think that is overly simplistic, sure some people do not want to, but generally speaking we learn to drive a car in our mid teens, when we are still sponges eager to learn, it is what we are taught here that dictates how we drive. At this stage of life we have no choice but to learn what is put before us or we do not pass, and that is the issue - what is put in front of us is inadequate for the purpose of teaching us HOW to drive. You may be right with "older" people (no offence intended to any age groups there! :) ) not wanting to change their ways, but my point is that the youth are taught incorrectly.

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Just wait until an inocent family is cleaned up by a Tesla in autopilot. We will see how leagly/morally responsible Tesla actually is. Fully autonomous cars are a pipe dream and will remain that way for a very long time. Will they ever detect water over the road or large potholes full of water or other adverse conditions will always be their downfall. A driver reading a paper or otherwise preoccupied is in no position to take over when the car does a dummy spit or is just brain dead relative the the current situation. Split second decisions have to be made and it is probably already to late to save the situation.

They should just stick to avoidance (driver assistance) and survival tech. And the hackers have not even started on them yet. The opportunities to deliberately cause an autonomous car to crash are huge. In the case of the Tesla it seems a picture of a tunnel on a brick wall should do the job. Wile. E Coyote would be right at  home. 

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Driving my father's modern Mercedes which is one or two generations behind the Tesla in autonomous driving I have to say I am a fan.  It uses both cameras and some sort of active sonar like technology to steer, brake and accelerate for you.  

When you engage active cruise control, the mounted cameras are used as a guide to keep the car between the lines and the car slows down when you approach another car (using a combination of cameras and some sort of quasi sonar technology).  It does not have active lane change control technology yet (that comes with the next generation).  It will however emergency break for you, but I have not been brave enough to try it out in my Dad's beloved car :) 

However, your hands have to be on the steering wheel while you are driving and if they are not all sorts of warning lights and buzzers go off so it kind of forces you to pay attention.  

On long distance trips it is really excellent.  It's perfect to avoid stupid fines as the car never touches a line and never goes over whatever speed you have set it at.  It means as the driver you are freed up to pay more attention to oncoming traffic, wildlife and idiot WRX drivers.  

Admittedly I turn it all off and put the car in Sport Plus whenever a nice set of corners present themselves but otherwise I more than happy to let the car help me out.

I think this technology is for the future, it may be that Tesla is moving a bit too fast in their technology development.  I have read that some industry analysts think that one of Tesla's great strengths, that they think like an IT company rather than more conservative car companies, has the risk of being a weakness as well given greater consequences win cars than IT. 

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When you engage active cruise control, the mounted cameras are used as a guide to keep the car between the lines and the car slows down when you approach another car (using a combination of cameras and some sort of quasi sonar technology).

What if there are no white lines?

When it slows "when you approach another car " is that as you come up from behind? What if you want to overtake? You then need a longer run up.

Sounds stupid to me.

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The Tesla requires both hands on the wheel too and you have to acknowledge a bunch of disclaimers about how to use it, that it's in "beta" etc before even being able to enable it (i.e. Cars ship with it turned off).

Very sad but seriously even if this kept happening at the rate per kilometer travelled that this first accident comes in at, statistically we would all be much safer, and that's today not when this tech improves over time. Side note: There were over 3,000 other motoring fatalities in the world today, should we start a thread and lose our shit over each of those too? ?

Main question I have is whether this points towards them needing to adopt lidar in their system which I understand some others are using but Tesla don't. 

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Very sad but seriously even if this kept happening at the rate per kilometer travelled that this first accident comes in at, statistically we would all be much safer, and that's today not when this tech improves over time. Side note: There were over 3,000 other motoring fatalities in the world today, should we start a thread and lose our shit over each of those too? ?

 

it would more accurate when evaluating the benefit of the tech to compare with the accidents/klm with those of the latest Merc with advanced assistance systems in the same driving environment. Using accedents/km of all cars including those old junkers in india with their much more dangerious environments is hardly an endorsement for the Tesla.

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  I'll say it then

 Autopilot is bloody stupid. If you need that, you're an idiot and should catch the bus or stay home.

 I don't care one bit for this technology, as its just a gimmick to suck people into buying this crap. 

 One man is dead because of it, and I don't care whether he was supposed to be alert or not, the man is dead, his family will miss him for the rest of their lives, and a truck driver has to live with it also. 

 Drive the damn car, not have some idiot geek invent technology that does the job for you. Autonomous cars, autopilot etc etc, keep it off the roads. Imbeciles

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I think that is overly simplistic, sure some people do not want to, but generally speaking we learn to drive a car in our mid teens, when we are still sponges eager to learn, it is what we are taught here that dictates how we drive. At this stage of life we have no choice but to learn what is put before us or we do not pass, and that is the issue - what is put in front of us is inadequate for the purpose of teaching us HOW to drive. You may be right with "older" people (no offence intended to any age groups there! :) ) not wanting to change their ways, but my point is that the youth are taught incorrectly.

Youth are being taught poorly.  But I doubt they have an appetite for learning to drive.  Here in the big cities (no I'm not being a smart ass Tasmania) youth are becoming less and less interested in learning to drive.  Fewer are driving and those that do are on the whole way less enthusiastic about it than any previous generation. They are neither motorists nor enthusiasts, but simply, time poor, texting, travelers.

I was also "taught incorrectly" in the 80's but I did my best to make up for that, like most of us here.  We're very different.

Which Government is going to legislate for their voters to spend $5000 for the "right" to get their license properly10,000 hours and all...

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What if there are no white lines?

When it slows "when you approach another car " is that as you come up from behind? What if you want to overtake? You then need a longer run up.

Sounds stupid to me.

no white lines = Oh sh$$

The active cruise is a major pain when overtaking. It slows you down so gently it is easy to just become a sheep. You then need to override and accelerate up closer to the car in front. Take your foot of the throttle and it will slow aggressively to get you back to an acceptable distance behind. Best turned off on the open road but useful on the freeway if you don't mind being cut in on and drive with your brain in neutral. The same sensors also do emergency brake assist which is useful. Although I have found myself emergency braked to a stop in the middle of an intersection because it did not want to cross some tram lines.

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Looks like I'm on the wrong side of opinion in here but when you look at the changes we've seen in the last 20 years it seems obvious to me that another 20 will see unreconginsable advancements in this space (or any area) far beyond the basic systems we have now. Already the cruise, AEB etc my car has is a joke compared to Merc, Tesla, et al.

Well, Unless some politicians decide there's a few votes in scaremongering of course. 

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The human brain is complex and when they have managed to match the visual and awareness processing capability of the brain they will be close to a viable autonomous car. This is still a long way off.

As much as voice recognition has improved it still has a long way to go to be as good as a human. It has also taken way longer than expected for voice reconigition to get to where it is now. 

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What if there are no white lines?

When it slows "when you approach another car " is that as you come up from behind? What if you want to overtake? You then need a longer run up.

Sounds stupid to me.

overtaking is out of favour these days. No learner is taught to overtake,  as in nsw they are limited to 90kph. Even P plates are limited to 90, then 100. So it's after three years of driving that a new driver is legally allowed to overtake 

The local police told me that drivers are nit taught to overtake as they want to not have cars overtake on country roads.

Dumb.

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overtaking is out of favour these days. No learner is taught to overtake,  as in nsw they are limited to 90kph. Even P plates are limited to 90, then 100. So it's after three years of driving that a new driver is legally allowed to overtake 

The local police told me that drivers are nit taught to overtake as they want to not have cars overtake on country roads.

Dumb.

Yep really dumb. Long nose to tail congo lines are so much safer /sarc. 

Overtaking is certainly a lost skill. I expect it will be banned before to long. 

Even bigger issue is not being taught and to practice putting the left side off the bitumen and how not to panic and get back on the road. There are litterally hundreds of skid marks on the road around here where drivers have overcorrected only to go shooting off into a tree on the other side of the road. 

Interesting to see the test results where an autonomous car is forced to the left on a narrow road and has to put its wheels in the dirt. I hope it can detect the jagered drop off on the edge of the bitumen to judge the correct spot to get the left wheels back on the bitumen. I expect there is a big red fail next to this item.

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