He is among the few people to drive a fully autonomous Tesla

Brangwyn Jones is quite proud of his white car, a Tesla Model Y, and even more since March 29, when the American automaker sent him an update to his navigation system.

His car is now equipped with FSD (Full Self-Driving), also known as a fully autonomous driving computer. With this technology, the driver only has to indicate his destination and the vehicle takes care of the rest.

Brangwyn Jones’ Tesla operates within speed limits, brakes, turns left or right after turning on the turn signal, automatically stops in front of a stop sign, all thanks to 8 synchronized external cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors who use artificial intelligence to make safe decisions.

After charging his Tesla, Brangwyn Jones goes for a walk in Medicine Hat, a city in eastern Alberta, where he works. He is part of a minority of insiders. Elon Musk, chief executive of the firm, announced that in April there were 100,000 North Americans selected to test the FSDstill in its beta version.

It’s like an apprentice behind the wheel. He learns. I am the father who corrects. I always have my hands near the steering wheel and I always check my mirrors, just in case.says the French-speaking soldier.

When FSD mode is activated, the on-board display shows everything around you: cars, pedestrians, bicycles or roads.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Axel Tardieu

How to be a tester?

If Brangwyn Jones is among the users of the system in preview, it is no coincidence. First because he requested it after paying $10,000 to acquire the option, but above all because his driving was analyzed for several days by Tesla, which has access to navigation data.

The manufacturer studies the behavior of each candidate driver. His score, from 1 to 100, drops if he brakes suddenly, takes too tight turns and follows other cars too closely. 98 ou99″,”text”:”J’ai eu98 ou99″}}”>I got 98 or 99says Brangwyn Jones, who considers himself lucky.

ans, toutes les voitures communiqueront entre elles.”,”text”:”C’est vraiment cool de pouvoir laisser conduire la voiture. On voit le futur ici. Ça va prendre des années, mais dans 30ans, toutes les voitures communiqueront entre elles.”}}”>It’s really cool to be able to let the car drive. We see the future here. It will take years, but in 30 years, all cars will communicate with each other. The 40-year-old is convinced that this technology will reduce the number of accidents and traffic jams on the roads.

computer FSD is not at its optimal version. These thousands of test drivers allow Tesla to have daily data used to improve the final product.

Inconsistencies and red lights burned

There are mistakes, and certain situations annoy Brangwyn Jones. There, we are in the right lane, but the car has not seen that this lane is only for a right turn. I will therefore intervene. We don’t want to frustrate other drivershe explains.

At other times, navigation can be dangerous. When, for example, his Tesla knows he should take the next left, but does not anticipate it and pulls into the right on a four-lane road. The system waits until the last minute to change lanes, except that four lanes are cuthe explains.

A Tesla Model Y electric car at a charging station in Medicine Hat on May 18, 2022.

In 2021, 5% of new motor vehicle registrations were for zero-emission vehicles, according to Statistics Canada.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Axel Tardieu

On Youtubevideos show Tesla cars with navigation FSD running a red light. The driver can brake at any time to regain control and correct a trajectory. If the car turns red, the driver has to pay the ticket, not Tesla.

Useful technology?

This technological future is interestingsays Martin Lavallière, professor in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of Quebec at Chicoutimi and member of the Quebec Road Safety Research Network.

Perfected artificial intelligence could reduce fatalities on the roads, he says, but the person behind the wheel will always have to remain vigilant and responsive.

: la personne va avoir de plus en plus confiance que la technologie va fonctionner en tout temps et à tout moment, mais cette confiance vient avec une perte de la pratique de la conduite et de la connaissance de son environnement”,”text”:”L’automatisation a ce défaut: la personne va avoir de plus en plus confiance que la technologie va fonctionner en tout temps et à tout moment, mais cette confiance vient avec une perte de la pratique de la conduite et de la connaissance de son environnement”}}”>Automation has this flaw: the person will have more and more confidence that the technology will work all the time and at all times, but this confidence comes with a loss of driving practice and knowledge of their environment.believes Martin Lavallière.

Brangwyn Jones remains convinced that artificial intelligence on board will one day improve road safety.

Last night, there was a pedestrian dressed in black on the side of the road that I hadn’t seen. The car stopped. Driving a car without artificial intelligence is a thing of the past for the Albertan.

A still distant future

If Elon Musk advocates that navigation FSD allows it to roll through the streets of Austin, the Texan city of the brand’s headquarters, without intervening most of the time, this technology should not be offered for a long time.

At least that’s the opinion of Randy Goebel, a professor of computer science at the University of Alberta, who has worked on artificial intelligence and self-driving car projects for the German automotive group Volkswagen and the Chinese company Huawei.

5G, par exemple, peut leur permettre de communiquer entre elles assez rapidement. Cela va prendre du temps de la déployer sur tout le territoire”,”text”:”Le vrai défi sera d’avoir un réseau d’infrastructures à la hauteur de l’intelligence de ces voitures autonomes. La5G, par exemple, peut leur permettre de communiquer entre elles assez rapidement. Cela va prendre du temps de la déployer sur tout le territoire”}}”>The real challenge will be to have a network of infrastructures to match the intelligence of these autonomous cars. 5G, for example, can allow them to communicate with each other quite quickly. It will take time to deploy it throughout the territoryhe believes.

Randy Goebel adds that Ottawa’s recent ban on Huawei will set Canada back from developing self-driving cars. ans pour voir une avancée sérieuse”,”text”:”Il va falloir attendre 10ans pour voir une avancée sérieuse”}}”>We will have to wait 10 years to see a serious advance for motorists.

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