160,000: this is the number of customers who are already using the beta version of Full Self Driving. From the same period last year as the recent Tesla AI Day, the company says it has jumped from a base of 2,000 users. These are figures that rekindle interest around the company’s autonomous driving system, which is more divisive than ever on the question of its reliability. Indeed, it has already happened that a Tesla Model 3 with Autopilot activated collided with a police vehicle or that another hit an overturned truck due to an Autopilot failure. Nonetheless, there are third parties who claim they owe their Tesla Model 3 self-driving vehicle their life. Elon Musk has again promised the technology will be available by the end of this year. His output contradicts that of the CEO of Cruise: Even decades from now, you won’t get truly 100% autonomous vehicles.
The term Autopilot alone is a source of controversy because it could mislead customers as to the real capabilities of the system of the driving system offered by Elon Musk’s Tesla. For example, the company allows drivers to play video games while driving and thus reinforces the image of the autonomous vehicle that it sells to its customers. It is the opinion of US authorities that misleading advertising could lead drivers to overestimate the true capabilities of Teslas. Indeed, the reality on the ground is that Teslas do not meet the definition of autonomous vehicle in the decision of UK regulators: such a vehicle [autonome] must be able to perform all dynamic (autonomous) driving tasks alone. This includes not only steering and braking, but also detecting and responding to objects and events. The vehicle must be able to monitor the driving environment and react to other road users and events.
The birth of what would be the first baby Tesla illustrates the wish that they were not yet autonomous vehicles, but driver assistance systems. Yiran Sherry’s water bag broke while the family was stuck in traffic. With the contractions increasing rapidly and the circulation barely flowing, the couple realized there was no time. Keating Sherry (husband) put the vehicle on autopilot after setting the navigation system to the hospital, 20 minutes away. However, he had to keep his hand on the wheel so that the vehicle would take them to hospital training while he cared for his wife.
CNN reporter Matt McFarland tested it at the end of November this year. Here is part of his experience:
When a dozen small children drove past our Tesla in “Full Self-Driving” mode, I had good reason to be nervous.
I had spent my morning in the backseat of the Model 3 using “Full Self-Driving” mode, the system that Tesla says will change the world by enabling safe and reliable autonomous vehicles. The software nearly drove the car into a crash at a construction site, tried to ram into a stationary truck, and attempted to drive on the wrong side of the road. Angry drivers honked as the system hesitated, sometimes in the middle of an intersection. (We had an attentive human driver at the wheel during all of our testing, to take full control when needed.)
Model 3’s “Full Self-Driving” required a lot of human intervention to protect us and everyone else on the road. Sometimes that meant hitting the brake to deactivate the software, so it wouldn’t try to go around a car in front of us. Other times we quickly jerked the steering wheel to avoid an accident. (Tesla tells drivers to pay constant attention to the road and be ready to act immediately.)
I hoped the car wouldn’t make any more stupid mistakes. After what seemed like an eternity, the children finished crossing. I expired.
We were finally able to progress without a hitch. The car seemed too hesitant at first, but then I noticed a cyclist coming from our left. We waited.
Once the cyclist passed through the intersection, the car stopped and made a smooth turn.
Over the past year, I’ve watched over a hundred videos of Tesla owners using “Full Self-Driving” technology, and I’ve spoken to many of them about their experiences.
Full Self-Driving mode is a $10,000* driving assistance feature offered by Tesla. While all new Teslas are capable of using “Full Self-Driving” software, buyers have to opt for the expensive addition if they want to access the feature. The software is still in beta and is currently only available to a select group of Tesla owners, although CEO Elon Musk has claimed a wider rollout is imminent. Musk promises that this mode will be fully capable of getting a car to its destination in the near future.
But this is not the case, far from it.
Tesla owners described the technology as impressive, but also flawed. One moment it drives perfectly, the next moment it almost hits someone or something.
Jason Tallman, a Tesla owner who documents his FSD journeys on YouTube, offered to bring it to life.
We asked Jason to meet us on Flatbush Avenue Brooklyn. It is an urban artery that brings thousands of cars, trucks, cyclists and pedestrians to Manhattan. Even for experienced human drivers, this can be a challenge(…)
FSD sometimes makes jerky turns. The wheel starts spinning, then goes back, before spinning again in the intended direction. There is also the braking, which can seem random. at one point, a car approached from behind and stopped us following braking which surprised me. Getting honked was common. I never really felt like I knew what FSD would do next. Asking for an FSD mode to navigate Brooklyn was like asking a learner driver to take a road test they weren’t ready for yet.
What FSD could do was impressive, but the experience was ultimately confusing. I can’t imagine using this mode regularly in a city. I noticed that I was reluctant to look at the Model 3 dashboard, for example to check our speed, because I didn’t want to take my eyes off the road.
Source: Tesla AI Day
What do you think of advances in the development of autonomous vehicles?
Do you agree with Cruise’s CEO that we won’t get truly 100% autonomous vehicles even decades from now?
See as well :
Tesla’s Autopilot safer than manual driving, according to a survey commissioned by an insurance company
Autopilot: Tesla’s latest update forces you to keep your hands on the wheel, by increasing driver harassment
Hacker launches FreedomEV, an open-source project that brings new features to Tesla cars, including a privacy mode
Tesla’s Model 3 can now be driven on European roads, it gets the green light from EU authorities