Tesla May Restrict Autopilot Mode for Cars Because of Stupidity
This is why we can't have nice things.
Self-driving cars are closer to a reality than you might realize as you manually drive your analog car down the street, concentrating very hard on not hitting anything while you text. (Yes, we know what you’ve been doing. Stop it. Pull over if you need to. Geez.) But on the way to that impressive technology, we’ll have to be very careful about understanding its current limitations—or Elon Musk will take away our toys.
On a recent earnings call, Tesla Motors co-founder and CEO Elon Musk addressed some of the … regrettable things that have been going on with the current self-driving software in Tesla cars. Things like this:
Basically, people are playing chicken with their own cars and seeing how long they can go without giving in to the desire to grab the steering wheel—unless the car has other plans first. Why is the autopilot trying to drive people into oncoming traffic? People were always intended to keep their hands at the ready to take control back, but a lot of problems so far have also been from misuse; the system is meant to be utilized only on physically divided roads.
Gizmodo reports that Musk said people doing things like the above video is “not good” and mentioned that Tesla could possibly implement some restraints to the mode to “minimize the possibility of people doing crazy things.” He also mentioned that based on early data, the mode is working as intended, will seem much more refined in a few months due to the data it’s collecting, and seems to have prevented some crashes.
Indeed, most of the trouble (and videos) seem to be people deliberately pushing the system past its limits to see what happens, so who knows whether the restrictions they put in place for fool-proofing will do anything to curb particularly ambitious fools.
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