Uber vs. California - Robot cars not ready for roads?


They should rename it to “Woahpilot”.


For the vast general public, who are not trained aviators, “autopilot” has a different meaning than the one used in aviation.


People generally suck at driving, so any robot control will be an improvement.


Do they? Where do they get that from since there really isn’t any real-life basis for it, as far as I know. If you mean the name itself, “automatic pilot”, I can understand that, a little. I suspect that if people have any “sense” of what an autopilot does or doesn’t do, it is a vague sense (versus a strongly held belief) at most.

For me, the question is whether that name has such a strong, in-grained meaning that Tesla drivers (not just any member of the public) are mislead into thinking that it is a fully autonomous system. My understanding (I don’t have a Tesla) is that Tesla take great pains to explain that it is not a fully autonomous system and that they also have sensors to detect that your hands aren’t on the wheel and warn you.

Based on all that, I don’t have any problem with Tesla referring to it as an autopilot system, since that jives with its actual usage in planes and boats.

Also, wasn’t there some dude who died 1-2 years ago in a Tesla while autopilot was on? IIRC, he was watching a movie or something. I don’t think this was the first incident.


It is pretty much an Autopilot on highways and freeways. I found it to be a better driver in rush hour traffic than I am. It generally won’t work (at least all the time) on residential streets. They do require you to keep your hands on the wheel at least once every ten seconds or so, but this is pretty much just touch the steering wheel for couple of seconds.



What took you so long? :)


Was on mobile in the drivethru and Siri was of no help.


Hey Siri, post a picture of the autopilot from Airplane on the Robot Cars thread on the Quarter to Three forum.

I have ordered three hundred Justin Beiber CDs for you, JMR. They will be there tomorrow.


Sounds like a win win situation.



Wow, someone got a video of what’s being called Barrier Lust



My experience is similar to Strollen’s. It’s awesome in bumper to bumper freeway traffic, but don’t expect it to navigate your neighborhood.


This all seems pretty sensible.


More autopilot misadventures.

BBC News has reported that, after an investigation by the court, Patel pleaded guilty to dangerous driving. He’s been banned from the M1 for eighteen months and is required to perform 100 hours of unpaid work as punishment, pay the Crown Prosecution Services a fine of £1,800 (roughly $2500), and undertake 10 days of rehabilitation.

While Tesla provides its cars with an autopilot function, it’s not infallible. A Tesla engineer who testified in the court case reiterated that autopilot is intended to assist a “fully attentive driver”, not replace the driver entirely. There still needs to be someone behind the wheel ready to make corrections in the event of an emergency.

Maybe the most worrying thing is Patel’s attitude toward the whole thing. While he acknowledged that what he did was “silly”, he also noted that he was just the “unlucky one who got caught”. Which implies that this is definitely a thing that he’s seen his fellow Tesla drivers doing.


I have a Tesla and I can’t imagine trusting the Autopilot that much. It clear when you use it that it has issues at times with unclear road markings and any kind of unusual lane splitting or narrowing. That guy sounds like a moron.


Because of idiocy like this Tesla (and others) will have to build in sensors to detect if there’s a driver in the driver’s seat.


They can probably just use ones similar to those that cause certain (annoying) cars to ding at you non-stop when a passenger isn’t wearing a seat-belt.


There is comic potential here. Cars loudly berating the “driver” and posting unflattering images to social media, then notifying the authorities and locking the doors.


Cadillac’s version apparently not only detects if you’re in the driver’s seat, it checks if your eyes are on the road.