Author Archives: Michael Solimini

Tesla Self-Driving Car Follow Up

http://dtl315.shannonweb.net/tesla-self-driving-cars/  <- First Post

 

Tesla’s Autonomous driving mode update for its Model S has been out for some time now.  During this time many consumers have downloaded and used the update.  What they found was definitely the beta version.  People have posted videos showing the autonomous mode driving into oncoming traffic and swerving when white lines were not on both sides of the car.  Other have reported the car speeding and getting pulled over by police.  As Musk said when he introduced it, “We’re being especially cautious at this early stage, so we’re advising drivers to keep their hands on the wheel just in case. The software is very new.”  So of course there are going to be some problems with it, but overall people are pleased with the results so far.  It will be interesting to see how this new feature will progress over the coming months and years.

Recently however Musk did answer one of the liability claims that has swirled around this new update, who is responsible when things go wrong?  Tesla said, “Tesla is very clear about the fact that the driver is responsible for the car at all times and should be actively in control, despite the AutoPilot system: it will be the driver’s fault, not Tesla’s if the car ends up in a road traffic collision.”  But I don’t know if this is the correct answer and I wonder if it could be proved wrong in court?  Guess we are just going to have to wait and find out.

Here are some videos posted by owners of the rogue autonomous mode mishaps:

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/21/tesla-autopilot-goes-wrong-videos

http://ecowatch.com/2015/10/21/tesla-autopilot-fail-videos/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3281562/Tesla-autopilot-fail-videos-emerge-Terrifying-footage-shows-happens-autonomous-driving-goes-wrong.html

 

 

Tesla’s Hyperloop Train

We all know the company Tesla and it’s owner Elon Musk.  However, we might not all know that he is planning another huge innovation in consumer transportation, and it’s way bigger than the all electric car.  He is planning to build a train system that will get you from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 min, which is about a 400 mile trip that takes between 6 and 8 hours to drive.  Musk plans to build this train by using magnets and a airless tube.  The train will be put inside a tube with no air in it (a vacuum) and this will enable the train to not be affected by air resistance.  Along the tube there will be a series of magnets that will provide lift and propel the train down the tube.  It will be powered by solar panels that will sit on top of the tube. I’ve attached a video and an article to this post with more information about it.  It is an extremely interesting concept and if it works will forever change the way we travel.

Tesla Self-Driving Cars

Tesla announced today that they would be rolling out an update for all their cars sold in the U.S.  This update will give the cars the option to go into “autopilot” or “autonomous” mode.  This will enable Tesla’s to drive themselves, or at least kind of for the moment.  I say kind of because it is still required (legally) for you to have your hands at least touching the wheel in some way.  Tesla advises that you rest your hand on your knee and keep your pinky finger in contact with the wheel, if you don’t it will prompt you to put your hand or finger back on the wheel (for now at least).  This is to ensure safety (this is only the beta version of the software) and to meet all legal requirements of liability.  Elon Musk cautions that, “It works almost to the point where you can take your hands off, but we won’t say that. Almost.” However, Musk goes on to say that he is confident in the future that they will be able to make a completely autonomous driving car that does not need a human to “co-pilot”.  This is a huge innovation in transportation that will be very interesting to follow in the coming months and years.  I’ve attached a video of one of the Tesla’s driving itself, it’s pretty cool but begs the question what happen when things go wrong? Who is responsible?

More information on the update is available here.