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.


23 thoughts on “Tesla Self-Driving Cars

  1. Matthew Walker

    Cars that drive themselves. It wasn’t a matter of if it were actually going to happen but when it was going to happen. As stated before, there are so many issues that I have with this technology from system hackers that will deliberately make a car crash to getting into an accident and being held liable for the damages that occur if it was your self-driving cars fault but you could have prevented it. This is a disruption due to the fact that we have cars that can drive themselves and the technology that is transpiring in front of our eyes. The next thing I can imagine is calling for an Uber, but their is no driver. That would be a trip. Tesla has created this technology, along with other car manufacturers, but who produces the best car? Who continuously makes strides to better their technology everyday? Whoever does this will continue to have success in the automobile industry and the self driving car industry. For now, we can look on with awe as these cars are not going to be in production for a while, but it is living proof that their is disruption going on in the automobile industry and may soon enough wipe out the use for us to buy cars in general. Only time will tell.

  2. Rafael Gabrieli

    As Matthew stated in his comment, this was only a matter of when, rather than if. The major problem that all of society has with self-driving cars is that who is going to be liable for an accident? It is a simple question, however, the answer may prove to be more complicated. As you can expect, the driver will not want to be liable for an accident he did not cause, and at the same time the car manufacture will claim that the driver knew what he was giving up when he chose to go on auto-pilot mode. It is going to prove to be a very complicated time for society until some type of precedent is decided upon. In my opinion, it is a waste of time unless going on a ride that is longer than an hour. I feel as if I personally would like to be in control of my vehicle if I am able to, and self driving cars would only cause me to worry for the duration of the trip. On a long trip where I could potentially fall asleep at the wheel, I understand the benefits of going into auto-pilot mode. The video that Michael embedded in his article is very humorous in that you can see the reaction that the driver is having by watching the car drive itself. It is definitely going to be a universal reaction by all first-time users of the autonomous mode. The fight is going to be interesting to watch, between Tesla, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and other car manufacturers all looking to have the best autopilot function in its cars. We have seen even Google(Alphabet) begin research and development on an autopilot car. One thing is for sure, the future of the car market looks exciting and the industry will have a complete overhaul in the upcoming years.

  3. Miles N

    This article by Michael Solimini talks about a very hot topic in both the automobile and legal world. In the automobile market, the idea of autonomous cars is an awesome yet scary idea. The technology is almost there and many car manufactures including Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and even Google have already released statements regarding their soon to be released self-driving cars. Besides the auto industry, the legal world is going a buzz with all the issues that could arise with self-driving cars. The controversy that surrounds it right now is that if cars are driving themselves and one were to get into an accident whose fault would it be? Mercedes-Benz as well as Volvo have both already said that they will take full responsibility if something of that nature were to happen. The reasoning behind this is that if a self-driving car were to fail it would be because of faulty wiring which would have been done by the car manufacturer. Mr. Solimini raise another point when he talks about how in Tesla’s, the driver is a co-pilot. By saying that the driver is a co-pilot it makes you think that you have some responsibility of controlling the car if something were to go wrong. Also the way Mr. Solimini made sure to point out that although Musk says he believes the car is almost perfect that “You must be a copilot, this is to ensure safety (this is only the beta version of the software) and to meet all legal requirements of liability”. By mentioning this Tesla is attempting to cover themselves from any lawsuits that may occur by stating that the car cannot drive itself entirely and that driver assistance is still necessary. The liability with autonomous cars falls on the automaker. That raises the question is it really worth it to build self-driving cars for automakers. Another question that is raised is what will happen to insurance and who will be responsible to handle the insurance. Right now the two sides of the argument are that car manufacturer should be the ones who have it because they are liable if an accident were to occur as they themselves have stated. The other side of the argument is that the car owner should still be responsible for car insurance. It is believed that because the person still has some ability and responsibility to drive the car they should have to supply their own insurance. Another interesting point that is raised about autonomous cars is the idea of ethical decisions. A human being has something that a car does not possess it has a moral conscience. For example if you are driving down the road and a child runs into the middle of the street, as a human you can decide to veer off the road and possibly cause harm to yourself because you would not want to hurt the child. If the car is making those decisions for you, how does it know what to do. The best it can do is run the numbers to figure out what it thinks is the best possible outcome.
    Overall I did enjoy reading this article. This is a new and up and coming idea where there are many factors that weigh in on people’s opinions of self-driving cars. Mr. Solimini had many good points which he supported with quotes and a very interesting video. Only time will tell as to how self-driving cars do in the marketplace.

  4. Jennifer Scari

    The author of this article, Michael Solimini, raises a very important question towards the end of his work: “Who is responsible?” This article was written on the 15th of October this year. It is about a month later and these questions have still not really been dealt with. There are constant changes in our society, whether it be with technology, cultural changes, or even society’s perception on things. With these constant changes, there must also be a change in law. When it comes to products liability, we have seen a major shift in the roles of liability for consumers. In the past decades, there has been a dramatic switch from the premise of Caveat Emptor to that of Caveat Venditor. To put it simply, that is the evolution of products liability from let the buyer beware to let the seller beware, respectively. With this change, it has placed more of the duty of care on the seller and has enabled the buyer to take on much less liability when it comes to product defect. Basically, unless the company has a disclaimer on the responsibility of the product, the company will be held liable for a defective product. The premise of Caveat Venditor would appear very simple, let the seller beware; however, when it comes to the liability issues of many new products, it is challenging to make the distinction between the liability imposed on the buyer and that which the seller must have.
    With Tesla’s self-driving car, the question of liability is certainly up for question. The company relieves itself of some liability by placing a legal requirement for the driver at least touching the wheel in some way. The article further states that Tesla suggests resting your hands on your knees and having your pinky fingers on the wheel. Now, Tesla requires that you must always have contact with the wheel, which is a basic mechanism for the company to take the liability away from the car if there was an accident. This seems like a wise idea for Tesla; however, when you hear that the company’s recommendation is to rest your hands on your knees and have your pinky fingers touching the wheel, does that really sound like the driver has any control? The questions of liability are still unanswered. If an accident occurs when your pinky fingers are touching the base of the steering wheel and your autonomous vehicle made from Tesla is driving and gets into an accident, it would seem that the car was in control and would therefore place the liability on Tesla. These are just a few of the questions that could be raised for the “beta version” of the car. The article goes further to say that in the future, Tesla plans to have a completely autonomous car. With this being said, there is a certainty that more questions of liability will be raised. In addition to this, if the liability is placed on the producer of the car, like Tesla, is it even worth it for the company to make these types of vehicles for public use?
    The article was very interesting and kept my attention with its brevity and direct facts. I enjoyed reading this work and would certainly be interested in a follow up article when more information about the autonomous vehicles and the liability concerns is available.

  5. Walker J. Mondt

    Mr. Solimini’s video and blog were good and put forward an interesting area in which society is disrupted by technology.
    The future has finally come. While flying cars and time machines still exist in the realm of make-believe, self-driving cars appear close to the horizon. A car which drives itself immediately brings many benefits to mind. With these cars, people could take naps while driving, visit with their companions, and, most importantly, make the roads safer places to drive. This omission of human error will reduce the amount of accidents caused on the road. Human error is the cause of 93% of all automotive accidents, therefore eliminating this would drastically cut the size of fatalities on the road. Other benefits discussed in the video are better road utilization, better fuel utilization, and greater overall productivity.
    However, even with all these benefits, many people have great concerns, and Mr. Solimini has pointed a major problem out. Many people, myself included, wonder where the liability will fall in vehicular accidents. It seems obvious that the car company would have to assume the liability, because if one of their self-driving cars did crash it would have to be caused by a defect in the car – not the fault of a human driver. This article posted with the assignment explaining that Volvo would accept full liability whenever its cars caused accidents reaffirms this reasoning. While the car company’s right now say that they would take the responsibility, in the future, the car manufacturers could push the blame for accidents off onto the crafters of the code that drives the car or (less likely though) the new owners of the vehicle.
    Speaking further on the topic of the technology, while it can provide numerous benefits, it has its shortcomings. Technology is quite often difficult to deal with. Many times it results in crashing and failing. Furthermore, skeptics of self-driving cars worry about hackers taking control of the systems. A scary thought I have is the possibility of a hacker overriding the computer systems in the cars and causing mass crashes. With hackers already showing their ability to hack into government computers, I have no doubt that they can hack into the firewalls of self-driving vehicles.
    The future of self-driving cars brings with it excitement and anticipation. On the other hand, it also brings with it many unanswered questions and new legal problems. Many of the future cases will not have much to look back on for its decisions, and there will be huge amounts of pressure on the judges that will preside over them. I do believe that overall, once all the legalities have been addressed, self-driving cars will be the way of the future and everyone will use them. Mr. Solimini’s video and blog were good and put forward an interesting problem.

  6. alley ehrhardt

    Michael brings up a very serious point at the end of his article about the liability aspect of Tesla’s prediction of a potential autonomous car that will not require a human copilot. Currently, the closest thing that we have on the market to autonomous cars is self parking, and self-driving with the required human touch on the steering wheel. However once a completely independently driving car is created, who will be responsible when something goes wrong? It is not a question of if, but rather a question of when. We seem to look at technology as this amazing field that can empower us with so many wonderful accommodations, making our lives easier, but we often forget that technology is not perfect. When created a moving vehicle that generally travels at great speeds, safety is a huge factor that we must consider here. Companies such as Google, and Mercedes have already begun working on autonomous vehicles, but how much trust can we really put into a vehicle that we have no control over? In an article that I read when researching for our last POV discussing liability for these vehicles, it stated that any issues that occur with the car itself would be fully taken on by the manufacturer of the vehicle. However, this did not include technical glitches, or certain road conditions. For example, Mercedes had released a car with automatic braking systems, but they had to make it clear that these brakes would not automatically work properly in certain conditions including rain and snow so the driver must take caution in doing so. In this industry of autonomous cars that are able to drive themselves with no human interaction, there are so many grey areas in terms of where the liability would lie in the case of an unfortunate situation that must be taken into consideration by not only the manufacturers, but the consumers who purchase these products as well. I was glad to see when reading this article that Tesla does in fact require you to keep in contact with the steering wheel as a safety regulation. I was also happy to see that Tesla is taking precautions and testing this vehicle’s abilities in different situations such as in California where the lanes aren’t marked clearly on highways, to account for all things that could potentially offset the cars abilities. I think that technology is an amazing thing and in todays day in age there is absolutely no avoiding it. It is important though that when dealing with vehicles and other machinery that can potentially result in a dangerous situation, that we do endless amounts of testing and require extreme caution. In the topic of autonomous cars, it is so interesting to see how much technology can be built into a car especially when looking back ten, twenty years and seeing the improvements. Features such as rearview mirror cameras, lane change alerts, and self parking have definitely increased the safety in certain vehicles, but is important that manufacturers don’t delve too much in technology because especially when dealing with high speed vehicles, humans are able to react to more situations than a self driving car would be able to. The roads are too unpredictable to trust that a car can drive itself. I enjoyed reading this article and reading about all the testing that Tesla is doing to ensure the best safety of the vehicle, however it is important for both parties to realize the danger involved in putting too much trust into technology and drawing the line with liability in cases of unforeseen circumstances which may result.

  7. Robert Sheran

    Self-driving cars are the futuristic technology we have been waiting for. Growing up watching sci-fi movies and television shows such as the Jetsons we have all been waiting to see when this lifestyle will become reality. This might be a stretch, but self-driving cars could be the first step in this transition if they are designed correctly. Key words “designed correctly” because although Tesla may catch the eyes of other consumers I am none too impressed.
    Before I bring up the positives of a self-driving car I would like to talk about why I am skeptical of this project. In the article the author states that although it is an “autonomous” car, the interaction of the human driver is still necessary. When the car is driving itself it is legally required for the human driver to have their hands touching the wheel in some way. Tesla instructed that the human driver could rest their hands on their knees and keep their pinky finger in contact with the wheel. This sounds like a complete rip off to me. What is the point of a “self-driving” car if the human driver still needs to pay full attention to the car? Elon Musk himself stated that, “It works almost to the point where you can take your hands off”. If the customer cannot take their hands off the wheel, it’s not even worth it to have the car “driving itself”. The idea of this is so a human can carry on with other activities like reading, eating, or sleeping while the car is driving. I understand that at first it will not be perfect but it is somewhat a slap in the face to consumers that Tesla is advertising this half self-driving car as a complete world changer. To me, Tesla should wait to unveil this product until they can work out the kinks.
    Through my research there are other projects of the “autonomous” car that seem to be more successful than Tesla’s. For example Volkswagen has recently announced their plan and design of this project that will be available to all different types of drivers. These cars will not need as much human interaction as Tesla’s however, all self-driving cars face the problem of products liability. In this case, someone needs to be found responsible for an accident caused by this vehicle. Volkswagen has stated that they will take full responsibilities for accidents caused directly by their cars but will not take responsibility for accidents caused by an outside party or one that can be avoided by the human driver. It is clear to see that if someone else causes an accident they will be held liable. However, since the “autonomous” car isn’t, in fact, completely autonomous, the control will have to be shifted back to the driver in some cases. A struggle I see occurring is whether or not the vehicle gives the human driver fair warning that it will go from autonomous mode to manual. The driver-less car is truly a step in the right direction for a futuristic society. However, maybe car companies such as Tesla and Volkswagen should wait a little longer until they can really offer their consumers what they want.

  8. Kevin George

    This particular blog post, by Michael Solimini, caught my attention right away mainly due to a conversation I had with a Seton Hall alumnus who has been working in Silicon Valley for the past 7 years and has immersed himself into that innovation and technological advancement lifestyle. The way he talked about codes and the different languages of code and how they will heavily influence an expedited advancement, especially regarding technology. Particularly, Tesla and its autonomous vehicles. Tesla has made a huge wave in the electric car industry since its first model: Tesla Roadster. The 2 door, 0-60 mph in 3.9 second supercar had a whopping price of $109,000 in the United States. Compared to other supercars, it was relatively cheap; however, it only lasted 200 miles per charge. Regardless, the wealthy still bought the Roadster and Tesla had enough funding and cash flow for the now extremely popular Model S and Model X. In essence, Tesla had succeeded to penetrate the electric market and take a lead.

    Now, the autonomous car mode has to be evaluated. Tesla continued its technological advancements with this “auto-pilot” mode. Similarly, there are reports that Google and Apple are both working on autonomous vehicles and both powerhouses want to enter the automobile industry. With that being said, Tesla will have some major competition and will result in better innovation and products, which is great news for the consumer. Referring back to that Seton Hall alum, he was telling me that he, like many of his peers in Silicon Valley, believe that this autonomous mode will be used in cars quicker than expected. He was saying that Uber has a plan to buy a fleet of Tesla or Google autonomous cars and eliminate the driver aspect and costs. The mere idea of this happening is quite fascinating, but terrifying to me. Envision this: you call your Uber and it picks you up without a driver and as you drive, you see other cars without drivers driving next to you. This is quite alarming if you ask me. If this does not alarm you, the alumnus said he envisions this occurring by 2025. I do not know how accurate this prediction might be, but it still something to think about. How would autonomous cars be incorporated to a society that is so heavily influenced by insurance companies? Who would be at fault in case of an accident? Uber? Tesla? Google? The consumer?

  9. Jessica Page

    Michael’s article brings up a serious issue we are going to see more and more in the near future. As a few others have mentioned, it has only been a matter of time before we saw an “autonomous” car. Although it sounds great in theory, I seriously question how thought out this whole movement is. Obviously, Tesla is warning others about keeping contact with the wheel and such, but who’s to say consumers will obey? Michael asks a great question regarding liability. At the end of the day, I am sure we will see accidents, we will see things go wrong because we cannot rely on technology to be 100 percent, but who is going to take the responsibility? How will this effect consumers as a whole? The other thing to think about is the fact that Tesla is just the first. How many companies are now going to speed up production and development in order to get their own type of autonomous car on the market? How do we know that enough time, research and dedication will have gone into making sure the vehicles are still held up to some sort of safety standard? These are all serious issues we need to consider as vehicle technology increases.
    For me personally, I like to know I am in control of the car I am driving. I feel more secure. What worries me is that soon, we will surely see more autonomous cars on the road and although it is a great advancement, it leaves me feeling a bit weary as a driver. Knowing other people on the road are not in full control of the vehicle they occupy and knowing that ultimately something could go wrong and they can’t do much about it is not the best feeling. It is going to be crucial for auto manufacturers to make it clear how much responsibility they are willing to take on and how they will deal with the consequences.
    I think this was a great piece written by Michael and the video and sources he used to support his statements were intriguing. It will really be interesting to see how this progresses and I am also interested to see how it takes off as a product in the eyes of consumers.

  10. Aziz Syed

    The reality is becoming clearer than it was 10 years ago that autonomous vehicles are coming and could even become a staple in our economically society in the upcoming years. Major innovators such as Google and Tesla have taken the reigns on the concept of self-driving cars and have been them into a reality. The consumer market has been astonished by the capabilities that these vehicles have provided. Many believe that his is a new fear that should be instilled into consumers not only to their own safety but the scope of liability and protection they are given from the manufacturing and creators of these innovative technologies. Previously as a group we have diagnosed a case regarding the autonomous wave of the future and seen companies such as Volvo, Google, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz make clear statements to their consumers that the scope of liability is their responsibility. This should give many individuals the protection they needed to show that if the technology is faulty, we shall not be held responsible. As many others are weary of the judicial process that these will bring, I am not. I truly believe that, yes there will be problems with new innovation but the cost-benefit platform of safety benefits the autonomous vehicles and hear is why. Many companies have already beginning setting the stage for capabilities for autonomous vehicles through M2M technology. M2M is defined as machine to machine technology and Apple has been on the forefront to create enabling technology to allow vehicles to interact with one another on the road. Apple is already known for its cross product M2M capabilities as you can check your apps from your iPad that are on your iPhone and ability to send text messages from your Mac that are directed to your phone. Next is the sensor aspect of the vehicles itself. As we have seen technological innovation happen in many big industries that consumers are directly affected by, sensors is an industry that been advancing without large notice. These sensors aren’t your typical Mass Air Flow sensors found in your grandma’s 1998 Toyota Camry but high tech products that interact with the car’s most important safety mechanisms. From anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control allowing the vehicle to interpret its landscape through smart algorithms, crash prevention radars that have preset depth perception that many humans lack while trying to maintain speed levels to lane keeping assists that will ensure a sideswipe will be a thing of the past. Through these innovations and legal promises made by these corporations, we shall definitely see litigation occur but the overall state of driver well-being shall dramatically increase compared to our current state of 32,719 motor vehicle deaths that occur every year.

  11. Amber Bockin

    Autonomous cars are becoming the next innovation and have been in the works for years, but we are finally seeing the pieces come together. The problem I find with autonomous cars is the liability standards, liability will have to be revised in the vehicle industry and the consumer must take into consideration the remaining liability (if there is any). Through Tesla making the statement that the driver must have at least part of your hand on the steering wheel at all times this alleviates some of the liability Tesla could be accounted for in the occurrence of an accident and/or injury. However, having just a pinky on the wheel might as well be having no hands on the wheel. I understand they are innovating towards the car to be fully autonomous but I believe for starting purposes that there should at least be a hand on the wheel.
    Our technology is quickly advancing but with new technology such as the autonomous car it needs to be tested not just behind the scenes at manufacturing, but in society itself. A self-driving car if properly engineered could do great things, such as reduce the number of car accidents. The big question is reaction time quick enough for the car to properly respond to the situation? During the video he mentions that he hit the brakes but believes maybe it was his reaction and instinct to hit the brake even when the car was slowing down on its own. Due to the Tesla autonomous car being the beta version of the software is the reaction time needed at its finest? As per the video, human reaction was faster than the car and especially when it comes to the well-being of others and themselves I believe human reaction will be faster. The sensors in the car could pick up on the car in front of them and around them but what if an animal runs out into the middle of the street? Or even worse a child? How will the car respond and will it be a quick enough reaction time? What if a sensor is blocked or damaged during operation? Is it your responsibility to care for the sensors as one cares for their car is a headlight is out? Inside manufacturing and engineering of the autonomous cars they have to set up situations but a set up situation is different than an unforeseeable event which normally causes most accidents
    The article linked states that as soon as the driver grabs the wheel autopilot will turn off and put the driver back in control. If there is a concern and the driver instinctively grabs the wheel but still thinks the car is in autonomous mode there is another incident on where liability lies. Does one just watch danger coming and hope the car performs properly or take all liability back in an instant.
    The article continues to state that autopilot is made (for now) to be used on highway and freeway roads, what if the driver uses autopilot on town roads? Who takes liability in this circumstance? What is something unpredictable happens on a highway or freeway? Does the company take liability in this instance? Traffic and other occurrences while driving can happen in the matter of seconds and are unpredictable. Will Tesla take liability in these circumstances? There are many questions that I am sure many people still have when it comes to autonomous cars, I would love to know the extent of which Tesla holds liability but I am sure time will better tell us.

  12. Ryan Skolnick

    The idea of a self-driving car has been in science fiction for decades— and yet we are finally coming to this point in time. I do not know if it is simply the laziness of the human race that has driven this fascination, or if it is the idea of machines becoming— in a way— sentient beings that can react to the world around them, but we have always wanted a car that drove itself. I know I have. For me I believe it is the latter— the fact that human innovation and intuition can develop a machine that has better reaction times then a human! It is simply fascinating and a step towards a technologically complex future. However, it begs a few questions: mainly, what happens when the system is hacked into remotely? Recently, after the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris, hacker group Anonymous mentioned that they had declared war on ISIS— but what happens when they stop fighting that war and turn their attention to rich millionaires in Tesla cars (which they have been known in the past to “attack” richer individuals whom they deemed as corrupt)? The situation is entirely feasible, so what would happen? The cars do have a GPS system within them, which hacking into would grant full access to the car. With that access, the car’s self driving system would be compromised, since the hacker could produce fake barriers in the computer system, or simply “delete” barriers in the real world. While it is very interesting to consider a self-driving car, precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of anyone using the car. In a Tesla, for instance, you are required to keep at least one finger on the wheel at all times. This is to ensure that, in case something does go wrong, you are there to pick up the wheel and take over. This really helps overcome hacking issues, since the driver could regain complete control at a moments notice. In the video, the man actually does for a second, simply because he was freaking out about the cars ahead of him more so than his car was— so he braked. What is truly crazy to think is that Tesla first released a Beta version to their customers, informing them that this was indeed a Beta version. This provides Tesla with basically a minimal viable product, or MVP for short, to test with their customers and get feedback. From this feedback, they then developed better systems to ensure the product was successful. Now, rather than not being able to handle stopping at stoplights, the Tesla glides to a stop safely. The price tag for the Model S is still decently high— roughly $69,000. However, as far as luxury, self-driving, electric cars go, that is not too bad of a price tag. Especially since there are multiple “super-charging” stations around the United States— you could go from New Jersey to California without paying at all for gas. According to their website, their superchargers can give you a range of 170 miles per 20 minute charge. This is truly a step into the future of cars and travel as a whole. Also, Elon Musk recently revealed that it has always been his dream to develop a very fast-paced travel system in America, one that basically utilizes a vacuum space to accelerate its passengers with little resistance. He mentioned that his team has begun research into developing this product. If this product does eventually make it to market, the airline industry for domestic flights will be completely disrupted— why spend hundreds and many hours when you can use this system for a cheaper price and have it take half as much time?

  13. Ryan Hardrove

    I found this article to be interesting because with the new technology we are seeing in cars it’s pretty amazing to watch. Car companies are building cars that can drive themselves which is amazing to see happening because I always thought we would never be able to create cars like this, I only thought we would only see this in movies, like I-Robot which in the future cars are able to drive themselves. Know watching the videos about this new car has some potential for the future. However, the cars still need some work, like in one video the car is doing fine and then out of nowhere the car nearly gets into an accident and the driver just in the nick of time grabs the wheel to avoid hitting another car. So that show me that even with this new piece of technology with this car it is still a working progress to make these cars the best as possible. I think it will get their but I would say not for the next 10-15 years to make it perfectly work without any mistake in the software that could make it get into a car crash. I think this is a step in the right direction and maybe this new technology could cut down on the amount of car accidents in the future.

  14. Darren Williams

    When electric and smart cars first came to market I was not impressed at all. Quite frankly I was annoyed by how they drove and the typical person driving them. For the most part electric and smart cars have no acceleration ability and the people who drive them, for the most part, have similar driving habits that impede traffic. From a style stand point, Tesla’s have always caught my attention. When the right combination of features and styles comes together Tesla’s are very attractive cars. They are especially attractive in comparison to their predecessors such as the Prius and Volt. However, despite the increase in attractiveness I am still not sold on getting a Tesla. Personally I think that the autopilot and Ludacris mode are very cool features that the car possess and heading into the future, Tesla is way ahead of the game, but there are still some features that have me up in the air as to why I would get a $70,000 plus Tesla when if I was already spending $70,000 why wouldn’t I get say a Jaguar or an Audi instead. These cars are just as stylish if not more. They have been on the roads much longer making them more reliable in my mind and quite frankly, they run on gas. I know where I live I can think of many charging stations off the top of my head, but what if im leaving my area? I know that with current state of our world and the emphasis on being environmentally friendly, cars powered by alternative energy are the direction that we are headed in. However, until the charging stations are more readily accessible in many areas, Tesla’s will not be a main mode of transportation for families. Now on to the main point of this article which was to highlight the new advancement that Tesla has made in making a self-driving car. Driving itself has many factors that can either make it an easy going experience of getting from one place to another, or make it an experience that could give many people something a bit stronger than a headache. Personally I haven’t “driven” or even ridden in a self-driving car but seeing that they are just now finally coming to market and being acceptable on the road, there are likely to be some kinks. Michael poses two important questions at the end of his piece. The first and arguably most important question is what happens when things go wrong? I want to modify that and say of course you always have to plan for the unexpected when driving, but when a new factor comes into play like the fact the car is driving itself, how easy is it to regain control and avoid maximum damage? Next question is who is responsible if something does go wrong? Honestly I’m still up in the air on that one… Is it the makers fault for there being a flaw or should the driver have done something specific to prevent the accident in the first place? Once those questions can be answered and all the kinks can be worked out, I believe that self-driving cars can be not only cool but very useful. They may be able to save a lot of lives, prevent so much traffic and be cool at the same time.

  15. Marquise Moseley

    After reading this article it made me realize how much our technology is actually advancing. It feels like the other day I was using a flip phone, and now I am controlling a smartphone in the palm of my hands daily. Not to mention that now they are starting to produce cars, such as the Tesla, that are beginning to get the software needed to drive themselves. I was talking to a friend that has a Tesla and he told me that the updates get sent directly to the car, so the car is almost like a smart phone in the sense that it can be updated without needing to go to a shop. You just get into the car and download the new update just like an iPhone. Say they made the engine of the Tesla more powerful; now you can just update the car and it will automatically make that change to the engine. We are advancing rapidly as a nation. This video was really cool because it gave us the chance to actually see this new update in action. I always wondered what a self driving car would look like, and now I can cross that off my bucket list. It was nice that the video shows that the car keeps everything you need to know on the dashboard, so you are in a way aware of what is going on at all times. It allows for you to keep an eye on what the car is “looking” at, and at the same time it sort of puts you at ease so that you are not panicking. When reading up the Tesla in the past I did not know that the self driving feature would allow the car to switch lanes on its’ own. I thought the Tesla would just have regular features like the ability to brake, accelerate, turn, and a few other basic features like that. The ability to switch lanes is a great achievement in the software, but at the same time I feel that would be the scariest part of this self driving car. It is hard to have that sense of whether or not someone is approaching faster than you think, if they are in your blindside, or even worse if someone is driving recklessly and they try to ride your bumper then go around you while the Tesla thinks it is safe to switch lanes. Hopefully this is not the case and the Tesla software accounts for these situations. Other then these few worries I love everything about this new car. It has such a lovable quality to it because of all the special things it can do. It is truly one of a kind (at least for the moment). Hopefully one day in the near future I can be fortunate enough to own this car, and look back on these times when I was watching videos through the computer and compare it to the first person view. It is just a shame the car costs six figures….

  16. Eric A Novembre

    “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.” It is amazing where technology has taken us today, and how cars are transforming to what we once thought was impossible to now being possible and relevant to us. Autopilot is something that has been used in planes for the past 20 years, never did it become a topic of discussion for cars until about 3 years ago, and if it did it was almost a myth to think it would happen. Now it has, Tesla creating the first ever autopilot car driving on the road today. “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.” The way it was installed? It was downloaded through the computer’s system in the car, and the way the software gets transferred…Wi-Fi. This is the future in a car, Tesla also made a download for the newly electronic cars to gain 20 more horse power. Imagine that, things do not need to be manually installed anymore, if you want your car to go faster, just download it from the software and boom your car is faster.
    The question is, do I trust the autopilot in the car? Not completely, but I also have not seen an example of the car driving in autopilot so it is too quick to judge. All I can say is that we have idiotic drivers out there today and I would like to see how well this autopilot responds to accidents before they actually happen. A humans reflexes is what prevents near death experiences, can a computerize system do that yet? I will have to see and find out. That is why as of now they advise you to keep your pinkie on the wheel. “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.” Mercedes has already created a concept car where there is no steering device in the car. There are four seats in it and they all face each other. I cannot wait until the day this comes out, because quite frankly driving is pain, and I would like to relax when traveling, not stress over traffic and accidents.
    Solmini, Michael. “Tesla Self-Driving Cars.” DTL Blog. Shannonweb, 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 20 Nov. 2015. .

  17. Rushil Gandhi

    Self-driving cars is one of the oldest innovations in the fictional world. However, now it turning into reality and coming into a non-fictional and very real world. Before companies started to obsess on automation, they were focused on transforming the car and driving from a mechanical object using fuel to an object solely running on electricity. This race to create electric cars is what created Tesla. The Model S is better than any other electric car I have seen before. It is fast becoming the benchmark to which many other electric car makers are testing themselves to. Tesla is also setting benchmarks in the auto industry by introducing features like the ludicrous mode and its new autopilot feature. The new autopilot mode is one of the greatest technological innovations I have seen in a car in the past decade but it is also one of the most controversial. This new autopilot mode sets up the car in such a way that I can drive itself around in most situations with most amount of efficiency. Imagine, sitting in the driver’s seat and having the car drive itself? Though this prospect sounds extremely cool, in my opinion, it can be quite scary because what if something goes wrong? Tesla has made sure, to some extent, that this question is never raised by making the driver keep some part of their hand on the steering wheel when this autopilot is engaged. Though this autopilot mode may sound extremely futuristic and an expensive prospect, considering the Tesla Model S costs almost $70,000, we can see similar technology in most of the average priced cars of today.
    For instance, the big new thing in new affordable sedans currently is the adaptive cruise control and active lane changing features that come standard. These features can be compared to Tesla’s autopilot system because they can seamlessly control the vehicle just like the autopilot in the Tesla would. A best example of this is the Hyundai sedan that I and my father drive on a regular basis. When I am driving on a relatively easy road, I turn on the adaptive cruise control and the car will use its various sensors to drive itself at the optimum speed and if the traffic ahead slows down the car responds and slows down. It can even detect if the lane it currently is driving in is efficient or not based on the amount of traffic. This means that if another lane is open and more efficient to drive in then the car will automatically change lane without the driver having to do anything. However, the autopilot mode in the Model S takes it to a whole new level as one can witness in the video that accompanies this article. To put it frankly, the leaps and bounds the car industry is making in terms of automated driving is amazing and quite scary at the same time since these systems are relatively new and can be subject to a lot scrutiny early on in its life.

  18. Joseph Belli

    Cars that drive themselves. An interesting idea that the majority of society has been anticipating for a very long time. Technology increases every day and I for one am always excited for new and improved services that ultimately make life easier. The idea of a connected world with one central network that connects to everything is an idea that I believe we are striving towards. Computers are undoubtedly smarter than people, however, that does not mean they aren’t susceptible to make mistakes. If you think about it, phone technology still often has issues and luckily those problems are not detrimental to our health. That being said, we are essentially putting our lives in the fate of the computer chip in our car which is very risky, especially at the beginning of its implementation into our daily routine. I think it should be tested a lot more before being completely embedded in every car on the road. What is preventing someone from trusting in the car enough to take a nap or eat while driving, obviously distracting them from the potential hazards of the road. Computers cannot anticipate the thoughts and actions of other drivers who suddenly decide to cut you off, leaving the computers and sensors shocked and not responsive in a timely manner. On another note, I enjoy driving. I would not want the liberty and excitement of driving to be robbed because something may be able provide more safety to people. My assumption is that, eventually, all cars will be mandated to be autonomous because it will be smart enough to interact with other cars most likely through cloud technology. It will happen eventually, but not immediately and I don’t think we should engage in this trust agreement with our cars yet. I believe there are plenty positive and negative aspects of this technology. Should it improve to the point where we can admit 100% trust in our vehicles, time spent commuting could no longer be be time wasted. Productivity is always a worry for people and technology is increasingly improving productivity. If all technology is connected, it would also decrease the amount of traffic on your daily commute which is definitely a positive. One negative is, as I mentioned, the slight chance of error that can happen for any reason at all.

    Overall, I believe that automatic cars will eventually be necessary to determine the safety of everyone who commutes by car. However, we have awhile before we get to that point of sole reliance on technology to essentially be our chauffer.

  19. KCollins

    Tesla self-driving cars are a sign of what is to come in the future. First, self-parking cars were introduced, now we are being introduced to cars that offer a self-driving feature. Interestingly enough, it is legally required for drivers to be touching the wheel in some way but it is not required for the driver to be touching the wheel for the self-driving feature to work. This law is a safety measure that will ensure the driver is ready to act in case the car malfunctions while it is in its self-driving mode.
    This implementation of a self-driving car demonstrates the advances that are being made with technology and how these advances are impacting basic, daily activities of humans. Sure it would be nice to be able to relax on your morning commute to work or take a break while making a long drive, but what happens when the technology starts to wear out? That will only increase the chance of something going wrong and an accident occurring. Glitches can easily occur, parts wear out and people don’t necessarily follow with keeping up their gadgets. There are car owners who do not even take care of their cars well enough now as it is. Having a car that drives itself would require frequent maintenance to ensure that the technology is still performing correctly in order to prevent accidents occurring and injuries from being sustained. Is the convenience of having a self-driving car worth the risk?

  20. Aaron Varghese

    Michael’s post regarding the auto-driving Tesla was truly fascinating. For a few months now, I have had the knowledge that auto-pilot mode for cars and was definitely in the making. However, I had no idea how advanced this technology was and how far along it had already come. Whenever I heard of the idea of auto-pilot I assumed there would be too many problems for there to be any legitimate progress. The thought of people just driving cars without actually steering or pressing on the brake seemed too perfect to actually exist. I remember hearing a conversation between my mother and brother about this developing technology. As expected, we were all very dubious to how trustworthy such a car really was. We had difficulty believing how the satellites could be able to provide such accurate and precise information regarding the system of traffic lights and the proximity of nearby cars. The video featuring the new Tesla showed me that such a reality could possibly happen. The man in the Youtube video was just as fascinated as I was when he was in the driver’s seat of the Tesla. He was so nervous during the beginning, which is not surprising considering the fact that I would have done the same in his shoes. I am always nervous about my surroundings while driving so to surrender control of my car to a robot would definitely make me apprehensive at first. However, after seeing the various sensors to lights and nearby cars and lanes, I realized that this technology can even surpass human error in a matter of time. It is still a scary thought giving control of a vehicle to someone else that isn’t even in the vehicle as well. I do not know how people are going to respond to this new technology when it hits public markets for the first time, but I’m sure eventually it will just become another accepted aspect of life. In terms of convenience, this new Tesla will be able to offer tons of benefits. First of all is taking off stress from the driver. As a driver, the stress of driving in crazy traffic or busy roads is massive, especially for younger, more inexperienced drivers. With a car containing software that could pinpoint precise measurements and angles beyond human capabilities, a huge amount of stress can be lifted from the driver. Another problem solved is highway hypnosis and sleeping while driving, with autopilot, sleeping at the wheel and falling into highway hypnosis are no longer major issues on the road. With the car doing all the work, the possibility of human weariness or fatigue causing serious damage is no longer a major threat while on the roads. Granted all of this technology still probably has a ways to go before it can be considered infallible to this degree, but I can definitely foresee this being in the near future as a success. One big problem I have with this idea is how does the Tesla handle the unforeseeable. Granted if everything in the world ran like a big robotic system there would be no extraneous variables. But this world has numerous variables that will always be present no matter what. The question now is: What does this new technology offer to the unpredictable situations?

  21. Stephen Gallic

    Tesla has recently just released a software update for their Model S vehicles. The update allows the car to operate on autopilot with features such as automatic steering, lane changing, side collision avoidance and parallel parking. As is evident in the video many of the users are very skeptical to put their life in the hands of technology. This is the first time humans have taken the leap to automized reliance in terms of driving. This is a big step for technology and Elon Musk is once again at the helm. Musk is known for his groundbreaking work and once again he is the first to introduce this technology to the world. After watching the video it is safe to say that the technology works very well even stopping at red lights and changing lanes perfectly. But one aspect of this new technology is the legal aspect when accidents occur. No longer will the blame be put on the human if he is operating an autopilot car but it will be on the manufacturer. This will confuse many aspects of law and it will be interesting to see the lawsuits that come about. Although law requires you to have your hands on the wheel at all times it will not eliminate accidents. What makes this new technology even more groundbreaking is that it was done on an over-the-air update. Cars like Tesla are electronic vehicles and that means there operations can be updated and improved not by mechanical work but by upgrades and software development. This is something even Henry Ford never dreamed about. In about a decade I would not be surprised if every vehicle had the capacity to operate with autopilot and in order to be “in the know” you will have to possess this technology in your vehicle. Mercedes is another company who is toying with this new autopilot creating a car that you can virtually sleep in on your commute to work. Along with the autopilot there are safety features. “After a few seconds, your car will give you a little message, asking you to touch the wheel in some capacity.” This ensures that you are still awake and paying attention to the road instead of relying fully on the autopilot. As mentioned before the legal aspects around autopilot will be very intriguing to follow. Wired reports, “Obviously, there are legal reasons Tesla can’t let you just go totally hands free. There are different regulations all over the country, and stricter ones in Europe, where the company has a large consumer base. TL;DR, this is Tesla’s way of keeping you responsible for your car (and keeping lawyers off its back).” By placing the responsibility back on its drivers Tesla will avoid a myriad of law suits. But what happens when the autopilot supposedly malfunctions? Only time will tell how the world of consumers reacts to this product and how the product reacts to the world of consumers but one thing for is sure the ride will be still be contingent on the relationship between man and machine.

  22. Nicolette Devish

    After reading both of these articles on the Tesla Self-Driving car, I have a better understanding of new things to come in the near future. Michael Solimini also brought up quite a few serious issues that we might notice more frequently. It has been mentioned previously that it has only been a matter of time until an autonomous car was created.

    I personally believe it may sound awesome theoretically, but in reality how good is the next big thing really? Solimini made watching these videos show the potential these cars have for our future. On the other hand, I still see that Tesla’s really need some more work especially when it seems like all is going fine then out of no where the Tesla in the video almost got into an accident. I think society truly worries and wonders if this is too good to be true or is this really the most reliable thing to improve? Think about it. There are drivers today who don’t know what they’re doing; I honestly do not know how some people received a license some days. It shows that just because new technology is out does not mean the work is to a consumers needs, the work still needs to be safe enough to drive.

    Michael Solimini brings up a great question regarding liability. At the end of the day, I am sure that accidents will still occur and things may go wrong because technology isn’t always so reliable, but who will be to blame? Who is going to take full responsibility? Another essential thing to think about is Tesla as a whole, since it’s the first self-driving car created. Now, how many other companies are deciding on speeding up production to get their own autonomous car on the market? These issues are serious and need to be put into perspective. Also, the safety needs to be considered when new technology is developed.

    This article interested me most because I am a huge car fan and the improvements are slowly but surely getting greater and greater. It’s 2015 and there’s already self-driving cars? It’s not only amazing but it’s incredible how car companies are becoming and inventing what I only thought could be in movies. However, I still continue to feel uneasy about the overall outcome soon to come for our society. It will interest me to see how this progresses and takes off.

  23. Edward Vestergaard

    Autonomous technology is a taboo concept for true gearheads, but like it or not, it’s coming to market. I remember reading an article about a month ago regarding Uber’s beta testing of autonomous cars in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was fun learning about how a standard Ford Focus was decked out with machinery, satellites, and a massive fan in the trunk to keep everything cool and operational. More impressively was how well the car drove on its own, able to accelerate, slow down, and stop where appropriate. Granted, the car still had some kinks to work out. One in particular was that the car didn’t know whether to classify bicyclists as pedestrians for another vehicle- a potential safety concern which engineers must soon address. Although I can appreciate the complexity of this new technology, personally I’d never invest in a self-driving car because it takes all the fun out of driving. Sure, I may drive my mom’s 2004 Toyota Camry, but c’mon, who does enjoy a drive? I’d prefer to have a stick-shift that puts 300 horsepower to the rear wheels, but beggars can’t be choosers; regardless, I can’t imagine just sitting there while the car does all the work. I can see the advantage if someone has a physical handicap that prevents him / her from driving otherwise. In that case, that’s awesome since that person can get around whenever he /she chooses without having to nag someone for a ride. As of now, I wouldn’t trust an autonomous car with my life, but I’m sure Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his crew will set the standard for autonomous vehicle safety soon enough.

    At this stage in autonomous technology’s career, people must have some part of their body touching the steering wheel as stated by law…even if it’s a pinkie finger. Musk himself says that “it works almost to the point where you can take your hands off…” which honestly is a little unsettling (Musk). To me, the quote implies that Tesla has this autonomous thing 90% figured out which leaves room for 10% doubt. However, a safety precaution is in place (for now) that alerts the driver if his / her hand(s) isn’t placed on the wheel. I’m curious as to what happens if the driver refuses (for whatever reason) to place his / her hand back on the wheel- how would the Tesla react? Would it keep alerting the driver and continue driving precariously, or perhaps it would slow down? Author Michael Solimini doesn’t offer any clues other than to say the measure “is to ensure safety and to meet all legal requirements of liability” (Solimini). Speaking of liability, what penalties would Tesla face if the technology malfunctioned and caused injury or even death to the driver, aka “co-pilot?” Does Tesla take all the blame or is the co-pilot partially to blame for trusting a computer? Is that grounds to argue inherent risk or is that a BS excuse? Currently, the law is a bit behind with how it perceives autonomous tech, but within the next few years there will surely be guidelines which governs this market.


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