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A flight instructor teaches Tesla Autopilot


Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Jan 12, 2013
Looking at this video posted on Twitter, there's a grey area regarding the intersection at the parking lot. Neither direction has a stop sign, but the direction that the other vehicle was traveling looks like it is the more heavily traveled direction and consequently some drivers will assume that the vehicle traveling in the direction the Tesla was moving will give way. These are exactly the kind of corner cases that need to be learned from as summon gets more exposure. The operator of the summon Tesla would have been wise to let up on the "come to me buttom" as the other car approached as quickly as it did, so as to give way. Bottom line: be careful with summon just now released and give way when there's a potential collision, just as you would do as a driver behind the wheel.
Papafox, as others have stated multiple times, your conceptual approach to teaching use of Automated driving assist systems is really spot on. While some of the paradigm subtleties may be less well absorbed by non-pilots, the priorities of first learning all the means to shut down the system and fully understanding the potential reactions to the disabling (think runaway trim types of failures) then fully understanding the capabilities and limitations of the system before using it in anything other than a truly benign driving regime will lead to rational and safe use. Being able to answer questions in advance about when the system “might” be overwhelmed or create an unsafe condition (like defeating altitude hold in turbulence or mountain waves) or require performance beyond nominal limits (smooth intercept without overshoot of a localizer in very strong crosswinds) and being able to adjust the “scan” to fit the current circumstance (enroute phase crossing the pond vs a fully coupled approach to minimums) will go a long way toward minimizing opportunities for the media to sensationalize occurrences of misuse as “another risky new technology...”. Really a job well done on your part. Now to get new drivers to establish individual “personal minimums” until they are truly competent...

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