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Blog WSJ: Tesla Engineers Lost Argument for More Autopilot Sensors

Discussion in 'Tesla, Inc.' started by TMC Staff, May 15, 2018.

  1. TMC Staff

    May 19, 2017
    Tesla executives, including CEO Elon Musk, dismissed engineers’ repeated recommendations to add additional sensors to cars as a safety measure when using the self-driving Autopilot feature, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The sensors would have tracked drivers’ eyes and issued an alert when they took their eyes off the road or hands off...
  2. bhzmark

    bhzmark Active Member

    Jul 21, 2013
    Tesla Considered Adding Eye Tracking and Steering-Wheel Sensors to Autopilot System

    "By Tim Higgins "
    . . .

    Some other highlights:

    “Everyone at Tesla is not only encouraged, but expected, to provide criticism and feedback to ensure that we’re creating the best, safest cars on the road,” a Tesla spokesman said in a statement. “This is especially true on the Autopilot team, where we make decisions based on what will improve safety and provide the best customer experience, not for any other reason.”

    After this article was published Monday, Mr. Musk wrote on Twitter that the company rejected technology that would track drivers’ eyes because it was ineffective, not because of the cost.
    . . .
    Mr. Musk alluded to the complacency issue in a May 2 call with analysts, while repeating Tesla’s view that Autopilot makes its cars safer than conventional automobiles. “When there is a serious accident, it is almost always, in fact, maybe always the case, that it is an experienced user,” Mr. Musk said. “And the issue is...more one of complacency, like we get too used to it.”

    . . .
    “It came down to cost, and Elon was confident we wouldn’t need it,” one of those people said. Executives conveyed there was pressure for each vehicle to reach a certain profit margin, according to the people familiar with the matter.

    Tesla in 2016 was gearing up to launch the Model 3 with a starting price of $35,000, much lower than previous Tesla vehicles. Tesla has targeted a 25% gross margin for when it began production and aims to improve it over time.

    “We’ve explored many technologies and opted for the combination of a hands-on-wheel torsion sensor with visual and audio alerts, and we will of course continue to evaluate new technologies as we evolve the Tesla fleet over time,” the Tesla spokesman said Thursday.

    Mr. Musk has argued Tesla shouldn’t delay deployment of Autopilot given its potential to save lives. In July 2016, about two months after Mr. Brown’s crash, Mr. Musk wrote it would be “morally reprehensible” to move slowly because of media scrutiny or legal liability.

    In September 2016, Tesla wirelessly updated the Autopilot software in its cars. Among other improvements, it implemented a protocol that disables the system after warning a driver three times over several minutes without result.

    Federal safety investigators in 2017 found that Mr. Brown put his hands on the wheel for a total of 25 seconds during the 37 minutes Autopilot was on, and received 13 warnings to keep his hands on the wheel. Autopilot never deactivated.

    The National Transportation Safety Board said Autopilot lacked “an effective method of ensuring driver engagement” by allowing drivers to ignore warnings and keep their hands off the wheel for up to five minutes at a time. It also said Tesla’s steering-sensor system doesn’t ensure a driver is watching the road.

    “Autopilot as implemented now allows too much leeway,” enabling drivers to keep their hands off the wheel for as long as two minutes before being warned, said Phil Magney, founder of automotive consultancy VSI Labs.
  3. 75Shappyt

    75Shappyt Member

    Jan 18, 2018
    Kansas City, Mo.
    I'm not sure that would work, if someone doesn't have there eyes on the road, and there hands on wheel, they most likely drive the same without EAP, the car is safe, I feel EAP is safe, people are not safe, not sure you can make dumb proof.
    • Like x 1
  4. Ande

    Ande Member

    Jul 28, 2017
    For eye tracking to actually work, sunglasses would need to be banned.
    On a clear , wide road, nothing strange expected ahead, I can rest my eyes on beautiful landscape for a few seconds in any car, even without autopilot.
    Eye tracking is just annoying, and useless for some races as well.
    • Like x 1
  5. mpt

    mpt Electrics are back

    Oct 15, 2008
    Warren, New Jersey, United States
    That's a shame, I was hoping that the internal camera on Model 3 was leading to that so that I wouldn't need hands-on at some point.
  6. scaesare

    scaesare Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2013
    Click-baity WSJ title.

    Like the pros & cons of technical design and implementation aren't considered and debated all the time. Sure is attention grabbing after an accident that could even remotely possibly be auto-pilot related though...

    Why isn't there a WSJ article entitled "Model S Designers Lost Argument for Lighted Vanity Mirrors"?
    • Like x 2
  7. joeinslw

    joeinslw Member

    Sep 17, 2014
    United States
    I feel that autopilot is like what we have now with cruse control, but even though we can set the speed with it, we still have to keep our eyes and hands involved in driving, especially at highway speeds, traveling at 75mph which converts to 110 feet per second.
    When your in a car, how many of us think of the amount of space we are traveling at those speeds, and what could happen during that time? Not many I would bet.
    If we take our eyes off the road even for one second at 75mph we just covered 110 feet, not only to look at some beautiful landscape, but your phone if a call or text came in, what could happen during those feet and inches is anyone guess.
    I'm not criticizing you or anyone for looking at landscape, I'm just saying this is exactly why we should shut off the phone as soon as we get behind the wheel of any car keeping your eyes on the road at all times, autopilot or not, because at those speeds there isn't time enough to react.
    The Woman who ran her Model S into a firetruck could have been one of those drivers that drive one foot on the accelerator, the other lightly on the brake pedal, if she did that, her light brake touch would cancel any emergency braking the car has built into it.
    We have to drive like our very lives depend on it, because it actually does....

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