Tesla in Autopilot Mode Crashes into Another Car Again
No major casualty in Crash
A Tesla vehicle alleged to have been on autopilot ran into a parked police vehicle in California a few days ago. The crash left the Tesla’s driver with minor injuries. Fortunately, the Police car had no one in it at the moment of the crash. Laguna Beach Police department’s public information officer, Jim Cota, however, reports that both vehicles are in bad shape.
He mentioned that the front of the Tesla was badly beat up while the police car was a total loss with axle damage unworthy of repair. The man behind the wheel of the Tesla told the officers that the car was running in a semi-autonomous mode, but further investigations have to be made to ground this claim.
Accidents involving similar autonomous vehicles
If the driver’s claim is confirmed, the Laguna Beach accident will become another number in the statistics of Teslas on autopilot that have crashed into parked emergency vehicles since the year began. It will be recalled that a Tesla collided with a stationary firetruck on the 404 freeway in L.A. county in January and a similar model also crashed into a stationary firetruck in Utah sometimes earlier this year.
The automobile company has emphatically maintained that the accidents are majorly caused by human errors and not the autopilot feature. The company emphasizes that drivers have been constantly informed that the autopilot system is in place to assist and complement the efforts of human drivers and not take the place of alert human drivers. Speaking on behalf of the automobile company, a spokesman mentioned that when making use of the autopilot feature, drivers have constantly been reminded that they should never take their hands off the wheel.
He also added this as the reason why drivers are expected to give an express accept markings, a dialogue box that clearly states that autopilot is designed only for use on highways that have clear lane markings and a certain divider before they make use of the autopilot feature. He further chipped it in that the fact that Tesla is said to be autopilot does not mean the cars are immune to accidents.
It was however reported in April that safety advocates were becoming highly skeptical of Tesla’s claims that autopilot mode reduced crashes by 40%. They regarded this fact as a misrepresentation of the Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s data.
Autopilot systems have common flaws
Wired explains that a couple of autonomous and semi-autonomous systems have a common shortcoming which may be pegged as the cause of the various crashes. The analysis states that the major reason underlying this shortcoming is that the systems are designed to ignore static obstacles. This is because the systems are usually built in such a way that they avoid false positives and slamming on the brakes unnecessarily. However, slamming on the brakes unnecessarily can be as dangerous as not slamming brakes when necessary.
This is the probable reason for Tesla’s manual express warning, that the available Cruise Control for traffic awareness is unable to identify all objects and may therefore not brake for vehicles or objects which are stationary, particularly in situations where the driver is navigating over 80km per hour and if a vehicle being followed by the Tesla detours from its original path and another stationary car or object is ahead of the car.
It is a similar situation when Volvo’s Pilot Assist system which is also semi-autonomous gets activated, such that if a car in front of a Volvo using pilot assists switches lane in bringing a stopped vehicle ahead of the car, pilot assist will ignore the parked vehicle and accelerate to the already programmed cruise control speed.
According to Raj Rajkmur, a researcher on the dynamics of autonomous driving at Carnegie Mellon University, the radars used by the system are same as those used in adaptive cruise control systems and are designed to detect only moving objects and may be unable to detect stationary objects.
The best way to tackle this shortcoming is to load the system program with diverse features that enables it to concentrate on moving objects and ensure that the car does not stop every time it comes in contact with a traffic sign. In addition, manufacturers of automobiles can also improve system accuracy by utilizing multiple sensors types such as lidar. Lidar has the ability to project lasers from which objects bounce off to create a map of the environment which has high resolution and even though they are more expensive than cameras and radar, they are fully capable of sustaining visibility where other sensors fail.
More in Business
Don’t Refinance Your Home without Doing These Five Things
Thinking of giving your home a major renovation or take advantage of low mortgage interest rates? Some might tell you that...October 17, 2018
New York City Council Votes to Cap Ride-Hailing Vehicles
Majority Carries The Vote A majority of the New York City Council on Wednesday reportedly voted to put a limit on...October 17, 2018
How to Choose the Best Life Insurance Coverage For the Disabled
Securing Financial Protection A primary reason why people get life insurance is so that after the demise of a loved one,...October 17, 2018
Another Economic Crisis Could Be on the Horizon, But Where Will it Start?
The banking system has learned some hard lessons from the 2008 financial crisis which shook the global economy to its core....October 17, 2018
This Retirement Expense is Making Women Lose Their Sleep
The only time living too long can become a curse is when you run out of retirement savings. And it is...October 15, 2018
Google’s Newest Sister Company Ready to Take Over Cybersecurity Industry
In January, Alphabet, the company you probably think is ‘Google’, revealed a new cybersecurity company, Chronicle, from its X moonshot factory....October 15, 2018
Is it Possible to Reduce Tax Cuts On Your Retirement Funds?
Tax-deferred investing is one unclear area for most people that invest in retirement plans like IRAs, 403 (b) and 401(k). An...October 14, 2018
Here’s Why Some People Never Retire
Changing Trends In recent times, it has become commonplace for baby boomers to keep working even into their 80s. Different reasons...October 14, 2018
Amazon Steals Project Runway’s Award-winning Hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn
Project Runway is about to lose its award-winning judging duo, Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. And guess who’s poaching the show’s...October 14, 2018