Mobileye reveals it split from Tesla over Autopilot safety concerns

By midian182 · 17 replies
Sep 15, 2016
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  1. Back in July, it was reported that Mobileye - the Israeli startup that supplied the image-recognition hardware used in Tesla’s Autopilot technology - was parting ways with Elon Musk’s company. Yesterday, co-founder Amnon Shashua revealed the separation was because the automobile maker is “pushing the envelope in terms of safety.”

    The two companies had been partners for years, but Mobileye ended the relationship following a fatal crash last May where the autopilot system failed to recognize a truck crossing the highway laterally. Tesla later wrote in a blog post that the accident happened because “neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”

    Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Sashua said the system “is not designed to cover all possible crash situations in a safe manner.”

    “No matter how you spin it, [Autopilot] is not designed for that. It is a driver assistance system and not a driverless system,” he added.

    The safety of the autopilot feature, which helps drivers stay in lanes and steer on highways, has come under increased scrutiny after it was blamed for several accidents. Recent reports from China claim that the first fatal crash involving the system may have taken place in the Asian country back in January.

    Responding to Sashua’s accusations, a Tesla spokeswoman said the company has never described Autopilot as an autonomous technology or a self-driving car.

    "Since the release of Autopilot, we’ve continuously educated customers on the use of the features, reminding them that they’re responsible to keep their hands on the wheel and remain alert and present when using Autopilot. Drivers must be prepared to take control at all times."

    Not long after the Autopilot system launched, a number of YouTube videos appeared featuring Tesla owners traveling down highways in the vehicles with their hands off the wheel. One showed a person sitting in the back seat of the car as it hit 51 mph on a Dutch road.

    Mobileye’s criticism comes after Musk’s announcement Sunday that an update to Autopilot will supposedly make it safer to use. The system will rely more on Tesla’s integrate radar system, and should drivers continue ignoring warning to keep their hands on the wheel, Autopilot will be turned off until the car is parked. Musk said it was “very likely” that this new version would have prevented the fatal crash in May.

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    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2017
  2. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,309   +1,403

    So their imagine recognition system failed and they're trying to save face by blaming it on tesla?
    wastedkill likes this.
  3. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,223

    I don't think it failed - it was never meant to stop the car from something spanning the road 3 ft off the ground that's the same color as the sky. It's meant to keep you in your lane and not bump into the car in front of you. Without knowing how the discussions went between them and Tesla it's hard to know why they left.

    This however...
    Never described AUTOpilot as autonomous technology?! It's called AUTO pilot! Could you think of a worse name for something that isn't supposed to be 'auto'? C'mon Tesla - own up and change it to 'DriverHelper' or 'lilTeslaAssistant. They could even give it a name like Cortana or Siri - call it Nikolai - your 'lane and speed controller'.
    Reehahs likes this.
  4. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,309   +1,403

    Autopilot in the aviation industry has never meant autonomous flight, but nice straw man.
    wastedkill likes this.
  5. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Evangelist Posts: 925   +284

    Normal people don't know that, they just know that autopilot means drives on its own. Wrong or not, ask regular people and most will tell you autopilot means it controls itself, manufacturers and marketers need to remember that or things like these Tesla problems happen.
    drjekelmrhyde likes this.
  6. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,309   +1,403

    It's just Darwinism, if they are too dumb to understand the risks they are taking then they deserve to die from the choices they're making. Dumb people would be dying whether or not tesla was making self driving cars.
    wastedkill and Reehahs like this.
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    The problem comes when they take out you or me in the process.
  8. drjekelmrhyde

    drjekelmrhyde TS Addict Posts: 249   +63

    This. Plus you have *****s (driver and passenger) on sites like Gizmodo playing pitty-pat while driving on video. It should be called Enhanced Cruise Control.
  9. yRaz

    yRaz Nigerian Prince Posts: 2,309   +1,403

    Are you smart enough to keep your eyes on the road when your car is driving for you? if so, then you would not have a single problem with Tesla's autopilot feature
  10. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,890   +1,223

    What? if you put a plane on autopilot you can get up and walk away. The autopilot actually does a better job of keeping the plane steady than a pilot manually controlling it.
    Automatic - (of a device or process) working by itself with little or no direct human control.

    Autopilot is a terrible name for something that isn't automatic.
  11. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,186   +469

    I was talking about when or if the "autopilot" fails and crashes into you (an innocent victim) while you were in another car. Don't be so anxious to find an argument where none exists. I was actually agreeing with you.
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,992   +2,527

    It occurs to me, the less a driver has to do, the more likely he or she is to become inattentive. The more inattentive he or she becomes, the more likely they would be to fall asleep behind the wheel. Accordingly, the "autopilot" is actually creating the problem it is alleged to prevent.

    Now, once upon a time, in primitive autos without even the benefit of computers, if you were having trouble staying awake on the highway, several low tech options were available. You could, turn the radio up all the way and put on some hard rock. Or, you could roll down the windows and shove your head out at 60 MPH or so for a half mile or so. Better still, you could just say "screw it", pull over into a service area, and catch a bit of shut idea.

    Much less litigation, a lot less expense, and much less having to listen to Elon Musk ramble on about the big favor he's doing you by putting this crap on his already overpriced cars.
  13. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Booster Posts: 68   +46

    Put a plane on autopilot, get up and walk away while flying through the airspace above an airport. See what happens. Autopilot does a better job of keeping the plane steady than a pilot - true. Does as good a job as a pilot if there's something ahead of you you could crash into, not true.

    The same is true of the Tesla Autopilot. It does a better job of keeping the car in it's lane and at the right speed, if used under the conditions it is designed for. It's not meant as a 'get up and walk away' tool though. Neither is autopilot in a plane, though you can get away with it because very often you're high up and there's nothing else in the sky. If there's nothing else on the road, you can get away with it on the ground in a Tesla too.
    captaincranky likes this.
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,992   +2,527

    Ostensibly, air traffic control has already "cleared the highway in front of you" anyway. Then the aircraft's "autopilot", has very little to do but maintain heading. Some autopilot systems fly the ship only via the "trim tabs", and not the main control surfaces.

    The simple facts of the system, of which most of the respondents to this thread seem to be at least partially avoiding, is that the Tesla "autopilot" DOESN'T make it a self driving car, but rather it's simply a "glorified cruise control".

    The sadder fact is, the system does do enough that it encourages abuse and inattentiveness. Make a few phone calls? Sure, why not. Catch a couple of winks" Sure, why not. Enjoy the scenery? Sure, why not.

    The only reason this isn't categorized as a "glorified cruise control", is because calling it that, wouldn't glorify Musk himself.

    This is just another sh!t feature, along with the lavish addition of larger motors, that Musk can use to call attention to himself.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with bringing electric cars to the masses, as Musk's cult followers have deluded themselves into believing is his mission.

    Henry Ford started with the model T, which was intended to be affordable, bringing the "horseless carriage" to the masses.

    This a**hole Musk is no Henry Ford, of this I am certain.
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2016
  15. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Booster Posts: 68   +46

    Yes, and if 'ground control' cleared the roads for you, the Tesla 'autopilot' would have little to do as well. You're just using emotionally laden words to make some sort of point. You could call autopilot on a plane 'glorified cruise control' too and insist it should have its name changed. So what? Doesn't invalidate my point, which is that something that is called autopilot on a plane is no more (or less) an 'automatic pilot' than autopilot on a car. We are used to words being used in an over-the-top way today.

    Does the system open itself to negligence and abuse? Sure. So does owning a car, engines are so reliable and brakes so good, why not take your eyes off the road to send a text? Or drive drunk? The fact that something can be misused does not make the feature not worthwhile. Wouldn't it be better if 'autopilot' was foolproof? Of course it would, everything that isn't foolproof would be better if it was.

    Flawed as you say the system is, the stats are that driving on 'autopilot' is about 3 times safer than driving without it, in terms of miles travelled per accident/death.

    Musk's concept of bringing electric to the masses can't be done in one step. The industry, and what has to be done, is too large, you'd need a much richer billionaire than he started out as. Next step is the model 3, which is to be cheaper.

    And surely he is intending to make a profit. Henry Ford did not start out 'to make an affordable [car] for the masses'. He started out intending to make a viable business that would make money by doing so. (In terms of affordability, $850 doesn't sound much, but the average wage was $0.17 per hour, meaning it cost 5000 hours of work, or about 2 years wages).

    It's easy to dismiss something you have an opinion against as a 'cult'. While hard to argue against as it is an emotional accusation, the fact that you say it doesn't mean it's true.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,992   +2,527

    And the fact that you believe the emotional opposite, doesn't make it not true either. (So, we're clear).

    And yes, an airplane's "autopilot", could just as easily be called, "a glorified cruise control". But the people who are using them, have hundreds to thousands of hours of experience using it, and are therefore, (IMHO), in a much better place to know its purpose and limitations.

    So I'd say, when the average Tesla is equipped with two(2) full sets of controls, and two(2) pilots, then Musk gets to call it "autopilot", until then, let's call it, "a glorified cruise control".
  17. ChrisH1

    ChrisH1 TS Booster Posts: 68   +46

    Well, actually, I'm not saying it isn't a cult, nor is it true I believe the emotional opposite. I'm just saying that categorizing all of this as a cult makes discussion difficult as it's an emotional argument.

    Many single-pilot IFRs have an autopilot - you don't need two pilots to have an autopilot system, in fact autopilot systems are more recommended when you only have one pilot. but that's a technicality of course. What isn't is your statement that effectively no-one gets to use the term autopilot except under a bunch of conditions you state as being necessary and true, for reasons of your own. It's not a reserved or trademarked term, and it's in everyday use, people can use it if they want.

    And I don't see why calling it a 'glorified cruise control' is either warranted or useful. You can disparage practically anything by using the term 'glorified'. You could say a plane pilot is nothing but a 'glorified bus conductor'. Doesn't mean it's true, but it's hard to argue against. (The usual follow-on from this from trolls and haters is 'no point in talking to you fanbois ...')

    At then end of the day, what does it matter? Why are you so concerned? If you don't like Teslas, electric cars, or Musk products and services in general, don't buy or use them. Why get on a forum and post what an a**hole Musk is? There's tons of stuff and services I don't like, but afaic people are free to use and enjoy them if they wish.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 12,992   +2,527

    Color me tried of listening to your crap. First of all, you're not "Mr. Spock", and writing is supposed to be done with emotion. This is op-ed. I'm not writing the news article, I'm commenting on it.

    With that said, Elon Musk is still an a**hole, and you can buy as many Teslas as you can afford. I'm certainly not stopping you.

    Now, while there are IFR rated light aircraft with single controls, one of the most common intermediate size twins, the ubiquitous Cessna 310 (and later variants), do indeed have dual controls. Witness this picture from a 310 which is, ostensibly, "for sale":


    You can grab it up to go along with your Tesla.

    Now also, please stop spouting hokey traffic accident statistics to go along with your defense of, "Tesla's glorified cruise control".(Oops, sorry, I meant "auto-pilot").

    You really can't use the feature inside the city, where most accidents occur. That automatically skews the stats in favor of a feature which is only usable on the highway.

    And take note that aircraft operating on "auto pilot", are still under the jurisdiction of ATC, which, keeps them MILES apart, whenever possible. (Also take note, "safe following distance on the highway", is considered, "one car length for every 10 miles per hour").

    So, considering you're cruising in your Cessna 310 at maybe 240 MPH, and your ship is about 27, feet long, how would you like to have a 747 "tailgating you", 650 feet in back of you?

    Hey, that's "one plane length for every 10 MPH of airspeed".

    And BTW, statistics can be made to say pretty much whatever you want them to.
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2016

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