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Tesla Autopilot update attempts to annoy users into keeping their hands on the wheel

By Polycount · 13 replies
Jun 13, 2018
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  1. Tesla's Autopilot semi-autonomous car tech has been implicated in numerous crashes lately, and though it's been tough to say where the blame for these incidents lies, Tesla is convinced their software isn't at fault.

    Indeed, the company is so confident in their tech that they plan to roll out an Autopilot update in August that will begin to implement "full self-driving features."

    Additionally, Tesla further emphasized their belief that user error is the primary cause of these crashes by releasing an OTA software update designed to nag users into keeping their hands on the wheel at all times through constant alerts.

    However, Tesla users aren't too pleased with the update. Many have taken to Twitter to state that their patience with the constant "keep your hands on the wheel" alerts is beginning to wear thin.

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded by saying it's difficult to walk the line between annoying users and preserving driver safety.

    That said, Musk claims Tesla will soon be rolling out yet another update designed to help users avoid the alerts entirely. Apparently, the primary reason the warnings are happening so frequently is that users don't understand how to properly prevent them.

    Musk claims users don't need to whiteknuckle their steering wheels; they merely need to maintain a "slight up or downward force" on it.

    The update in question will clarify precisely what the company means by that on-screen, which will hopefully help drivers avoid Autopilot's constant nagging. That said, it's not clear when the update will roll out for users.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 301   +165

    Next to water and food safety is #2
  3. m4a4

    m4a4 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,282   +796


    It's the price of needing to "stupid proof" it. Which, still doesn't guarantee the driver's eyes are on the road.
    senketsu likes this.

    IAMTHESTIG TS Evangelist Posts: 1,586   +701

    Don't they already have a disclaimer that you have to agree to that goes along the lines "even though you are using Tesla's autopilot system, you are still ultimately responsible for the control of your vehicle and assume all liability in the event of a collision."? That would pretty much be their out right there...
    wiyosaya likes this.
  5. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 3,181   +1,628

    And people will click that "I got it! Take me to Mars anyway!" button.

    With the release of the NTSB preliminary report on that accident earlier this year and the fact that the "autopilot" sped up as it approached the barrier, I have no confidence in its ability to avoid crashing into stationary objects. That feature, if you want to call it a feature, is called collision avoidance by other car makers, and it seems that those car makers have realized that avoiding a collision with another object, stationary or not, most likely means slowing down if it is detected that the object is not moving. IMO, it is a simple concept; however, Tesla seems not to have figured that out yet. It almost seems as if they got the software programmed to put the car into insane acceleration mode instead of putting on the brakes.

    If Tesla does nothing about this, my bet is that the accidents will continue. Thankfully, the NTSB has the ability to force such changes if Tesla does nothing about it.
    psycros likes this.
  6. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 2,388   +2,058

    Here's an idea: why not wait until AI-controlled driving is actually worthy of the name before shoving it into the mainstream? Why is Tesla marketing this as a self-driving technology if its not?
    mailpup likes this.
  7. Haggy

    Haggy TS Rookie

    The problem is that it now annoys users even if their hands are on the wheel. For many users, it will mean that they turn lane keeping off, because if they are going to hold the wheel, they don't want to be annoyed and risk having the car want to punish them.
  8. Haggy

    Haggy TS Rookie

    Because they aren't. They never claimed that autopilot is self driving. There's also no evidence that even a single owner thinks it is. Even before this, users got warnings, although they were less frequent.
  9. How to improve autopilot:

    Step 1: Remove it from consumer products.

    Step 2: Test it for another ten years.

    Step 3: Quietly relaunch it as a premium option.

    Step 4: Reintroduce it to the mainstream once it stops killing people.
    Capaill likes this.
  10. Haggy

    Haggy TS Rookie

    This sort of technology has been around for a long time. ACC has been around for over a decade. Plenty of other companies have lane centering. The differences are that Tesla's version works better, comes out ahead in reviews that compare it to others, and with Tesla, every fender bender makes the news. There are 16,000 auto accidents each day in the US. Many are in cars that have this sort of technology. Why do you think there aren't 16,000 articles each day?

    If you want to remove Tesla's version, then you'd have to remove it from other vehicles when it doesn't work as well. That means getting rid of everything down to basic cruise control, which can easily kill somebody who isn't paying attention.

    Tesla has better crash protection. IIHS rated Tesla's system Superior, meaning it works far better than most. It won't prevent all accidents, but neither will any car. Removing the technology will mean it won't prevent any accidents. Getting rid of a technology that saves countless lives because a handful of people misuse it, and would have gotten into the same accidents in any car if they weren't paying attention, makes no sense.

    If you hate technology, you are on the wrong website.
    Kytetiger likes this.
  11. That's why they need to remove it and quietly reintroduce the feature. None of this is about "the numbers" or ridiculous noise like "if you get rid of autopilot, you have to get rid of all cruise control eva!!!!!" All of it has to do with the Tesla brand image.

    Brand fanboys and technology fetishists can't see this.
  12. Haggy

    Haggy TS Rookie

    Well of course you can't listen to "fanboys." Why would anybody listen to somebody who likes something? It's much better to listen to haters.

    Getting rid of it and quietly reintroducing it would do nothing but kill off Tesla. It would send the message that Tesla agrees that the system doesn't work when it actually works better than the competition. Maybe it would satisfy the trolls, but then they'd find something else to complain about.
  13. You have no marketing background, do you?

    This is basic tier stuff.

    You pull the product and take the initial hit, fanboys cry and some of the haters cheer.

    You then relaunch with Autopilot 2.0 -- No crashes, perfect record, etc. and get the media talking about how socially responsible Tesla is and how they virtuously put customer safety above profits. Then, Musk (or someone) gives some biased auto journalist some inside dirt on how Audi or BMW hid this fatality or that fatality because they absolutely needed autonomous drive at any cost. They knew the risks, but they wouldn't pull the product. Too much money to be made.

    Instead, doubling down on autopilot is reversing these roles (as evidenced by the media coverage and public perception).

    Tesla is a sinking ship. Not because the technology is bad or because the cars aren't cool, but because their only real marketing angle is Musk, and he isn't managing this situation correctly (among others).

    Meanwhile, we have these accidents painting Tesla owners as complete m0r0ns, and every time one of them earns a Darwin award by jumping in the back seat when they switch on cruise control, droves of Musk's groupies flood the comments demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of the optics. Contributing, of course, to the general perception that Tesla, unlike Mercedes (rich folks), Audi (douchebags), BMW (a5$holes), etc, is the brand for airheads.

    Marketing makes or breaks luxury brands. Autopilot is bad press. They need to shelf it and rebrand it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2018
  14. Haggy

    Haggy TS Rookie

    Maybe short selling is your best bet. Nothing you are saying is going to happen.

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