Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Tesla Model S autopilot. The future is here. Well almost here. Update!

Courtesy of Jalopnik: 

The Tesla Model S isn’t the first truly autonomous car on the road and available for sale to the public. We’re not there yet, just as a society. But it is the first car with what Tesla’s calling its “Autopilot” system. And if this is the future not of driving, but of sitting in traffic, then please sign me up. 

Autopilot, if it isn’t a full autonomous system, is simple enough in execution. It won’t drive you to your ultimate destination, it won’t make navigational turns without your input, and it doesn’t know what the traffic light or the sign in front of you says. So think of it less like an autonomous system, and rather more like the ultimate execution of cruise control. It uses a forward-looking radar, a front-facing camera, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and GPS to make sure everything stays on the road, and it seems to work well enough using those. 

But even if it’s just the holy grail of cruise control, its execution is almost perfect.

The self driving car debate in my house is still ongoing and quite passionate.

Interestingly enough my daughter and I are not on the sides of the issue you might imagine.

I am all for self driving cars as I think they will be great for the elderly and awesome for long distance drives.

My daughter on the other hand does not like the idea of machines taking over yet another human responsibility and making us even more reliant on machines.

I see her point, and even agree with it to some degree, but then I think of the gee whiz factor and suddenly I'm like a kid in a toy store.

Besides let's face it, this WILL be the future someday whether we like it or not.

Update: In other car news Toyota has plans to virtually do away with all gas powered vehicles by 2050.

God I love the smell of progress in the morning.


  1. Anonymous6:26 AM

    Why should anyone care what your dumb daughter thinks of anything?

    1. Anonymous6:45 AM

      6:26 Someone seems angry today...could it be a mama grizzly or a cub?

    2. Virginia7:14 AM

      Wow. Way to be a dick, 6:26.

    3. More important than anything Bristol has to say.

    4. Anonymous7:59 AM

      Oh, I'm sorry, you must be on the wrong blog! If you want to talk about dumb daughters then head on over to Sarah Palin's Facebook!

    5. Anonymous8:02 AM

      6:26. Eat a Snickers and relax.

  2. Anonymous6:37 AM

    When it can fly, I'll be first in line to buy one!

  3. a. j. Billings6:39 AM

    I got passed by a Tesla S doing about 90 mph the other day on a divided highway. They are great cars, but the battery and technology has not yet gotten cheap enough for most of us to buy.

    The cheapest Tesla is about $50 thousand on the east coast.

    The ultimate Republican hypocrites in a lot of states are actually conspiring to keep Tesla from selling their cars, by forcing them to open dealerships, instead of buying out of just a showroom

    So much for "liberty".

    These Repubs believe in "free" enterprise, until competition threatens the old established brands, and then they pass laws to prevent other from selling cars via web or showroom.

    The Christian Teaparty in action:

    1. That puts the low end Tesla in the neighborhood of a Lexus.

      They are working on an even more affordable model. I think if they can drop it another $10-$15 thousand, they'll really be in the running.

      I wanted to buy Tesla in 2008. I think it was $17 a share. Now it's $250+ a share. I was talked out of it because they didn't offer dividends. I wanted to buy Apple in the 80s when everyone said they'd go bankrupt. I was talked out of that too.

      I need to stop listening to people giving me advice on stocks.

  4. Anonymous6:42 AM

    Isn't Tesla the company that wanted to sell directly to consumers (ya know, capitalism) and the GOP went ballistic on them?

    1. Anonymous7:50 AM

      Dr. Ben 'Scissorhands' Carson owns a Tesla.

  5. I side with your daughter. I took over our family driving four years ago as my husband's health declined, and I've never once used the cruise control on our Chrysler. Many of his doctor appointments are a 150 mile round trip too.

    My attitude is if it's too demanding on me to keep my eyes on the road, my hands on the wheel and a foot on a pedal, other motorists are better off if I'm not out there with them. My own bum hearing prevents even the distraction of a phone or a radio too.

    1. I use cruise control because studies have shown it saves gas. It also prevents acceleration creep.

  6. Leland7:13 AM

    I would prefer they - and by "they", I mean ANYONE - would create a car that could NOT speed! And at the same time could be made to warn drivers that they are driving TOO SLOW! Statistically (or at least it used to be) more accidents are caused by slow drivers than fast simply by aggravating the drivers behind them, causing those drivers to get antsy and make bad decisions.

    Yes, that is still the fault of the antsy driver, but the ROOT cause is still the slower driver.

    And don't EVEN get me started on yoyo drivers! You know, the ones who get up to a speed and then slow down and then speed up and then....

    1. Anonymous10:10 AM

      To paraphrase George Carlin: "Ever notice that everyone who drives faster than you is a maniac and everyone who drives slower than you is an idiot?"

    2. Anonymous11:05 AM

      Yes, I have never understood why the speedometer on my Camry goes to 120MPH? For what? I think if I ever drove that fast the thing would fall apart.

    3. Anonymous11:48 AM

      11:05. Live a little. See what happens and try to get it to 120!

    4. By design the internal combustion engines have to be able to achieve over 100 mph just to maintain a decent 60 mph and have acceptable acceleration from a stop.

      Electric motors with enough torque have no problem with either and onboard computers can cap the maximum speed at anything you want.

  7. Dinty7:38 AM

    I've been seeing the Google driverless SUVs around here in Silicon Valley for the past few years. I'm impressed with their capabilities and have seen one avoid an accident better than any human could have. That said I'm going to have a lot of difficulty trusting this capability when I'm behind the wheel of one

  8. Anonymous7:58 AM

    You are happily signing your life and freedom of movement away to The Google. Fuck that. Your daughter is more than right.

    1. Anonymous8:18 AM

      Not to mention that guy behind the wheel is the perfect example of men will become, embarrassingly useless, scared, and emasculated pieces of tubby flesh that squeal like women.

    2. Agree with 8:18.

      America is already alarmingly obese. Imagine the results when the cars drive themselves and we have both hands free to stuff our faces.

  9. Slightly O/T. I might live long enough to have a driverless car take me home from the bar and I'm just giddy about it.

    When that time comes I predict the MAD Mothers against drunk driving will be pissed and lobby against it. Finally outing themselves as the temperance movement they really are.

    1. Anonymous8:19 AM

      Awesome. I'm totally against the technology,,, except for this very purpose. And you are spot on about MADD.

    2. Leland8:36 AM

      Nottobe..., you sound exactly like the kind of driver which has killed thousands of people with your drinking habits.

      Not once has that movement attempted to prevent people drinking.Their only desire was to stop drunk drivers from driving when inebriated. To stop the drunks from being able to get behind the wheel. AND for them to get the penalties they deserve if they do drive and cause an accident.

      One of my brothers was killed by a drunk driver. The drunk got a five thousand dollar fine. BIG F'ing deal! Today, thanks to the efforts of MADD and others like them, SC has a vehicular homicide law that can put a drunk behind bars for up to twenty-five years if a person dies in an accident they caused..

      I completely agree with that. My brother got a death sentence. The other driver should have as well in my book.

    3. Anonymous11:04 AM

      Oh please. I suppose you're of the "Obama is taking our guns" school as well? When has MADD ever suggested not drinking or banning alcohol? I do not drink, as my dad killed himself with beer and cigarettes at 61. I frankly don't see what the big deal is about losing control, possibly taking a life, and all for what?

    4. The mad mothers have successfully lobbied for vehicle seizure after one beer in my province. Yet they're mum on old bags taking too many pills/driving or old bastards that shouldn't have been on the road for years.

      My personal beef with the mad mothers is their fucked up accounting practices. It's been years now but last I read very little of donated money got to the problem.

      11:04 I have had my license for 22 years, I drink daily and haven't had a ticket in 18 years.

      Sorry to anyone that's lost someone to this senseless and profitless crime but my position on the mad mothers still hasn't changed.

    5. This is too much! Ignition devices in every new car! Any idea what that costs you two?

    6. Leland2:41 PM

      nototbe..., just because you have been drinking and driving (I assume that is what you meant when you stated you've been drinking for 22 years and never gotten a ticket.) does NOT mean you won't kill someone tomorrow! The more you participate in a dangerous practice, the greater the chances of you being the one to be "struck" by that practice.

      If you want to drink, either take a cab home or stay at home when you drink. It's not hard to do. And yes, I expect you to claim I am telling you what to do. Not so. Just reiterating what any SANE person who drinks would do.

      And yes, even one beer inhibits your reactions, so I am glad to hear the province you live in has made the punishment strong enough to make any sane person think twice about driving under the influence.

      And that brings up the point you make about "...they're mum on old bags taking too many pills/driving or old bastards that shouldn't have been on the road for years." I haven't a clue how the laws are stated in Canada, but the laws here are no longer limited to alcohol. DUI means driving under the influence. That INCLUDES medications or anything that can impair one's abilities.If you are driving erratically, for instance, and the officer finds you are taking medication that specifically states NOT to drive or do other things of that nature, you are charged with DUI

      Not that it is any defense, but name me an organization - charity or otherwise - which doesn't have problems of that nature. They have succeeded beautifully - at least in many people's minds - even with that so-called complaint.

      So you don't like MADD. Tough. Millions do. Get over it.

      Oh, and one more thing. It's something many people here in the states don't realize. Down here, driving is NOT a right. It is a privilege.

    7. Anonymous2:53 PM

      There aree also millions that don;t like MADD Lelend, so you can deal with that. Plenty of overzealous laws that have ruined peoples lives for no good reason.

    8. Leland4:39 PM

      @ 2:53

      "Plenty of overzealous laws that have ruined peoples lives for no good reason."

      No good reason? Oh you mean like dead children? Or dead fathers or mothers or brothers or sisters? If those aren't good enough reasons, WHAT ARE?

      And no, I don't care how you answer me - or even if you do.

    9. More reading and less reading into my comment Leland! You never followed my link and you don't care about anyone's story but yours, so keep believing anything you want. Ignorant woman. Very few drinking drivers have drivers licenses where I am. It's not as hard as it sounds, I just don't drink unless I've had a couple....But not too many!

      Drug testing? bring it on! Police, politicians, professional drivers and lobbyists! Lobbyists like the mad mothers. Random spot tests for all old ladies, blood tests! Are you ready leland? The mad dog could be on the way right now, better cut that hair you know.

      Why should the medicated have to drive erratically to get stopped in the middle of your day when all of your precious children are in the road? Random check the old fuckers now!

    10. Sorry Leland I got ahead of myself. I really meant that you might be ignorant in this subject or at least the parts about professional driving or experienced drinking.

      I truly believe that you have no experience in any of the above and don't understand roadside law enforcement. It's real life in my country and I understand the law and roadside manner.

      You might choose to assume less and ask the odd question. Assuming you're not on the mad mothers payroll.

  10. Anonymous8:19 AM

    Tesla Cautions Drivers Against Trusting Its New Autopilot System Too Much

    Newer Tesla Motors Model S sedans will be able to steer and park themselves under certain conditions starting Thursday, the carmaker said, although Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk cautioned that drivers should keep holding the steering wheel.

    New "autopilot" features, designed for cars built after September 2014, will be available for customers in the United States, Tesla said. European and Asian owners must wait another week. Tesla will provide the features through an over-the-air upgrade.

    Musk cautioned that autopilot functionality was in beta mode and full "hands-off" driving was not recommended.

    "We're being especially cautious at this stage so we're advising drivers to keep their hands on the wheel just in case," Musk told reporters at the company's Silicon Valley headquarters. "Over time there will not be a need to have your hands on the wheel."

    Reporters who took Model S sedans with the new features for a test drive and took their hands off the wheel saw a notice saying "hold steering wheel" illuminate on the dashboard.

    In more difficult navigating conditions, an audio alert will come on and if that also is ignored, the car will slow and eventually stop, Tesla said.

  11. I like the idea of this, BUT only if they are hack-proof!
    I ain't riding in a car that can be hacked. I'll keep it old school till then.

    1. The most dangerous thing about a car is its human driver. Once driverless cars are hack-proof, sign me up!

    2. Leland11:04 AM

      My father always said: The most dangerous part of an automobile is the NUT holding the steering wheel! Thanks Jennifer.

      I can't see it happening any time soon, because of the effort and expense involved, but once the "intelligent" highway is in place, we should be free of the dangerous drivers on them.

      And actually, a huge step forward has been made. Google "Solar Pavement" and you can read all sorts of interesting articles on the latest idea.

      I will grant you, it isn't a finished product, but I certainly like the thought that went into them - and the possibilities these things raise for the future.

    3. Anonymous11:46 AM

      Leland you sound dangerous for personal freedom.

      Lets just let other men take away all our abilities, and control our lives thru their programmed machines and tracking programs just because you have fear of the big bad world. All for the cheap and certainly limited promise of 'safety'. That is not living. I'll control my own fate and drive my own car.

    4. Leland12:49 PM

      11:46, when the safety of all is at stake, a few personal items are a small price to pay - unless of course, you can come up with a way of suddenly changing those who would kill or endanger others due to their own weaknesses (for which they won't seek help) or stupidity.

      The gun nuts are claiming personal freedom, too. You want them to have all the rights while the rest of us have to cower in holes?

      As in everything, there is a balance that should be sought.

    5. Anonymous2:51 PM

      You are an idiot Leland.

      The world of men who desire control absolutely love the scared sheep just like you, they count on your type.

    6. Anonymous2:56 PM

      Since you are going to bring up guns Leland....

      "My father always said: The most dangerous part of an ________ is the NUT holding the ____!"

      Glad you agree with the people who are trying to protect the 2nd ammendment.

  12. Yay for Toyota.

    I think I'll buy their stock, just to show my approval.

    As for the Tesla S autodrive. Is it really any different than the cruise controls, etc. they have for trains and planes? It isn't taking over. But it is making certain tasks more safe.

    I believe one thing it does is maintain a safe distance and if you start to drift it corrects and if the vehicle in front slows down it slows you down or even stops you. For those that travel long distances and might nod off, this is a huge safety feature.

    I don't drive long distances any more because I'm not having trouble staying 100% alert on the very long drives at night.

    If I cease to do even 100 miles to L.A., there is no reason for me to own a gas vehicle at all. A Nissan Leaf has enough of a charge to get me around town. I've got solar panels to balance the nightly charging. I just don't like Nissan. Now if Toyota created an EV Prius, I'm there. I drove a RAV EV and loved it. Except it's a RAV. Don't want an SUV. Not even a little one.

  13. Anonymous4:54 PM

    I'm one of those odd eggs that loves the feel of the road and the hands on experience of driving, so I'd probably tire of this feature.
    We went to the car show and the Tesla IS an amazing car, but the price of admission and insurance would keep it out of reach for way too long to work.


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