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Man Blames Tesla Autopilot System For Rollover Crash, Then Recants (autoguide.com) 126

According to AutoGuide, the driver of a Tesla is blaming the Autopilot system for a recent crash in Minnesota. "58-year old David Clark was approaching an intersection when he turned the Autopilot system on, causing the car to accelerate suddenly and veer off the road," reports AutoGuide. "The vehicle ended up on its roof in a marsh with all five occupants sustaining minor injuries." From the report: Tesla's Autopilot function is considered an SAE Level 2 autonomous system, meaning the car will accelerate and steer on its own, but the driver is expected to remain alert and intervene if necessary. In an emailed statement to Electrek, Tesla said it has yet to establish whether or not the Autopilot function was actually turned on at the time of the accident. The company also noted it is still the driver's responsibility to ensure the safe operation of the vehicle when Autopilot is engaged. AutoGuide's report was based off the information Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office received and reported. Now, it appears the Tesla driver is claiming the self-driving Autopilot system wasn't responsible for the crash, despite what he initially told investigators. According to ABC News, Clark said he was confused in the moments after the crash. After discussing the crash with his fellow passengers, he now believes that he disengaged Autopilot by stepping on the accelerator before the crash. "I then remember looking up and seeing the sharp left turn which I was accelerating into. I believe we started to make the turn but then felt the car give way and lose its footing like we hit loose gravel," Clark wrote in the email.
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Man Blames Tesla Autopilot System For Rollover Crash, Then Recants

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  • by mykepredko ( 40154 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:06PM (#54828935) Homepage

    I would think their lawyers (and hopefully marketers) cringe every time they see a story like this. The name "Autopilot" (while great) implies that nothing needs to be done by the driver so any accidents will be the car's fault, basically by definition.

    Keep the "Autopilot" registered mark when they have something that works at Level 4 or 5 but for now, call it something like "Lane Keeping Assist" and eliminate the headlines "Driver killed while Tesla Autopilot Active".

    • by vought ( 160908 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:42PM (#54829133)

      People using this feature freak me out when I'm riding my motorcycle into San Francisco. The normal behavior of phone-users is to brake, speed up, slow down, bounce off of the lane markers (Driving by Braille) and generally endanger those of us on two wheels.

      Tesla drivers? There they are, tapping away on the fucking phone with their eyes down and the car is gliding along, centered in the lane and steady, station-keeping a safe distance form the car in front of it.

      Please, more like this.

      As far as people blaming cars for their own stupidity, I'll trust the engineers at Tesla, thanks. Our Audi 5000 didn't take off by itself and neither do Teslas.

      • by Ogive17 ( 691899 )
        And in the moment where something happens and "Autopilot" notifies the driver it needs to take over and they swerve into your lane because they had no situational awareness... no, we don't need more of that.

        I have driven level 2 cars before, they are great.. but I never let it drive me. In my opinion, they greatly reduce driving fatigue. However until every car on the road is at least level 3 or above, I will keep my hands on the wheel and my eyes on the road... just hope others do the same.
      • by AcquaCow ( 56720 )

        People using this feature freak me out when I'm riding my motorcycle into San Francisco. The normal behavior of phone-users is to brake, speed up, slow down, bounce off of the lane markers (Driving by Braille) and generally endanger those of us on two wheels.

        Tesla drivers? There they are, tapping away on the fucking phone with their eyes down and the car is gliding along, centered in the lane and steady, station-keeping a safe distance form the car in front of it.

        Please, more like this.

        As far as people blaming cars for their own stupidity, I'll trust the engineers at Tesla, thanks. Our Audi 5000 didn't take off by itself and neither do Teslas.

        My Audi 5000 always got the accelerator stuck under those horrible floor mats. I eventually got tired of fixing the floor mats and just took them out to be safer. About 2 months later, the throttle itself got stuck. I shut that boat of a wagon off but lost the brake booster support to slow it down. I pulled the e-brake and the e-brake cable snapped, so I had to perform a few "evasive maneuvers" to get it safely into a parking lot and stopped.

    • by deesine ( 722173 )

      Autopilot's other closely linked connotation is what we've seen in many movies/tv/novels, "who's flying, don't worry I've got the autopilot on". People know that autopilot doesn't fly a plane from take-off to landing all by itself, the pilot is needed.

      How about fully autonomous, autonomous, driver-less, self-driving. New terms will be better and more accurate I believe than trying to keep Autopilot away from autos just because they're not fully self driving even when they pretty much act just like Autopilot

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @06:14PM (#54829279)

      The name "Autopilot" (while great) implies that nothing needs to be done by the driver

      I have heard this said many many times by people that all have one thing in common: They don't own a Tesla, and have never driven one. So it doesn't matter if it is misleading to them, since they aren't actually using it. Likewise, it doesn't really matter if you misunderstand what a aircraft autopilot does if you aren't a pilot.

      Meanwhile, for those of us that actually drive Teslas, there is no way that we are stupid enough to believe that it is "hands-off" just because of the name. Anyone that uses the system can see that it requires human interaction.

      • by Octorian ( 14086 )

        As one who does drive a Tesla, I find it quite infuriating to constantly have to explain (and re-explain) to people what the autopilot system actually is. They all just casually peruse headlines and assume it must be fully autonomous driving, usable from parking lot to parking lot, able to drive the car with me being asleep.

        Now I do absolutely love having the system, especially on long drives. And yes, I'm also quite aware of its limitations and am not stupid enough to assume Elon will take responsibility

        • by Anonymous Coward

          (Nor would I be okay with simply shifting the blame, and thus being personally okay with such a screwup even happening.)

          Some people do and will.
          A client sent me the front page of a tabloid paper with the photo of somebody house burn to cinders, the house owner blamed the fire to my client wall pluggable mains adaptor
          She went to chat with a neighbour and left the adaptor plugged in a socket over the kitchen cocker with a pan with oil heating
          I seen people do things and then plainly deny it, even menial stuff

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's annoying because I believe it really is as good as an airplane autopilot (flight director) system of today.

      It's just that airplane autopilots have vastly easier tasks -- 80% is simply 'head directly to this waypoint at these coordinates and altitude", and another 10-15% is simply follow this heading given by ATC. (There's a bit more to it around rates of turn and rates of altitude change for the more advanced routes, but the point is it's all hard coded ahead of time and almost trivial algorithm wise.

    • I would think their lawyers (and hopefully marketers) cringe every time they see a story like this. The name "Autopilot" (while great) implies that nothing needs to be done by the driver so any accidents will be the car's fault, basically by definition.

      Every time I hear this excuse regarding terminology confusion, it merely reinforces what has actually been abandoned; peoples ability to use common fucking sense.

      Regardless of the industry we borrowed the "confusing" term from, there has never been a commercial plane that has taken off or landed without a licensed pilot at the controls.

      Clearly the reason for that is not as stupidly obvious as I thought.

    • As has been said over and over again, 'auto' stands for 'automatic', NOT 'autonomous'. Why keep acting as if you don't already know that?

    • The name "Autopilot" (while great) implies that nothing needs to be done by the driver

      I think it's time we use a bit of common sense to tell people what "autopilot" actually means. A simple question would do: Would you fly on a plane right now without a pilot? I'm willing to bet 100% of people will answer no because autopilot isn't good enough for that.

      Level 4 or Level 5 would be well above what we expect any autopilot system for an aircraft to be capable of, so why should we redefine it for cars?

    • but for now, call it something like "Lane Keeping Assist" and eliminate the headlines "Driver killed while Tesla Autopilot Active".

      We are talking about Tesla. Detractors will seize on whatever they can seize on, so the headlines won't go away. Remember the hue and cry when one Tesla caught fire? You would have thought that Musk was hiding a body in the trunk of every Tesla.

      Meanwhile Legacy vehicles catch fire every day.

      So these stories will not stop, and even a fake positive like this one is seized upon.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I would think their lawyers (and hopefully marketers) cringe every time they see a story like this. The name "Autopilot" (while great) implies that nothing needs to be done by the driver so any accidents will be the car's fault, basically by definition.

      Keep the "Autopilot" registered mark when they have something that works at Level 4 or 5 but for now, call it something like "Lane Keeping Assist" and eliminate the headlines "Driver killed while Tesla Autopilot Active".

      Except it really is like an autopilot.

      Y

    • First off, I did have a pilot's license and I definitely understand how autopilot's work and what their capabilities are.

      Regardless, this is how the average person sees an autopilot: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

      • Dude... that's cartoon, making a joke. And it's from FOX... nuff said.

        Most people - at least in the EU and in the states outside the bible-belt where they have at least a semblance of an education - understand perfectly what an autopilot is supposed to do.

        And the argument is moot anyway, because the Tesla-drivers sure as hell know: it's been told to them, it's written in the manual, and it's mentioned every freak'in time you start autopilot.

        There is NO WAY a Tesla driver doesn't know he has to keep his hand

  • i was confused/drunk/high
  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:09PM (#54828957)

    I said it before here https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=10765687&cid=54657685 and I'll say it again.

    There is no more "he said/she said" with a Tesla. That car will tell investigators everything.

    If you get into an accident driving one, everything you did is logged and will be submitted into court if it goes that far.

    • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:12PM (#54828975) Homepage

      Which, IMHO, is a good thing.

      If I did nothing wrong, I want my car to exonerate me.
      If it was my fault, then I deserve what I have coming.

      He said / she said is a terrible system.

      • I agree. A lot of anti-surveillance and anti-logging arguments are basically "I want to do the wrong thing and get away with it".

        The actual argument we should be having is about what is right or wrong, not whether you should be caught if you do the wrong thing.

      • by Herkum01 ( 592704 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:18PM (#54829017)

        Obviously you are not a lawyer, because "he said / she said" is numerous billing hours and courts and works out great for them and the justice system.

      • Well, yes and no.

        If a driver has done "nothing wrong" then the driver has nothing to worry about, right? But what does "nothing wrong" mean?

        Let's say you were driving your car into an intersection, have a green arrow, and saw the light turn yellow. You've been driving this road for decades, so you know it's a long yellow light. You don't brake because you had the arrow and you hit the front corner of a car on the other side of the intersection turning right.

        Now, the physical evidence points 100% to the o

        • by Pascoea ( 968200 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:53PM (#54829187)

          You've been driving this road for decades, so you know it's a long yellow light.

          So you're saying, "I could have safely stopped for the yellow light, but since I know it's a long yellow I decided I could beat it." Along with all of the other "bad stuff" you mention, not driving defensively, poor hand placement, loud music, distracted driving, are all choices you make.

          You may have done nothing wrong and couldn't have prevented the accident

          Not doing any one of the 5 things you mentioned in your comment may or may not prevent the accident, but which one is going to look better on paper in front of a judge? Your argument is basically, if I get in an accident I don't want my car to tell the judge if I fucked up.

          • So you're saying, "I could have safely stopped for the yellow light, but since I know it's a long yellow I decided I could beat it." Along with all of the other "bad stuff" you mention, not driving defensively, poor hand placement, loud music, distracted driving, are all choices you make.

            Nope. There is no "beating" the yellow light. I was clear in my example. The light was green when you started in the intersection. Are you telling me that you're one of those people that will slam on the brakes at the first sign of a yellow light? Yes, I'm sure you will reply to some different scenario that the one I'm suggesting.

            I'm sure that you always have both hands at 10 & 2 (even during turns so kudos on that by the way), never coast through an intersection, immediately slam on the brakes whe

            • by Pascoea ( 968200 )

              No righteous high horse, no pedestal. I'm just as guilty as you are of everything you mentioned. Merely looking it it from the other point of view.

              I've been on both sides of shitty situations. I busted up the back of another car because it was wet and I was following too close, and I've totaled a car because a guy completely disregarded a traffic signal. My point is that in both instances, data logging likely would have changed the outcome. The guy I rear ended unreasonably dynamited the brakes because t

              • And the argumentative side of me want's to say no, you weren't clear at all in your example. All you said was you were driving on a green and it turned yellow, no mention of how far away from the intersection you were or if you could safely stop. The only detail you provided was you that know the light stays yellow for a long time

                I said "Let's say you were driving your car into an intersection, have a green arrow, and saw the light turn yellow."

                Looks clear to me

                You were driving into an intersection with a green light and you saw it turn yellow. I mentioned a "long yellow" so people would know there was plenty of time to drive through the intersection.

            • by jezwel ( 2451108 )

              Nope. There is no "beating" the yellow light. I was clear in my example.

              You are driving into the intersection and the light changes yellow. Got that? You're IN the intersection.

              Yup got it.

              The safe course of action is to keep going because the light just turned yellow, you KNOW it's a long yellow, the guy behind you is going as well, so it would be stupid to slam on the brakes & hope to stop near the brake line.

              You are legally obliged to 1) not enter an intersection where you cannot clear the intersection - regardless of the color of the light, and 2) clear the intersection after entering it. The length of the yellow time is irrelevant - if it turns red while you are still clearing the intersection you are still in the clear.

              The point is you didn't fuck up but a lawyer can pour over the logs and make it look like you did.

              You were following the law by clearing an intersection where the light turned yellow. As long as the Tesla can report that it could not safely stop prior to the start of the inte

            • I'm sure that you always have both hands at 10 & 2 (even during turns so kudos on that by the way),
              No I prefer half past 9 and 2:30.

              never coast through an intersection,
              True.

              immediately slam on the brakes when the light turns yellow no matter how close you are to the light,
              Nope, the yellow is an indicator. Red is the stop sign, not yellow.

              never have the radio on,
              True, I listen to CDs :D with "normal loudness"

              never talk on the phone,
              True.

              never eat or drink in the car, never have a pet in the car, nev

              • never turn the radio on above a whisper, never carry on a conversation in person
                That is bollocks, why do you ask this?

                Because the point was none of those example behaviors is necessarily bad, but a opposing lawyer can make it look like that was the overriding factor in an accident that wasn't your fault.

          • red light photo lights lead people doing an slam the brakes or step on the gas when the yellow comes out.

        • Sounds like you weren't taking due care when crossing an intersection, especially so if you chose to negotiate the crossing on a non-green light. The timing will show both of you failed to correctly heed the signal & sufficiently observe your surroundings.

        • Umm... You did all sorts of things wrong, in your example.

        • You've been driving this road for decades, so you know it's a long yellow light. You don't brake

          So you breached the road rules by not stopping since it was safe to do so.

          Now imagine if the lawyer subpoenas your previous tesla logs?

          Why Tesla? Cars have had black boxes for the best part of a decade.

          • You've been driving this road for decades, so you know it's a long yellow light. You don't brake

            So you breached the road rules by not stopping since it was safe to do so.

            Nope. No breaching of road rules. Reread the example.

            Why Tesla? Cars have had black boxes for the best part of a decade.

            Not like the Tesla. That's the point.

            • Nope. No breaching of road rules. Reread the example.

              Re-read. You didn't stop even though you knew it was safe to do so. Breached a road rule. You may not have been at fault but your actions contributed to it and you can be certain if there's footage or details of you doing so that you're going to be partially to blame for entering an intersection you shouldn't have.

              Not like the Tesla. That's the point.

              The only thing separating Tesla from every other vehicle is that the data is remotely uploaded and Tesla is more than willing to share at every opportunity. The data is there, and in very great de

              • Nope. No breaching of road rules. Reread the example.

                Re-read. You didn't stop even though you knew it was safe to do so.

                How do you know it was safe to do so? Could have been someone tailgating. Could have been someone behind trying to beat the light.

                I was specific in my example. You're entering an intersection with a green light and the light turns yellow. You know it's a long yellow. There is plenty of time to get through the rest of the intersection during the yellow just like EVERYONE DOES EVERY DAY. The other option is to slam on the brakes IN THE INTERSECTION which isn't safe.

                Yes, I know there are knuckleheads tha

                • How do you know it was safe to do so? Could have been someone tailgating.

                  But there wasn't. By your own admission the only reason you didn't stop was because you knew that traffic light was long.

                  • How do you know it was safe to do so? Could have been someone tailgating.

                    But there wasn't. By your own admission the only reason you didn't stop was because you knew that traffic light was long.

                    Nope. The reason I wasn't stopping was because I was in the intersection. That's clear. I love knuckleheads on the internet. "No, in your story, the guy wasn't thinking what you said he was."

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Still, posting on /. while driving isn't such a hot idea.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Which, IMHO, is a good thing.

        If I did nothing wrong, I want my car to exonerate me.
        If it was my fault, then I deserve what I have coming.

        He said / she said is a terrible system.

        "I was exceeding the speed limit and take full responsibility officer"
        - No-one Ever.

        The problem you have with "Autopilot" is that the idiots that use it think that the car is driving so they're automagically protected and they have zero responsibility what so ever. I guarantee that for years to come we will see law suits saying "I wasn't driving, it was the car, remove my responsibility and give me money". Such law suits may even bury Tesla despite the law stating that the driver was in control of the

    • If you get into an accident driving one, everything you did is logged and will be submitted into court if it goes that far.

      The helpful engineers at VW have logged all the emissions data from my car, and the data proves that my Triple-Diesel-Turbo-Afterburner-Stinker is actually Carbon Negative! This means that the more I drive and the more diesel I burn is actually better for the environment!

      I have this faint, fleeting notion that Tesla software is never going to log a problem that implicates itself.

      "Well, I don't think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error. This sort of thing has croppe

      • > I have this faint, fleeting notion that Tesla software is never going to log a problem that implicates itself.

        Your notion is incorrect. They have cooperated fully in several crashes, including one where the autopilot system failed to recognize an illegally turning truck and resulted in a fatality and one where the autopilot failed to understand construction road markings and sideswiped a construction barrier.

        Humans are really awful drivers making the bar extremely low for AI to beat us at this. Neith

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          Hopefully Tesla will continue to be honest, but the underlying issue is a valid one; if it's in the manufacturer's financial interest to put the driver at fault, what's to stop a less-than-scrupulous auto manufacturer from "doctoring" the automobile's driving logs (either before, during, or after the accident) in a way that would be very difficult for the humans involved to defend against? Especially after a few years/decades of the public (and judges and juries) being trained through experience to believe

          • if it's in the manufacturer's financial interest to put the driver at fault, what's to stop a less-than-scrupulous auto manufacturer from "doctoring" the automobile's driving logs

            You are right, it is a concern. How does enterprise IT prevent log tampering? Aside from getting the logs off of the box as quickly as possible?

            • How does enterprise IT prevent log tampering?

              Blockchain

              I hate to use that word, because it is an integral part of the CIO Schtick these days, but in this case, it really could be a possible solution to the problem.

              Of course, there are folks these days who claim that every problem can be solved by hitting it over the head with a Blockchain, but if you can navigate through the Blockchain hype fog, there really is something there.

              Hey, but how about some IoT with a Blockchain together? And add some microservices and fuzzing . . . micro-fuzzing! And

    • by vux984 ( 928602 )

      "There is no more "he said/she said" with a Tesla. That car will tell investigators everything."

      The car won't lie, but its only as good as it's sensors and programming.

      Scenario -- Car hits a concrete wall, catches fire, and partially burns out.

      Driver -- car didn't stop when I hit the brakes.
      Car logs - driver didn't press on the brakes.

      Reality - the brakes WERE depressed; the brake pedal sensors failed and then burned in the fire); and as far as the car's logging system is concerned the brakes were not used

      • Reality - the brakes WERE depressed; the brake pedal sensors failed and then burned in the fire); and as far as the car's logging system is concerned the brakes were not used prior to the crash.
        This kind of failure happens all the time.

        No, it does not. If the brake switch never activates then the PCM will show an error when scanned. The brake switch is critical to the proper function of the vehicle.

      • This kind of failure happens all the time. The self-test reports its fine, but it still doesn't work. The self-test reports it's fine, but its still not sending events properly. The sensor itself is fine, but the events are getting swallowed somewhere else along the way.
        You want to say:
        o the sensor that registers how hard the pedal is pressed down failed?
        o the oil pressure sensor of the breaking oil failed?
        o all 2 sensors for the ABS on all 4 wheels failed?
        o the sensors for electronic lane stabilization fai

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          You want to say:
          o the sensor that registers how hard the pedal is pressed down failed?
          o the oil pressure sensor of the breaking oil failed?
          o all 2 sensors for the ABS on all 4 wheels failed?
          o the sensors for electronic lane stabilization failed? ... hve to check again how many sensors are involved in breaking ...

          And/or all data transmissions to the log failed?

          No. Just the first one. The rest of the sensors all correctly show that the car didn't brake, because as far as the car was concerned the driver never pressed them.

          "Yes, because the most important part of the log has nothing to do with the brakes at all: acceleration sensors."

          They show it driving into the wall. And coming to a rather sudden stop.

          Now, for a typical current car, you are right in the sense that any sensor on the pedal is supplementing a mechanical system; but what about a brake-by-wire car where the brake pedal isn't mechanically attached, where a sensor records how much the brake pedal is depressed and

          • No. Just the first one. The rest of the sensors all correctly show that the car didn't brake, because as far as the car was concerned the driver never pressed them
            All the other sensors show: the car breaked an the non existing pedal sensor is broken.

            No idea why you think the pedal has a sensor, it needs none.

            but what about a brake-by-wire car where the brake pedal isn't mechanically attached, where a sensor records how much the brake pedal is depressed
            They don't exist.

            • by vux984 ( 928602 )

              but what about a brake-by-wire car where the brake pedal isn't mechanically attached, where a sensor records how much the brake pedal is depressed

              They don't exist.

              They will.

              http://articles.sae.org/14570/ [sae.org]

              • They wont.
                A car that can not brake when its electric network/power supply fails wont ever get a clearance to be run on european streets.

                • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                  A car that can not brake when its electric network/power supply fails wont ever get a clearance to be run on european streets.

                  It looks like they are talking independent / redundant power supplies at each brake as their approach to that hurdle.

                  • Then you still had the problem of communication to each break.
                    Bottom line I doubt having multiple power supplies, communications etc. will save any money (or construction complexity) over a standard simple mechanical breaking system that only has an amplifier and an anti blocking system that can fail.

                    But lets see how it evolves ...

    • That's why I believe BeauHD is on autopilot mode and let this story make its way to Slashdot while it shouldn't since there is nothing to discuss. The driver doesn't know if the autopilot was engaged or not. So, until we know, there is nothing to discuss. Why /. are you wasting our time publishing such stories?
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      There is no more "he said/she said" with a Tesla. That car will tell investigators everything.

      If you get into an accident driving one, everything you did is logged and will be submitted into court if it goes that far.

      Not confined to the Tesla - a LOT of cars are coming with basic event data recorders that like a flight data recorder, get all the parameters. It's only saved in memory when an event like a collision occurs that triggers the airbags or other event.

      The parameters recorded include pressure on the

    • Fuck telemetry. I'll trust my legal sanctity to my dashcam, thank you very much.

    • What has that got to do with Tesla? If your car was made this decade you have a black box already recording the final moments leading up to your accident. There hasn't been a proper he-said she-said situation for quite a long time.

    • by mjwx ( 966435 )

      I said it before here https://slashdot.org/comments.... [slashdot.org] and I'll say it again.

      There is no more "he said/she said" with a Tesla. That car will tell investigators everything.

      If you get into an accident driving one, everything you did is logged and will be submitted into court if it goes that far.

      Most cars do this now. There was a recent report in the UK about a base model Ford Fiesta which logged the driver exceeding the speed limit before they crashed.

      Another reason why you want to keep an old car.

    • Every modern car does the same thing. It records major sensors for 30 seconds before and if it can, 30 seconds after a collision. It also takes an OBD-II "freeze frame" at the time of the collision, which records things like whether the brake switch was activated, and the throttle position. If you think that this is new to vehicles since Tesla came around, nobody should care what you said.

  • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:10PM (#54828965) Homepage

    Autopilot is the best excuse for a driver getting into an accident that ever was invented. "No officer, it wasn't me! My car did it on its own!"

    Thankfully, it's easy for Tesla to avoid legal liability for things like this because the car logs when autopilot is actually in use and what it's doing. Unfortunately, it doesn't help with the PR aspect, as the media just blindly reports that it was Autopilot before taking the time to find out if it actually was.

    • by Balthisar ( 649688 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @06:34PM (#54829393) Homepage

      Autopilot is the best excuse for a driver getting into an accident that ever was invented. "No officer, it wasn't me! My car did it on its own!"

      Any time I'm in my beater Expedition (it's only 2004), I have to remind myself that the cruise control is not adaptive. After being trained by Ford's stop-and-go ACC, it's really easy to be lulled into thinking that the truck will stop instead of rear-ending the car in front of me at a red light.

      I'm an attentive driver under most circumstances. Seriously attentive, as in exclude the rest of the world attentive. Except when my car trains me not to be. If I can nearly fall into the spell, I wonder how dangerous the migration is going to be for other people who drive multiple cars, some of which without autonomous features?

      • by Nethead ( 1563 )

        Exactly! I experience the same thing going from my Outback with EyeSight ACC to my old Ranger. My 2017 Outback is fully loaded with all options, a dream to drive. My 2007 Ranger is bog fleet, no options at all. I really have to remind myself to pay attention now driving the truck.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It'a amazing the changes your memory undergoes when a person with suitcase full of money and an NDA shows up on your doorstep.

    Win-Win, both he and Musk are now happy, and we're all safer in our minds knowing it was driver error, right?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    A driver was confused after a crash, then he recovered. Shock effects like that are perfectly normal. Why is this non-news being published?

  • by jimtheowl ( 4200185 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:19PM (#54829029)
    "I then remember looking up and seeing the sharp left turn which I was accelerating into."

    Look up from where?

    At his foot to reassure himself that he was pressing the accelerator, or at at text on his phone?
  • Better off calling it Cruise Control. People are comfortable with this idea and may be safer. I remember seeing This on cars when I was a kid and thought, "Hey the car drives itself", maybe I was just a forward thinker :)
  • we give you a free car if you shut up ok?

  • by FeelGood314 ( 2516288 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @05:43PM (#54829145)
    What anyone says in the hours after an accident should never be considered accurate or even news. (It shouldn't be allowed in a court of law without a warning either). People are stressed, they are frightened, they might even be defensive. Someone who wouldn't normally lie might tell something that is blatantly false. I'm not going think less of this person but I will definitely lose respect for any paper that prints it or a website that links to it on their front page. I feel almost dirty clicking on a link from BeauHD - click bate shit.
    • by PIBM ( 588930 ) on Monday July 17, 2017 @06:12PM (#54829261) Homepage

      I once was t-boned in an intersection, during a snowstorm, while the other driver of that white car had shut off his lights to better see through the snow. He never saw the stop sign since his lights were off, and I had no way to see that someone was incoming. My car was totalled and thrown off the road.

      I hit my head pretty hard on the window. Allegedly, I kind of removed the door to get out after the accident. While I do remember some things, not much, it appear that the cop asked me what I would do once he would let go of me. I replied that I would take my car and drive to meet my girlfriend. That's when he called an ambulance :)

    • What anyone says in the hours after an accident should never be considered accurate or even news.

      No what it is called is "Breaking news". You heard it here first! Accuracy doesn't come into news and hasn't for a long time.

  • Now the guy might be lying and the autopilot was never engage, but, if we're to assume he's being honest the autopilot might still be at fault.

    But in an email sent Monday afternoon to the sheriff's office, Clark said he was confused in the moments after the crash. After discussing the crash with his fellow passengers, he now believes that he disengaged Autopilot by stepping on the accelerator before the crash.

    "I then remember looking up and seeing the sharp left turn which I was accelerating into. I believe we started to make the turn but then felt the car give way and lose its footing like we hit loose gravel," Clark wrote in the email.

    The biggest problem with Tesla's partial autopilot is that there's a lot of situations where it's extremely difficult to switch back and forth safely. Assuming he's being truthful it sounds like this is exactly what happened, that he accidentally disengaged the autopilot at the wrong time and didn't realize he was in control of the vehicle.

    • by fche ( 36607 )

      An autopilot that gives up control without the driver/pilot having situational awareness is worse in emergencies than no autopilot. They breed complacency in the driver/pilot, who cannot flip into effective engagement instantly.

  • In the original 70's "By your command" Cylon voice: "I call bullshit. The idiot drives like a Bombay cab driver on crack"

  • Or, more generally, the Elon Musk bashing.

    It's become a tradition for the /. trolls, after all.

    • There seems to be a concerted effort to turn Slashdot into another little amplifier in the right wing echo chamber. Bashing Musk, and anybody else whose efforts could be construed as "environmental" or "progressive" has become the norm, and you can watch the comments of anybody who mentions this get modded into oblivion with depressing regularity.

      The bottom line on Musk is that he's consistently done what people said was impossible, and he's done it against opposition from powerful vested interests. For e

      • Well, with the caveat that I'm rather right myself, and certainly not a socialist, nor a green. (Though I think 'right' in the EU or in the USA differs quit substantially as far as I've noticed).

        It's just that I think logic should prevail, not ideologies, and give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. Elon Musk certainly has proven his worth, and while one may argue he's not perfect nor a true genius in the sense that Einstein was, he certainly has shown he has vision and is actually aiming at improving things

        • I agree with almost everything you said. We part company a bit on nuclear plants, though. My argument against them probably isn't what you think. It's that "all in", they're just a very, very expensive way to generate electricity. For starters, there has never been one built that was on time, on budget, delivered electricity at the promised cost and met its maintenance targets. And when you don't externalize the cost of dealing with uranium tailings, transportation and storage of waste, you don't get a

          • "For starters, there has never been one built that was on time, on budget, delivered electricity at the promised cost and met its maintenance targets."

            There have been several; https://www.forbes.com/sites/j... [forbes.com]

            "And when you don't externalize the cost of dealing with uranium tailings, transportation and storage of waste, you don't get a lot more energy out than you've put in generating it."

            The dealing, transportation and storage (which is done mainly underground) requires very little energy. I'm surprised you

            • I didn't say there isn't a role for nuclear. And I saw nothing in the Forbes article to refute what I said about the failure of nukes to deliver promised performance. I'm sorry, but I can't take China seriously as a case, for any number of reasons.

              As for Ontario, we could shut down all our nuclear reactors tomorrow and buy hydroelectric-generated electricity from Quebec at one third the cost we're paying right now. If you want a horror story on the kind of cost overruns I'm discussing, google Darlington.

              • One should look at the facts, not ones own opinions. Remember that was a thing we agreed on about Elon Musk- bashers, after all. When one arbitrarily starts to exempt (or only allow) certain facts only because of arbitrary reasons, one starts to be irrational. China, for all it's faults and lipservice to communism, does show it's possible to create nuclear plants on time and at the foreseen budget. That the forbes article DID make clear.

                The main problem with all alternative sources like hydro, solar and esp

                • I don't quite know where to start.

                  1. There can be no reliable information from China relevant to a discussion of nuclear energy in the Free World. Anybody can build a reactor with virtual slave labour, and anybody can dispose of nuclear waste when you can do everything short of flushing it down the toilet without consequence. More to the point, none of these facilities has been in operation long enough for maintenance to become an issue, and it is maintenance that is the bane of the Ontario reactors.

                  2.

                  • I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. The 'working circumstances' and 'slave labour' are both hyperbole and emotional appeals, and have nothing to do with the fact the original claim is completely correct: that modern nuclear plants have been build on budget and on time. You can also look at India, btw, if you find that country more palatable. Or better still, take Korea - South-Korea that is, before you start with the 'slave-argument again - and you'll see a sharp decline in costs. As I've repeatedly po

                    • Again, I hardly no where to start. The best place would be with your misrepresentation of what I said, then using your own misstatement as the basis for your argument. I did not say there has never been a nuclear plant built "on budget and on time". I said, "there has never been one built that was on time, on budget, delivered electricity at the promised cost and met its maintenance targets."

                      That is 100% true.

                      As for the rest, I'll have to respond later, when I have some time. Frankly, I'm a bit pissed o

                    • Sigh. Look, that's bordering on pedantry. I can do the same.

                      Well, since the first half has been proven wrong, it would mean everything depends on your second part. To claim there has 'never been' one that didn't deliver electricity at the promised cost nor met it's maintenance target would mean that you know of all and every instance of any nuclear plant in the world the exact promises and delivered electricity cost and/or it's maintenance targets. I have not the time nor the inclination to search for it on

  • This is why you never, EVER talk to police. EVER. Especially after a traumatic experience. What you say will be taken as gospel no matter what your state of mind, and then used against you in court (both the judicial court and the court of public opinion).

  • by houghi ( 78078 ) on Tuesday July 18, 2017 @08:42AM (#54832367)

    I said logical, not good.

    When you see people driving into stores, they are almost always automatic cars. I believe the reason behind this is human behavior. We know that we need to press down the pedal if we want to stop, In a panic situation what I think is happening is that people have this instinct that they need to push down the pedal. They notice that they go faster, so they press down harder.
    Then before people realize they are pushing down the wrong pedal, they hit something all the wile thinking they are doing the right thing. And as they go faster, they won't be calming down to realize the errors of their ways.

    With a shift, the way to break is to first lift up your foot from the gas. That would already mean you will go slower. Next you need to press down the break. So going slower is a two-step process where the first is to move up your foot. And as taking your foot of the gas also means you will go slower, you will have a bit more time to correct your foot and press down the right pedal. And if you go faster (because you press down the wrong pedal) you will take off your foot and have time to get it right this time.

    I can easily imagine that people press down the gas instead of the break. However the two step process would be safer compared to the one-step process. Just human nature. That does not mean automatic cars are less safe. They are just in these specific situation.

    • by Nethead ( 1563 )

      My new Outback with EyeSight won't let me do that. If it sees a wall in front of the car it will just turn off the gas pedal, no go for you. Just think how many hair salons (it's always a hair salon) this will save!

    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      When you see people driving into stores, they are almost always automatic cars.

      That observation does not make sense. Almost all cars in the US have automatic transmissions. A quick googling show over 95% of cars have automatic transmissions. So you would expect that almost all cars that do something stupid have automatic transmissions. It is true for passing a red light, for being double parked, or whatever.

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