Thoughts on the recent Autopilot-related deaths.

garsh

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#1
The Accidents
To recap, there have been two deaths of Model S owners who were using Autopilot at the time of their accidents. First, there was Joshua Brown back in May. More recently, there was unnamed driver in China.

Tesla & Mobileye's Split
Shortly after the Joshua Brown accident, Tesla and Mobileye split up. While most people assumed that the fatal accident was the main cause of the breakup, the two companies recently made statements about the situation. Mobileye says that they initiated the split because Tesla was ruining their image with their reckless ways. Then Tesla fired back and said that Mobileye made unreasonable demands to prevent Tesla from competing with their business. I'm sure that there is truth in both statements. The timing of the breakup seems to confirm Mobileye's story, and we all know that Tesla will not allow suppliers to get in the way of their progress.

Autopilot Isn't The Problem
Amid all of this sensational journalism, a major issue keeps getting overlooked. Autopilot had nothing to do with these accidents. Sure, the drivers weren't paying attention because they (incorrectly) assumed that autopilot could handle unforeseen situations. But even then, it's not Autopilot that handles these situations. It's Automatic Emergency Braking. It's a safety feature that is separate from Autopilot, and it's a safety feature that almost all auto manufacturers have agreed to implement on all vehicles. They know that it's going to become a requirement at some point.

Mobileye's AEB System is Severely Flawed
Let this sink in, and let me connect some dots. Every car manufacturer implements Automatic Emergency Braking to help either avoid impacts or reduce the velocity of the vehicle before impact. Mobileye is a company that creates an Automatic Emergency Braking system and sells it to many companies, including Tesla, BMW, GM, Volvo, Hyundai, and more. Their system has been shown to fail miserably. The only reason the failures have been with Tesla vehicles is because Tesla's Autopilot provides the (bad) excuse for drivers to not pay as much attention to the road. In every other vehicle, The AEB system never has the opportunity to intervene because the driver most likely stops the car themselves. Mobileye has admitted that its AEB system only handles a narrowly-defined range of rear-end collisions. But nobody in the press has thought this through - it's just too easy (and sensationalist) to blame the futuristic Autopilot feature, so they don't dig any further.

Conclusion
Mobileye is correct that their partnership with Tesla was going to hurt their business. But it's not because Tesla is "reckless" in releasing Autopilot features. It is because Mobileye is putting out a severely flawed Automatic Emergency Braking system.
 
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Jayc

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#2
Interesting analysis and I would tend to agree with the conclusion.

TBH if Mobileye's system is not up to the mark then there has to be a proper investigation - you just cannot go about selling emergency braking systems that can fail during operation. Sounds like the airbag saga all over again.
 

chopr147

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#4
Very good analysis garsh. In the end for people who follow these things see Mobileye as a big loser in this case. They come out looking slow and behind the times. True or not, perception sometimes takes over and the stock market has maybe spoken as well.
 

Topher

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#5

chopr147

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#6
Good point and it relates directly to Tesla AP and it's Beta. I think Tesla may have some difficult times ahead of them. Every Tesla fatal accident is headlines despite the thousands that die every day on the road.
If Benjamin Franklin burned down the house with his kite in this kind of atmosphere we may still be burning candles for light :)
 

garsh

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#7
Looks like an AP1 car (with Mobileye hardware) has failed an AEB test.

Tesla Model S fails auto braking test, Tesla questions validity of the test

Tesla isn't so much as questioning the validity of the test - they've asked for details of the testing methodology. It's strange that ILNAS would release this video without explaining the test methodology at all. And why were they testing a three-year-old car? Smells like an attempt to create more FUD for Tesla.
 

3V Pilot

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#8
The Accidents
To recap, there have been two deaths of Model S owners who were using Autopilot at the time of their accidents. First, there was Joshua Brown back in May. More recently, there was unnamed driver in China.

Tesla & Mobileye's Split
Shortly after the Joshua Brown accident, Tesla and Mobileye split up. While most people assumed that the fatal accident was the main cause of the breakup, the two companies recently made statements about the situation. Mobileye says that they initiated the split because Tesla was ruining their image with their reckless ways. Then Tesla fired back and said that Mobileye made unreasonable demands to prevent Tesla from competing with their business. I'm sure that there is truth in both statements. The timing of the breakup seems to confirm Mobileye's story, and we all know that Tesla will not allow suppliers to get in the way of their progress.

Autopilot Isn't The Problem
Amid all of this sensational journalism, a major issue keeps getting overlooked. Autopilot had nothing to do with these accidents. Sure, the drivers weren't paying attention because they (incorrectly) assumed that autopilot could handle unforeseen situations. But even then, it's not Autopilot that handles these situations. It's Automatic Emergency Braking. It's a safety feature that is separate from Autopilot, and it's a safety feature that almost all auto manufacturers have agreed to implement on all vehicles. They know that it's going to become a requirement at some point.

Mobileye's AEB System is Severely Flawed
Let this sink in, and let me connect some dots. Every car manufacturer implements Automatic Emergency Braking to help either avoid impacts or reduce the velocity of the vehicle before impact. Mobileye is a company that creates an Automatic Emergency Braking system and sells it to many companies, including Tesla, BMW, GM, Volvo, Hyundai, and more. Their system has been shown to fail miserably. The only reason the failures have been with Tesla vehicles is because Tesla's Autopilot provides the (bad) excuse for drivers to not pay as much attention to the road. In every other vehicle, The AEB system never has the opportunity to intervene because the driver most likely stops the car themselves. Mobileye has admitted that its AEB system only handles a narrowly-defined range of rear-end collisions. But nobody in the press has thought this through - it's just too easy (and sensationalist) to blame the futuristic Autopilot feature, so they don't dig any further.

Conclusion
Mobileye is correct that their partnership with Tesla was going to hurt their business. But it's not because Tesla is "reckless" in releasing Autopilot features. It is because Mobileye is putting out a severely flawed Automatic Emergency Braking system.
Just found this old thread thanks to your new post. Great assessment of the hardware and it's limitations in the first post, thank you! I'm glad I read that and feel more informed about the truth. Funny how you must ignore the news and scour the internet for the truth nowadays......
 

kort677

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#9
IMHO
EVERY one of these accidents is not because of any AP system, they are all caused by inattentiveness/operator error. AUTO PILOT was a very poor choice for naming this driving assist feature. people tend to not read instructions and do not heed the warnings.
I have driven many thousands of miles with the AP system engaged on all sorts of roads and in many different climates and weathers and the few times the system got wonky I took control immediately.
 

Ormond

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#10
I'm not sure that my AP 1.0 vehicle will stop for a stationary object or vehicle. I don't know if this has caused some confusion for others. I keep my hand on the wheel and stay focused.