Tesla delivers advanced semi-autonomous software, but warns against letting go the steering - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum
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#1 Old 10-15-2015
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Tesla delivers advanced semi-autonomous software, but warns against letting go the steering

Better have a card from you Lawyer in the Glove Box.

Tesla’s Model S luxury electric sedans produced since the autumn of 2014 will receive today a software update that will let them control steering and even park themselves, though all these feats will be achieved under certain conditions.

The automaker might be introducing the most advanced software designed to bring semi-autonomous features to date, but chief executive and billionaire co-founder Elon Musk has been keen to caution the drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel. The new “Autopilot” feature, which can be used by cars manufactured after September 2014, will become available through an over-the-air upgrade to customers in the United States on Thursday – with European and Asian owners only having to wait another week for the software patch. “We’re being especially cautious at this stage so we’re advising drivers to keep their hands on the wheel just in case,” Musk commented in front of media representatives at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters. “Over time there will not be a need to have your hands on the wheel.”

The automaker also provided test drive cars for the journalists and the Model S luxury electric sedans started cautioning them with a notice saying “hold steering wheel” every time they let go of it. Under difficult navigation conditions, Tesla said, an audio alert would also be initiated and if that is also ignored, the car would move to slow and stop. “We’re very clearly saying this is not a case of abdicating responsibility,” Musk pointed out about driver involvement. “That will come at some point in the future but … this is still early days.” Musk added that in the span of around three years, you could have the car drive “from your driveway to work without you touching anything,” though regulatory approval will probably postpone them some more years.

Tesla’s Cars Now Drive Themselves, Kinda

Tesla's Cars Now Drive Themselves, Kinda | WIRED
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#2 Old 10-16-2015
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Oh dear, potential for disaster. Is steering a car really so difficult?

The biggest issue for me is the instantaneous change of roles and responsibilities that can occur with autonomous and semi autonomous vehicles. The person sat behind the steering wheel is expected to be a passenger when the car is in control of itself, but instantly become a driver when the car hands over control. Sitting in the 'drivers' seat doing nothing while the car drives itself would be the most uncomfortable journey I could imagine. I'm a bad enough passenger as it is, but the potential to receive a 'hospital ball' from the auto-pilot is quite a scary prospect.
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#3 Old 10-16-2015
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I completely agree.... Note that Musk clearly states the driver is still ultimately responsible for the safe control of the vehicle but as you say 99.99% of the time everything thing will work just fine but then the 'hospital ball' will strike when you've been lulled into that false sense of security.

I have also just read that Mercedes have now been granted permission to run semi-autonomous 42 ton HGV's on some German roads :-o
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