Elon Musk is promising to provide a software update to all Tesla’s with a “full self-driving” suite for urban environs, he claims. The systems will still require full driver attention. Looks like he is going to play the safety statistics game which just might work. Stay tuned.
From an article in the Boston Globe.
Tesla is racing to be first to the market with a self-driving car made for the masses, promising to send as soon as this year an over-the-air software update that will turn hundreds of thousands of its vehicles into robo-cars. But its push to put untested and unregulated features in the hands of its drivers is putting industry executives and regulators on edge.
Once the update arrives, Tesla vehicles will be able to drive themselves in a city the way they can perform highway cruising now, the company said. That means interpreting stop signs and traffic lights, making sharp turns, and navigating stop-and-go urban traffic and other obstacles — a far more difficult task than navigating long, relatively straight stretches of highways.
The electric-car maker said it would do that without light detection and ranging, or lidar, complex sensors that use laser lights to map the environment — technology most autonomous vehicle makers consider necessary. Even with lidar, many of those manufacturers have adopted a slow and deliberate approach to self-driving vehicles, with limited testing on public roads.
Tesla shows little sign of such caution. And because autonomous vehicles are largely self-regulated — guided by industry standards but with no clearly enforceable rules — no one can stop the automaker from moving ahead.
The Washington Post spoke with a dozen transportation officials and executives, including current and former safety regulators, auto industry executives, safety advocacy group leaders, and autonomous-vehicle competitors. In interviews, they expressed worries that Tesla’s plan to unleash robo-cars on the road on an expedited timeline — likely without regulated vetting — could result in crashes, lawsuits, and confusion. Plus, they said, Tesla’s promised ‘‘full self-driving’’ features fall short of industry standards for a true autonomous vehicle because humans will still need to be engaged at all times and ready to intervene in the beginning. Some of the people interviewed requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
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