Archive for the ‘autopilot’ Category

Tesla’s main self-driving rival isn’t Google—it’s Intel’s Mobileye

January 13th, 2021
A man at a podium smiles while holding up a palm-sized computer component.

Enlarge / Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua shows off a silicon photonics lidar chip slated for introduction in 2025. (credit: Mobileye)

One of the most underrated companies in the self-driving technology sector is Mobileye, an Israeli company that Intel purchased for $15 billion in 2017. Mobileye is the largest supplier of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that ship with today's cars. In a Monday interview at the virtual CES conference, Mobileye explained its strategy to stay on top as the industry shifts to fully self-driving vehicles.

Mobileye's self-driving strategy has a number of things in common with that of Tesla, the world's most valuable automaker. Like Tesla, Mobileye is aiming to gradually evolve its current driver-assistance technology into a fully self-driving system. So far, neither company has shipped products with the expensive lidar sensors used in many self-driving prototypes.

And like Tesla, Mobileye has access to a wealth of real-world driving data from its customers' cars. Tesla harvests data directly from Tesla customers. Mobileye has data-sharing agreements with six car companies—including Volkswagen, BMW, and Nissan—that ship Mobileye's cameras, chips, and software.

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Posted in Amnon Shashua, autopilot, cars, Intel, lidar, Mobileye, Tesla | Comments (0)

This Arizona college student has taken over 60 driverless Waymo rides

December 7th, 2020
Joel Johnson with a driverless Waymo vehicle.

Enlarge / Joel Johnson with a driverless Waymo vehicle. (credit: Joel Johnson)

Waymo has long kept details about its industry-leading self-driving technology under wraps. The company has done millions of miles of testing in Arizona and California—including thousands of driverless miles with no one behind the wheel. But until last month, almost everyone who experienced those driverless rides was bound by a strict non-disclosure agreement.

In October, Waymo finally pulled back the curtain on its driverless technology. Today customers near the Phoenix suburb of Chandler can hail a fully driverless taxi. They can record rides, publish videos, and talk to reporters about their experiences.

One young Arizonan in particular has leapt at the chance to document the real-world performance of Waymo's driverless taxis. Joel Johnson is an Arizona State University student who is taking a break from college during the pandemic. He lives near Waymo's service territory and has been using some of his free time to put Waymo's driverless taxis through their paces. He says he has taken more than 60 driverless rides in the two months since Waymo opened driverless service up to the public. He has posted more than a dozen videos.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Chandler, Joel Johnson, self driving cars, Tesla, waymo, Waymo One | Comments (0)

Cop arrests apparently sleeping Tesla driver going 93mph

September 18th, 2020
Frankfurt, Germany - July 12, 2016: Tesla Model S luxury electric sedan.

Enlarge / Frankfurt, Germany - July 12, 2016: Tesla Model S luxury electric sedan. (credit: typhoonski / Getty)

Police in Alberta, Canada, arrested a driver in July who was going 140km/h (87mph) in a Tesla Model S. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced the arrest yesterday.

The officer reported seeing "both front seats completely reclined and both occupants appearing to be asleep." The car "appeared to be self-driving," the RCMP says. When the officer turned on his emergency lights, the vehicle sped up to 150km/h (93mph).

Eventually, the RCMP pulled over the 20-year-old driver and charged him with speeding. They later added a dangerous driving charge.

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Posted in Alberta, autopilot, cars, rcmp, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla’s slow self-driving progress continues with green light warning

August 31st, 2020
High-end automobile infotainment system.

Enlarge / The interior of a Tesla Model X at the Brussels Expo in January 2020. (credit: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images)

Tesla has released a new version of its Autopilot software that adds the ability to read speed limit signs, improving the accuracy of the speed limits displayed on the dashboard. The new version of the software also recognizes when a stoplight turns green. The car will notify the driver but won't start moving on its own.

Tesla first added the ability to spot stoplights and stop signs back in April. The initial version of the stoplight feature would slow down for a stoplight whether it was red or green. The driver had to signal the car to proceed through the intersection if the light was green—otherwise, the car would stop.

The first version of Autopilot, which was based on technology from Mobileye, included the ability to recognize speed limit signs. But Tesla split with Mobileye in 2016 and began building more of its Autopilot technology in-house. As a result, prior to the latest software update, newer Tesla vehicles displayed speed limits based on a GPS-based database of roadway speed limits.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla with Autopilot hits cop car—driver admits he was watching a movie

August 27th, 2020
A law enforcement vehicle damaged in Wednesday's crash.

Enlarge / A law enforcement vehicle damaged in Wednesday's crash. (credit: North Carolina State Highway Patrol)

Police in North Carolina have filed charges against a driver whose Tesla crashed into a police car early Wednesday morning, Raleigh's CBS 17 television reports. The driver admitted to officers that he had activated the Autopilot technology on his Model S and was watching a movie on his phone at the time of the crash.

"A Nash County deputy and a trooper with the Highway Patrol were on the side of the road while responding to a previous crash when the Tesla slammed into the deputy’s cruiser," CBS 17 reports. "The impact sent the deputy’s cruiser into the trooper’s vehicle—which pushed the trooper and deputy to the ground."

Thankfully, no one was seriously injured by the crash.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Tesla | Comments (0)

Tesla driver blames Autopilot for crash, faces negligent driving charge

July 1st, 2020
A red sedan cruises down a tree-lined highway.

Enlarge / Tesla Model S driving on the freeway in Silicon Valley. (credit: Andrei Stanescu / Getty Images)

A Massachusetts man is facing a negligent-driving charge after his Tesla slammed into a police car that was parked by the side of the road. According to a state trooper, the man had Tesla's Autopilot technology turned on and said that he "must not have been paying attention." The crash occurred in December, but the defendant, Nicholas Ciarlone, was only recently charged in the incident.

NBC Channel 10 in Boston reports that the police car was parked on the left-hand side of Route 24, a divided highway in West Bridgewater, a town about an hour south of Boston. The state trooper had just pulled over college student Maria Smith and was asking for her registration paperwork when the Tesla slammed into his SUV.

This caused a pileup, with the police car crashing into the student's vehicle. The trooper was knocked back against the concrete barrier at the side of the road but was not seriously injured. Smith said she got glass in her hair when the back window shattered. And Smith told NBC 10 that the officer easily could have sustained more serious injuries.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, Tesla | Comments (0)

NTSB blasts Tesla, CalTrans, and NHTSA for Autopilot death

February 26th, 2020
NTSB blasts Tesla, CalTrans, and NHTSA for Autopilot death


On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board met to discuss its investigation into the March 2018 crash that killed Tesla owner Walter Huang. The hearing followed a recent release of a trove of documents related to the investigation, which revealed that Huang had in the past repeatedly experienced the same glitch that caused his Tesla Model X to veer out of its lane and into a concrete highway gore, as well as the fact that he was playing a game called Three Kingdoms on his iPhone in the minutes leading up to his death.

During the hearing, the NTSB was highly critical of Tesla for what it sees as misleading marketing of its driver assistance system and a lax attitude toward the system's operational design domain. But there was plenty of blame to share—the board also excoriated the National Highway Transportation Agency for providing utterly ineffectual oversight when it comes to so-called "level 2" driver assists, as well as California's highway agency CalTrans, which failed to replace a damaged crash attenuator in front of the concrete gore, which would in most likelihood have saved Huang's life.

"This tragic crash clearly demonstrates the limitations of advanced driver assistance systems available to consumers today. There is not a vehicle currently available to US consumers that is self-driving. Period. Every vehicle sold to US consumers still requires the driver to be actively engaged in the driving task, even when advanced driver assistance systems are activated. If you are selling a car with an advanced driver assistance system, you’re not selling a self-driving car. If you are driving a car with an advanced driver assistance system, you don’t own a self-driving car," said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt.

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Posted in autopilot, CalTrans, cars, NHTSA, ntsb, Tesla | Comments (0)

Data shows Tesla owner experienced same glitch days before deadly 2018 crash

February 17th, 2020
A crashed sedan has been torn in half.

Enlarge / Walter Huang's Model X in a tow yard days after his fatal crash. (credit: NTSB)

On March 23, 2018, a glitch in Tesla's Autopilot technology contributed to the death of Walter Huang in Mountain View, California. As Huang's Model X approached a left exit on US Highway 101, the software apparently got the lane lines mixed up. The car steered to the left, putting itself in the space between the diverging lanes. Seconds later, it crashed into a concrete lane divider at 70 miles per hour. Huang was taken to the hospital but died soon afterwards.

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board released dozens of new documents that provide a detailed understanding of the circumstances of Huang's death. The documents confirm a claim by Walter Huang's family that he had experienced this particular glitch, in this particular spot, multiple times prior to his fatal crash. He complained to family and friends about the issue. However, the NTSB was not able to confirm another key claim: that Huang reported the issue to Tesla.

Forensic data also suggests one reason Huang might not have been paying attention to the road in the final seconds before his death: he was in the habit of playing a game called Three Kingdoms in his car while driving to work. Logs from his Apple-provided iPhone showed that he used the app during his morning commute every day the week of his fatal Friday crash. However, those logs don't provide enough information to say if he was interacting with the game in the final seconds before his death.

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Posted in autopilot, cars, model x, Tesla, Walter Huang | Comments (0)

“I was just shaking”—new documents reveal details of fatal Tesla crash

February 15th, 2020
The trailer sheared off the roof of Jeremy Banner's car, killing him instantly.

Enlarge / The trailer sheared off the roof of Jeremy Banner's car, killing him instantly.

"It really looked like I had plenty of time to go across," an anguished Florida truck driver said in an interview transcript released by the National Transportation Safety Board this week. Unfortunately, he was wrong.

Richard Wood was driving a semi truck on the morning of Friday, March 1, 2019. He pulled onto Florida's SR 7 from a driveway, intending to make a left turn. But as he crossed to the opposite lane, a Tesla Model 3 belonging to Jeremy Banner crashed into the side of the truck. Banner's Tesla went under Wood's trailer, shearing off the roof and killing Banner.

The case attracted wide attention because Banner had engaged Tesla's Autopilot technology. Not only that, the circumstances of Banner's death were almost identical to the first Autopilot-related death in the United States: the death of Josh Brown in 2016. Brown was also killed when Autopilot failed to stop for a semi truck crossing in front of him on a Florida highway.

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Posted in ADAS, autopilot, cars, Jeremy Banner, Super Cruise, Tesla | Comments (0)

Customers rave about Model 3 in new Bloomberg survey

November 5th, 2019
A truck full of Model 3 cars.

Enlarge / A truck full of Model 3 cars. (credit: Andrei Stanescu / Getty)

An impressive 99.6% of Tesla Model 3 customers describe the vehicle as a pleasure to drive, Bloomberg reports in a new survey. The first three installments of Bloomberg's four-part survey have been published in recent days.

Bloomberg talked to almost 5,000 customers about their experiences owning the Model 3. Many customers reported having specific problems with their cars—minor manufacturing defects, long wait times for repairs, mistakes by Tesla's Autopilot software.

Some of these problems related to the ramp-up of Model 3 production over the last two years. In 2018, Tesla struggled to manufacture the Model 3 in volume and without defects. More recently, the company has struggling to provide timely service as the number of Tesla cars on the road swelled.

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Posted in autopilot, Bloomberg, cars, surveys, Tesla | Comments (0)