Author Topic: Tesla Automated Car Fatality  (Read 2320 times)

Offline SGOS (OP)

Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« on: July 01, 2016, 09:41:15 AM »
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/this-fatality-could-slam-the-brakes-on-driverless-cars/
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Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, died in the accident May 7 in Williston, Florida. According to a Tesla statement issued Thursday, the cameras on Brown's Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky and didn't automatically activate its brakes. Brown didn't take control and activate the brakes either, Tesla said.

Obviously, this was going to happen.  I haven't been part of the debate or discussion.  I've just been waiting to see what happens.  But we knew this was inevitable.  While it doesn't necessarily disqualify automated cars, it does dull some of the glitter, and hopefully will lead to something positive.

I personally think Tesla may have been pushing the technology past its capabilities.  Yes, there were written warnings that the driver still had to pay attention (which is basically saying the driver still has to drive). 

I wouldn't have an automated car myself for personal safety reasons.  The fact is, I know that I can be distracted easy enough, and a driverless car that get's it right most of the time would be enough to cause me to pay less attention than I already do.

In the above incident, it sounds like the camera encountered sun glare.  I assume a driver would have seen the truck while the car's camera could not, but maybe not.  On a couple of  occasions, I've encountered the sun in my eyes with such intensity, that I was completely blind, and afraid to apply the brakes, because I couldn't even see behind me, and knowing the glare would be temporary, I drove blind for a couple seconds, well maybe a bit longer.

On one of those occasions I found myself driving straight into an evening sun in unusually heavy traffic.  While my blindness was intermittent, it came and went for an extended time.  Had I been able to see better I would have pulled over and stopped, but the flow of the traffic was so fast that glimpses of pull offs were too brief to react to.   After a minute or so, the traffic had slowed down and we came to an accident.  A friend of mine had been bike riding with his wife and three kids, and had gotten caught in the same blinding incident, and his youngest child had been hit and killed by another blinded driver.  They were doing CPR as I passed.  I watched a medic beating on this little kid, and thought, it looks like that kid might be dead, and what I'm seeing is the last of a "save a life panic" by a medic.

Well that issue aside, sometimes live drivers may encounter untenable conditions beyond their control with or without automation, so the jury is still out for myself, although I'm content to do my own driving for now.

Offline Shiranu

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2016, 10:25:01 AM »
I personally don't trust a computer over my own instinct when driving...
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." - Nelson Mandela

"There are not two sides to bigotry and there are not two sides to hatred." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2016, 10:37:24 AM »
While I don't think fully autonomous driving is a fully matured technology at this point in time it is probably statistically safer than people. I'm surprised to hear the Teslas rely on cameras though. I'd think radar or laser range detection would be more reliable.
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2016, 10:40:07 AM »
I personally don't trust a computer over my own instinct when driving...

It isn't the computer, Shir. Computers can react much faster and with greater precision than you ever will. It's the sensors as demonstrated by this accident. Even then in most circumstances the sensors are going to be more accurate than your eyes.
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


Offline SGOS (OP)

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2016, 11:51:35 AM »
While I don't think fully autonomous driving is a fully matured technology at this point in time it is probably statistically safer than people. I'm surprised to hear the Teslas rely on cameras though. I'd think radar or laser range detection would be more reliable.

That surprised me too.

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2016, 12:08:26 PM »
While I don't think fully autonomous driving is a fully matured technology at this point in time it is probably statistically safer than people. I'm surprised to hear the Teslas rely on cameras though. I'd think radar or laser range detection would be more reliable.

Agreed. Laser and radar technology makes much more sense, including the fact they work in low visibility situations. And its not fully mature, but  remember not long ago that building a self driving car looked like a stack of file cabinets on a chassis. We have come a long way. Self driving cars are in our future.

Offline Shiranu

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2016, 12:29:38 PM »
It isn't the computer, Shir. Computers can react much faster and with greater precision than you ever will. It's the sensors as demonstrated by this accident. Even then in most circumstances the sensors are going to be more accurate than your eyes.

I should rephrase; I trust my instinct and thinking ahead more than machinery reacting to their surrounding... even if they are statistically safer. Right now I'm sitting on zero accidents to the automated's one, so I like my odds.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." - Nelson Mandela

"There are not two sides to bigotry and there are not two sides to hatred." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2016, 01:00:39 PM »
I should rephrase; I trust my instinct and thinking ahead more than machinery reacting to their surrounding...

I don't. In fact I probably trust your instinct and thinking ahead behind the wheel less than you trust mine to carry a loaded handgun around on my hip. Statistically people carrying guns in public are less of a risk to others than drivers.

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even if they are statistically safer. Right now I'm sitting on zero accidents to the automated's one, so I like my odds.

You've got what, maybe a hundred thousand miles or so behind the wheel? Automated cars are in the millions now. Unlike you they don't get tired, distracted or pissed off. How many of your peers have zero accidents? Odds are you'll be involved in an accident before it is all over. Even if you aren't you'll be the exception not the rule.

Frankly I'm looking forward to 2022 when all new cars sold in the US will be equipped with collision avoidance. That's not going to stop those cars from being involved in accidents, but most of them that are will involve cars that aren't equipped with that technology.
Save a life. Adopt a Greyhound.


Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2016, 01:30:42 PM »
I should rephrase; I trust my instinct and thinking ahead more than machinery reacting to their surrounding... even if they are statistically safer. Right now I'm sitting on zero accidents to the automated's one, so I like my odds.
Judging from myself and others' clearly imperfect driving records, I side with the machines.  Driverless cars, unlike people, don't drive drunk or drowsy or distracted.  They don't lose focus or have regrettably slow reaction times.  They don't space out during a 6-hour drive or freak out while driving during stormy weather.

While the technology is there to make driverless cars a reality, its implementation is not perfect and these sorts of incidents are bound to happen.  We may have to go through a transitional period where human drivers still have to occasionally take manual control.  Eventually, that'd be phased out as the implementation improves.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2016, 01:32:16 PM by Hydra009 »

Offline Shiranu

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2016, 02:01:47 PM »
I guess it's just an ideology thing for me, I feel like the conservative gun nut...  The only reason i want it is because of a romanticized and very American idea of driving.
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion..." - Nelson Mandela

"There are not two sides to bigotry and there are not two sides to hatred." - Arnold Schwarzenegger

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2016, 03:27:38 PM »
I probably log as many if not more miles per year of anyone on the forum, because I will in the course of a year take 3-4 600-1,000 mile trips and many shorter trips of 200 miles or more. As an older driver I am concerned about being too old and not have the reaction time I used to have. But I have developed skills to compensate where needed, and still have good reaction time and judgment. I have been in 4 accidents as a driver in my life, all fender benders. 3 out of 4 were the other driver's fault.

Autonomous or self driving cars eliminate a lot of human problems including bad judgment and slow reaction and also has the ability to watch your blind side, which is a biggie with me. As Pappy mentioned, sensors and autonomous instruments have much greater reaction time than humans.

I almost got nailed earlier today by an old woman in a Toyota at a roundabout who completely disregarded a yield sign. It is people like her that create the necessity of automated cars.

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2016, 08:11:27 PM »
He seemed liked a pretty nice guy.  From his videos you can see the limitations that this car still has though.  Can't take sharp turns, needs very defined road markings and you are still suppose to keep your hands near the wheel at all times.

I think he was in a tough position where he is logging millions of miles in a self driving car and gets accustomed to it's consistency but are still suppose to be in control of the manual controls at all times and he relaxed more than a normal driver would.

I hope one day we can all be safer in cars that are self driving.
Please don't take anything I say seriously.

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2016, 09:03:19 PM »
While I don't think fully autonomous driving is a fully matured technology at this point in time it is probably statistically safer than people. I'm surprised to hear the Teslas rely on cameras though. I'd think radar or laser range detection would be more reliable.
This. Its not the least bit surprising to me that a self-driving vehicle caused a fatality. The bleeding edge is called the bleeding edge because sometimes it makes you bleed.

What is entirely surprising to me is that in this day and age a company could release a car that drives itself and makes certain decisions (apparently) based solely on optical camera data and have the balls to call it safe. We are living in a time where the limitations of optical camera lenses are well known and understood. We are also living in a time where technology already exists and is in use in the field which day in and day out reliably allows business jets and airliners the ability to not only 'see' through fog to the runway but also determine if the runway is clear or has another aircraft or ground vehicle sitting on it.

This accident was not only completely predictable but also ENTIRELY avoidable without any need to develop technology that does not yet exist.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2016, 09:27:47 PM »
I should rephrase; I trust my instinct and thinking ahead more than machinery reacting to their surrounding... even if they are statistically safer. Right now I'm sitting on zero accidents to the automated's one, so I like my odds.
Understandable and normal to trust your instinct more. But that doesn't mean trusting your instincts is always the best choice when it comest to this kind of stuff. Because it isn't just statistics that prove computers are more skilled at performing certain driving tasks. Its cold hard test results.

You absolutely positively cannot stop a non-ABS equipped vehicle in shorter (or even the same) distance as a properly functioning ABS equipped vehicle of similar weight and configuration. I used the qualifier 'properly functioning' which might give you an ah-ha moment, but don't get too excited. If the ABS system is not properly functioning, the most you will ever do is tie. You will still never beat it. I know there a people out there who believe they can beat an ABS system. Those people are wrong.

I read an article the other day about how we now have AI technology for fighter planes that can beat every single fighter pilot who goes up against it every single time. Its not matter of the AI being 'statistically' better. The AI wins every single time. These are guys who fly fighter combat missions for a living and know the aircraft inside and out. And in simulator fights against the AI, they lose every single time.

We are genetically wired to go with what we know. And although its not there yet, this technology will quickly surpass our own abilities. But years from now there will still be geezers who will swear they can drive better. And those geezers will be wrong.
Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false and by the rulers as useful

Offline SGOS (OP)

Re: Tesla Automated Car Fatality
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2016, 10:43:07 PM »

What is entirely surprising to me is that in this day and age a company could release a car that drives itself and makes certain decisions (apparently) based solely on optical camera data and have the balls to call it safe. We are living in a time where the limitations of optical camera lenses are well known and understood.


I'm thinking this must be a misprint or a journalistic error.  A camera can tell you something is there, but I would think you need more than an image to drive.  Estimating distance is also required, and I don't know how that can be done with just a camera.