As Tesla opens FSD beta software to more car owners, regulators, legislators and critics have widely questioned its safety.
2 musk has always promised to expand the testing scope of FSD software for many years, but he has reneged on his promise many times. Even he himself is confused about what functions should be included in automatic driving.
3. All new Tesla cars are equipped with sensors and cameras required to support automatic driving function, including its latest FSD urban driving capability.
4 Musk’s confidence in this technology seems to be declining recently, and admits that drivers may blindly trust Tesla’s semi-automatic driving ability.
Legislators have called for stricter federal standards to regulate automatic driving functions, including collision avoidance and driver assistance.
Tencent technology news on September 27, more advanced automatic driving functions are entering cities across the United States. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has promised car owners that people with a good driving record can apply to participate in the testing of the company’s “full automatic driving” (FSD) beta software. This function extends the highway navigation software driven by artificial intelligence (AI) to be used not only on highways, but also in urban environments. However, many regulators believe that Tesla should suspend the introduction of more automatic driving functions until the current safety problems are solved.
Jennifer homendy, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said after musk posted an update on FSD: “Tesla must first solve the basic safety problems before it can expand FSD to other urban streets and other areas.” it is worth mentioning that Tesla owners are very frustrated, Musk has been committed to expanding the scope of FSD promotion and testing for many years, and has continuously postponed the date of providing this function to anyone willing to pay for upgrading to Tesla’s standard driver assistance driving technology autopilot.
Regulators are also dissatisfied with the way Tesla releases autonomous driving technology. In August this year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) under the U.S. Department of transportation announced that it would investigate the safety of Tesla autopilot. US senators ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal also accused the company of distorting the quality of its autopilot and FSD technology and urged the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate.
Musk is confused about what abilities are included in automatic driving
In response to regulators’ concern that Tesla did not ensure that drivers using automatic driving function paid enough attention to the road, musk sent a document last week that drivers who want the latest update must open Tesla’s driver behavior tracking tool used to calculate insurance rates. Musk said that this function will tell Tesla owners to pay attention to driving behavior in real time and “what actions need to be taken to be rated as a ‘good driver’. Only drivers with a good driving record for at least 7 days can use the new FSD software.
Just a few months before musk announced the FSD update, NTSB and NHTSA were investigating whether autopilot caused a car accident in Texas in April, which killed two people. NTSB later found that although it was initially suspected that the driver’s seat was empty, the driver did sit in the front row before the crash. In May this year, California Highway Patrol arrested a man who was sitting in the back Later that month, the California motor vehicle administration (DMV) announced that it would review whether Tesla misled consumers in the promotion of FSD technology.
These events highlight the continuing confusion of the risk of Tesla’s automatic driving capability and how people use these capabilities. All the new cars in Tesla are equipped with the sensors and cameras that the company calls for supporting the automatic driving function, including its latest FSD city driving capability, though this technology may be used on Waymo’s auto driving car. The more complex settings you see are not exactly the same.
Although autopilot is currently standard on all Tesla cars, drivers can purchase complete FSD functions as software upgrades. As early as July this year, new street research, a science and technology research institution, estimated that about 360000 users have paid for FSD software. Some of them paid a one-time fixed fee of $10000, and some paid a subscription of $199 a month 。
Musk and Tesla don’t even know what abilities should be included in the automatic driving function. According to the public record report released in May, even Tesla representatives believe that musk has always exaggerated Tesla’s automatic driving ability. Musk has previously said that he is confident that Tesla will achieve full automatic driving by the end of this year. In the past In the past five years, he has made similar statements several times. However, in recent weeks, Musk’s confidence in this technology seems to be declining, and admits that drivers may blindly trust Tesla’s semi-automatic driving ability.
Continuing concern about the safety of Tesla’s automatic driving technology highlights the fact that legislators and regulators are working hard to keep pace with the progress of automatic driving technology. These technologies are emerging in cars that are not fully automated. Although the states in the United States have formulated their own rules for the testing of autopilot cars, the federal testing standard for commercial vehicles is developed by NHTSA. The automatic driving vehicle can also exempt a specific number of vehicles from observing these standards.
However, there is still a persistent debate on how the government should deal with the increasing automatic driving functions in cars. Some members of Congress have been pushing the Department of transportation to take more actions and pass new proposed legislation. Members are expanding the functions of the Department of transportation in order to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of new functions, such as pedestrian avoidance and driver monitoring. In May this year, representative Bobby rush put forward a new proposal, which will force traffic regulators to study anti-collision technology and urge companies with advanced driver assisted driving technology to truly supervise the behavior of drivers.
However, as long as car companies like Tesla continue to introduce new and more automatic driving functions, and there are no clear regulatory standards, people will drive in a potentially dangerous gray area.
The actual ability of autopilot is inconsistent with Musk’s propaganda
Although fully automated vehicles that do not require human operation are still being developed, many semi-automatic driving functions have been available in vehicles on the road. These tools use different types of sensors to observe what happens on the road, and then use complex computing power to make decisions for the vehicle.
The transition to fully automatic driving vehicles is not achieved overnight. This is gradually happening with the introduction of auxiliary functions that require drivers to do less and less. NHTSA divides automatic driving into six levels, of which l0 level does not have any automatic driving ability, while L5 level can fully automatic driving without driver intervention.
Previous surveys showed that the automation systems of Tesla, Mercedes, general motors and Volvo belong to L2, which means that their cars can independently control the steering wheel and speed on well marked highways, but still need driver supervision. In contrast, Honda cars equipped with ‘sensing’ package technology only belong to the L1 level. These technologies include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance and emergency brake detection.
Clarifying and implementing the boundaries between these different levels of autonomous driving functions has proved to be quite complex, which may lead to people’s wrong estimation of the capabilities of these vehicles. Tesla autopilot is particularly confusing. Autopilot combines cruise control function with automatic steering function to allow the car to drive automatically in a given lane. A document recently released by the California motor vehicle administration shows that there is a gap between Musk’s publicly declared capability and autopilot’s actual capability.
The California motor vehicle administration said that Tesla autopilot’s automatic driving level is currently at L2 level. But since at least 2016, musk has been advocating that every new Tesla model can drive automatically. However, even Tesla executives privately said that Musk’s statement about Tesla autopilot and FSD software was inconsistent with the engineering reality.
Autopilot currently requires drivers to concentrate and put their hands on the steering wheel. But many drivers may end up relying too much on this technology. It seems that some people have come up with ways to avoid Tesla related safety functions. In addition to many videos showing people sitting in the back seat of Tesla cars and driving automatically, some people fell asleep on the steering wheel. It is estimated that autopilot has been activated. There are more and more crashes related to automatic driving. Just the same week musk announced to expand the scope of FSD test, it was reported that a woman in California let the car drive automatically when autopilot was activated, and she was arrested for drunk driving.
At the same time, Tesla continues to enhance autopilot’s autopilot capability. For example, by adding an automatic lane change function or updating to enable FSD to be used in cities. However, it is unclear whether autopilot or FSD beta software is completely safe. As of March this year, nhsta is investigating 23 crashes that may involve Tesla autopilot. Tesla dissolved its public relations department last year and did not respond to any requests for comment.
U.S. federal agencies such as NHTSA should take the lead in developing standards for evaluating autopilot functions. However, in April, senators Richard Blumenthal and ED Markey urged the agency to “develop recommendations for improving automatic driving and driver assistance systems” and “implement policy changes to prevent preventable deaths”. In addition, other members of Congress are also considering formulating new rules, such as expanding the number of automatic driving exemptions that nhsta can grant.
Even carmakers agree that nhsta can do more. The Alliance for automotive innovation, an industry organization representing automobile manufacturers such as Ford and general motors, said that forward collision warning, automatic braking and lane keeping assistance technologies need to be evaluated by regulators and incorporated into nhsta’s new vehicle rating system.
Lawmakers called for higher regulatory standards for autonomous driving
Legislators, safety advocates and even representatives of the industry are calling for stricter federal standards to manage automatic driving functions, including collision avoidance and driver assistance tools built into cars already on the road. The critics especially called on the US Department of transportation for more research. They said that the task is crucial before fully automated driving.
In May this year, Jason Levine, executive director of the center for auto safety, a non-profit organization focusing on vehicle safety, said: “before we develop automatic driving technology that can replace humans to do anything, now there is a real opportunity to introduce life-saving technology into vehicles that people are still driving.”
NHTSA has developed test protocols for certain functions, such as collision warning and automatic emergency braking. The agency also solicited public opinions on how to formulate safety rules for automatic driving vehicles. However, ensar becic, NTSB highway safety investigator, said that NHTSA has not formulated any national standards, such as how much impact avoidance and driver assistance functions should play.
Nevertheless, more and more cars are equipped with more and more automatic driving functions. As automobile manufacturers introduce more and more advanced driving and safety functions and gradually increase more automatic driving ability, nhsta recommends more and more such tools. But there are also growing concerns that the agency has not provided enough information on how these tools should actually work. Levin added: “carmakers are promoting their different versions of autonomous driving technology without any real supervision.”
Legislators now believe that NHTSA and the Department of transportation as a whole should play a role in more rigorous evaluation of autonomous driving technology. Last month, senators Markey, Blumenthal and Amy Klobuchar reintroduced the stay aware of everyone act, which will require the Department of transportation to investigate the impact of driver assistance tools such as Tesla autopilot on driver disengagement and distraction, and require companies to establish driver monitoring tools, To make sure they pay attention to the road.
Blumenthal said in an interview in May: “due to the slow action of NHTSA, car manufacturers are scrambling to install new automatic driving functions on cars. This bill and other congressional actions that put public and driver safety first are necessary.” he also urged us president Joe Biden to appoint the director of NHTSA as soon as possible “Ensure that China’s top vehicle safety agency has the leadership required when this new technology develops rapidly”.
Others also hope for a better system to monitor the deployment of these autopilot functions. Democratic representative rush from Illinois proposed a new proposal with Republican Senator Larry bucson last week to urge Transportation Secretary Pete buttigiig A study on the safety of collision avoidance and the performance of these systems in identifying pedestrians and cyclists of different colors were commissioned. A study by Georgia Institute of Technology found that the technology that can be used in autopilot could not accurately detect people with darker complexion before the introduction of the “Collision Avoidance System Assessment Act” bill.
Rush said earlier this year: “We certainly don’t want vehicles equipped with immature technology to appear on the streets and highways of our country, because they can’t guarantee equal protection for all Americans, all pedestrians and all riders. I’m worried that this technology can’t guarantee that I won’t be hurt by autonomous vehicles like people with darker or lighter skin color.” Levin added that rush’s proposal would force the agency to make such critical security information public.
In February this year, the chairman of the NTSB wrote to NHTSA urging the latter to set performance standards for collision avoidance functions such as vehicle detection and emergency braking. Will Wallace, safety policy manager of consumer report, said in May: “We know that developing new motor vehicle safety standards or revising old standards to keep pace with the times is very time-consuming and resource-consuming. NHTSA is a chronically underfunded agency, and it does not have enough resources to effectively protect the public. Congress has the responsibility to provide the agency with what it really needs.”
Due to the lack of detailed requirements for such automatic driving tools, the United States lags behind the new car rating systems in other parts of the world, including Japan, Australia and Europe. NTSB explained that the new car evaluation program in the United States does not rate these advanced technologies.
Whether it’s automatic braking or lane keeping assistance, it’s not to automate the operation without the driver’s attention. Again, it’s going to take years for the fully automatic driving vehicle to take place, and some people even think that this moment may never come. Nevertheless, these functions have laid the road for monitoring autopilot cars. It is important to understand how to monitor the characteristics of autopilot cars not only for cars that have already provided these functions, but also for building safety for the future.
At the same time, Tesla seems to be ready to take the lead and launch the latest version of FSD beta software in American cities. We don’t know how many drivers will eventually use it, but as more and more Tesla cars gradually approach to have automatic navigation capability, musk seems to dare to take the action taken by the regulatory authorities. (reviewed by Tencent technology / Jinlu)