New Autopilot Would Have Prevented Model S Death
Tesla believes that their new Autopilot upgrades would have prevented the first and only Model S death. Several hundred upgrades have been implemented, ranging from very minor to significant. For some, Tesla’s explanation of the nuances of Autopilot may be like reading from a science textbook for the first time. Elon Musk sat down with several press members to answer questions. Here are a few snippets from that conference (with Elon’s responses in quotations):
Would have the improvements in Autopilot 8 mitigated or saved Josh Brown’s life?
“We believe it would have.”
So the truck would have been seen by the radar only and braking would have been engaged?
“These things cannot be said with absolute certainty, but we believe it is very likely that yes, it would have.”
Can you tell me how big of a magnitude of improvement this will be?
“I would imagine that the improvements, radar and others, probably cuts the accident rates more than in half…I think it will make the Model S and the Model X by far the safest cars on the road…And it’s important to note that it will improve over time due to fleet learning. We would expect a steady improvement over time.”
Using Radar to Advance Autopilot Function
Tesla added radar to its vehicles in 2014 as a supplementary sensor. After some consideration and analysis of data, they now believe it can be used as a primary control sensor. Though radar often cannot distinguish between solid and hollow objects, Tesla has been gathering information from drivers. For example, if a hundred drivers pass through a layered area with no problem, then it is safe to assume that the objects can be ignored by the radar. This fine programming is advancing Autopilot quickly and efficiently and illustrates the need for public beta testing. If Tesla were to continue testing privately, this data would have taken at least a decade to collect and required a very large cash flow. Even so, hundreds of refinements would still have been necessary.
We look forward to seeing the new Autopilot software in action and hope for the best!