The Name Game Edition

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July 15, 2016


The Name Game Edition


The Name Game Edition

What’s in a name? Quite a lot actually, which is why Consumer Reports wants Tesla to disable Autopilot and stop calling it Autopilot.

Tesla has maintained that the program is safe, will not be disabled, or renamed. I agree with Consumer Reports. Until it is road ready, I think Tesla should disable Autopilot and also change the name. Not all of the blame resides on Tesla, though. Tesla is pretty forthright about the program being in Beta, which means testing. As in not quite ready, as in bugs still being worked out. Of course, that knowledge aside, Autopilot is a bit of a misnomer because it implies the program is in total control. Here is a list of possible names to avoid confusion:

SemiAutoPilot. Semi is a Latinate word that means partly or half. Sort of like almost. If Tesla called its program Semiautopilot maybe people would realize that it isn’t capable of piloting the car all by itself. Since it is semi- and not auto- drivers need to remember to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.

MicromanagedPilot. This name could work because you can’t be fully disengaged from driving even though you’ve delegated the task to the Tesla program. Whether you are in management or a worker, we’ve all seen that employee. For all I know, you may be him or her. At any rate, you have to maintain a hands on approach with that employee. Just like you do with Micromangedpilot. Keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. 

ThinkFastPilot. Tesla promises that while its Autopilot will relieve drivers of the most boring part of driving, a driver must be prepared to take over the control of the vehicle on a moment’s notice. Like that game we used to play as kids, right? Toss a ball or something and say “think fast” and watch them catch or not catch the item. If Tesla called the program Thinkfastpilot, maybe owners would remember to stay focused on driving since they never know when they might have to take over the controls.

AlmostHalPilot. If you’ve ever seen 2001: Space Odyssey, you know where I am going with this. I am not saying your Tesla will become sentient and try to kill you, then bargain with you and sing you a song. I am saying that if Tesla called the program AlmostHalpilot drivers would remember to keep an eye on the pilot, and maintain control of the vehicle and be prepared to take over form the pilot when it is necessary.

RoadHouseBluesPilot: You know The Doors song.  Come on, sing along with me. “Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.  Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel.”

HalfAssedPilot: Let’s face it, it looks as though Tesla’s Autopilot is doing a half assed job at being an autopilot. 

What do you think Tesla should call its autonomous program?

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Final Thought:

With all of the chaos in this country, it’s good to know people have priorities. Like playing Pokémon Go. While driving.

The only thing this Pokémon hunter found was a tree. Luckily, the driver was unhurt, though the car was damaged badly. I wonder if his car was a Tesla and had Autopilot engaged if the tree could have been avoided. PokéPilot: You know, use autopilot to drive while the driver looks for…never mind, bad idea.

Folks, I am pretty sure we are witnessing the end of sentient life. I’m not even going to dignify this with a don’t play Pokémon Go and drive.

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Love Your Car! See you next week!

–Lauren Fix

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