Well, That Escalated Quickly Edition

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October 21, 2016

Well, That Escalated Quickly Edition


Well, That Escalated Quickly Edition

Autonomous vehicles are the automotive news rage these days. Case in point:

These three articles covering self-driving tech, just this week.

The first is this: http://www.autoblog.com/2016/10/19/tesla-level-5-autonomous-driving-hardware-standard/. Straight forward and rather ambitious, I think. Tesla is equipping all its new models with Level 5, fully autonomous, hardware. Tesla also announced that it will be at Level 5 operational three years ahead of schedule—hence the inclusion of the hardware.

Said added hardware will cost $8000 per vehicle. And it isn’t operational yet. The plan is to begin wirelessly sending updates to the vehicles near the end of this year. Also, Tesla promised that the release won’t be until after millions of miles of road time, which means the programs and hardware will be learning how Tesla customers drive. Oh, it is also worth noting that the new hardware means Tesla drivers can’t use their Autopilot. In the short term that only means Tesla customers are paying for hardware they can’t use, but that’s none of my business I guess.

Tesla’s announcement is rather interesting given this: http://www.autoblog.com/2016/10/19/tesla-level-5-autonomous-driving-hardware-standard/. In California, regulators are being rather stringent regarding self-driving car testing and tech with the new regulations released Wednesday. And Google and the automakers are a bit put out by it. According to the article, California is mandating compliance with regulations that the federal government suggested be voluntary. But California is also requiring a data recorder, and a 12-month delay to release a tested vehicle to the public. I can’t believe I am writing this, but California has it right. If the tech is so great, it won’t go anywhere and complying with safety regulations is only going to benefit the people the tech is supposed to save. Moreover, let’s be honest, automakers will cut corners if they can. And the tougher regulations will hopefully prevent that.

And lastly this: http://gizmodo.com/elon-musk-blasts-critical-coverage-of-self-driving-cars-1788000412. Circling back to Tesla, Elon Musk chided the press for reporting on accidents and fatalities involving self-driving tech going so far as to blame journalists for the deaths of people involved in car accidents. Why, might you ask?  Because reporting that the tech isn’t perfect will keep people from it, thereby causing accidents and deaths. Shame on journalists. I think, that is a bit of a stretch. Basically, Mr. Musk wants us to only focus on the positive news and act as his PR firm.

I don’t know why but I feel like we are just escalating so quickly and rushing for this technology. But what do you think?  How comfortable are you with autonomous tech? Do you think that California has it right in keeping tight control over the research?

Post your comments on Twitter @Laurenfix




Final Thought:

Here is a little a bit of nostalgia for all of us: http://autoweek.com/article/racing/watch-group-b-rally-cars-dance-slow-motion

Post your comments on Twitter @Laurenfix

Love Your Car! See you next week!

–Lauren Fix

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