First Tesla Autopilot Death

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Diadem
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Diadem » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:48 am UTC

Those pictures make it pretty clear that this was actually the truck driver's fault. The Tesla clearly had right of way. The truck should never should have attempted to cross that intersection when the road wasn't clear. The Tesla was going 74 in a 65 zone, so over the speed limit, but not so much that the truck driver would have been unable to anticipate.

Still of course you'd expect your autopilot software to save you in situations like this, but I think it's important to realise that this accident wasn't the fault of the autopilot in the normal sense in which that word is used.

I'm kind of confused why no one seems to care about this rather important bit of information. Tesla autopilot didn't cause a crash, it failed to avoid a crash caused by an unobservant truck driver.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:04 am UTC

DanD wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
The trouble with this thread's headline case is that it didn't know it couldn't see. Blindfold a human, and he knows not even to attempt to drive, probably, Similarly, set him on an unlit road at night with no headlights of his own and he shouldn't drive off into the dark without a great amount of trepidation about neither seeing nor being seen.


However, humans do routinely outdrive their headlights at night. In fact, low beam headlights only provide clear illumination out to about 160 feet. That's shorter than the stopping distance from 40mph (assuming average reflexes and brakes).

So yes, humans make some judgements well, but they're really stupid about others.

In many situations I prefer low beam at night. High beam gives perfect illumination at medium distance, but totally fucks your night vision for the long distance. Low beams give good light at short distance and reasonable view at long distance.
Then again, I have been walking the dog for years at nigh summer or winter in the Dutch countryside on non-illuminated roads with quite a bit of ambient light from greenhouses reflecting on the clouds and stars on cloudless nights. Night vision is mostly a trainable thing, like muscles and math skills.
(btw: I did bring a flashlight and wore a high viz neon yellow coat with retroreflective stripes. I'm not that kind of idiot. Just usually there was nobody on the road so I woudn't need the flashlight.)
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Trebla » Wed Jul 27, 2016 12:57 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Those pictures make it pretty clear that this was actually the truck driver's fault. The Tesla clearly had right of way. The truck should never should have attempted to cross that intersection when the road wasn't clear. The Tesla was going 74 in a 65 zone, so over the speed limit, but not so much that the truck driver would have been unable to anticipate.


Pretty sure that's just a picture of the intersection and is unrelated to the time of the accident... it's not clear to me how far away the Tesla was when the truck pulled out, but probably pretty far (truck drivers tend to be pretty cognizant of their slow speed). If the truck had just "shot out" (as best a semi can) then the autopilot system may have recognized it and probably prevented the accident.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:14 pm UTC

Diadem wrote:Those pictures make it pretty clear that this was actually the truck driver's fault. The Tesla clearly had right of way. The truck should never should have attempted to cross that intersection when the road wasn't clear. The Tesla was going 74 in a 65 zone, so over the speed limit, but not so much that the truck driver would have been unable to anticipate.
What is the point of speed limits if they are not stuck to? But I'm quite demonstrably a voice in the wilderness on that one, as any drive upon the motorway will demonstrate. And the number of people who don't seem to know the speed limits1+2 is remarkable. If police even do informally allow you 10% grace (as it is said, or 10mph, whichever is the lesser), that lets your speedo be a bit wrong. If it's actually so wrong (such that you are going 10% over the indicated speed, perhaps) then what's your defence when you're caught actually doing 21% over the limit?

That said, even if the lorry driver was able to judge that while he could clearly pull across a legally proceding vehicle, he'd be cutting it a bit fine if it was a speeding one, the big thing he (or she) probably couldn't be expected to consider was that said vehicle (or, in particular, the driver) would not be making its own assessment of the closing gap and perhaps easing off rather than just ploughing straight on.

In the future, there may be people causing accidents because they assume it perfectly safe to reprogram their vehicle to get a bit too close (or cross the road in a careless manner/etc) because the automatics of the other car will stave off accidents, only to find that its a rare example of a fallible human at the controls who does not have the reaction times. In this case, if any such assessment was even made, it was an assumption (if indeed an assumption of any kind can even be presumed!) biased against the possibility of a less than humanly-perfect system. There are worse negligences than that, even if it turned out to be a dire outcome.

Shared responsibility, perhaps, but just because the Tesla 'driver' came off worse, to the ultimate degree, there's no legal basis behind now transfering his hefty portion of responsibilities to the truck driver.


1 As a driver of several decades, I have of course broken the limit. In my reckless late-teenage years, mostly. But as also a cyclist of nearly two decades more, I have a healthy regard for the safety of other drivers and road users. I have had one endorsement of points upon my licence for speeding, and I really should have challenged that, as the relevent road signage was not actually clear. But I sucked it up, on principle, and took it as a refresher 'object lesson' in being even more aware of such things than I had been before.

2 UK car drivers: without even digging up the barely thumbed Highway Code that you doubtless have tucked away in a drawer, somewhere, totally ignoring the road conditions what is the legal limit, if any, past these signs?:
Spoiler:
Speed limit ends(0).jpg
I may have renamed the file...

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby sardia » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:33 pm UTC

The purpose of speed limits is to save gas first, and then save lives as a secondary.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby HES » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:42 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:If it's actually so wrong (such that you are going 10% over the indicated speed, perhaps) then what's your defence when you're caught actually doing 21% over the limit?

Generally it is wrong - but in the other direction. Vehicle manufacturers want to stay well clear of "I didn't know I was speeding" arguments.

In the future, there may be people causing accidents because they assume it perfectly safe to get a bit too close

People taking greater risks because of improved safety systems is a thing, yes. Perceived risk is an important factor for driver behaviour and it rarely aligns with actual risk.

2 UK car drivers: without even digging up the barely thumbed Highway Code that you doubtless have tucked away in a drawer, somewhere, totally ignoring the road conditions what is the legal limit, if any, past these signs?:

I won't answer because I'm a highway engineer and that would be cheating, but that is one of the top signs I would expect a competent driver to know - by which I mean "have learned", because most of the rest are self explanatory.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:51 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The purpose of speed limits is to save gas first, and then save lives as a secondary.

Some would also say that "generating revenue" fits into that. Not me, but I expect a suitable tirade against speed cameras to already be on somebody else's lips. (Personally I'd be happy to have hidden speed cameras, or else many many more dummy ones in their flourescent yellow.)

But it matters not. There's a speed limit (or, rather, various speed limits according to class of road, class of vehicle and/or locality-decided restrictions) and it is neither a 'suggested minimum' nor even (as I sometimes err towards) something to aim for, regardless of what adversity of conditions there might be. And those that say "well, it's supposed to be 70, but everybody drives at 80 so we might as well make it 80" then lead into a scenario where under an 80 limit 'everybody' would be driving at 90, which naturally ought to mean another adjustment and hyperadjustment...

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Jul 27, 2016 1:56 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:2 UK car drivers: without even digging up the barely thumbed Highway Code that you doubtless have tucked away in a drawer, somewhere, totally ignoring the road conditions what is the legal limit, if any, past these signs?:
Spoiler:
Image

Not an UK driver, but visually similar to a Dutch sign:
Spoiler:
In the Netherlands that would mean: end of specific speed limits. The general limits would still apply. This is not in a town and not an interstate so the max speed would be 80 km/h, except that there is a little (hardly ever enforced) bit about it being illegal to drive dangerously. Seeing the weather and road conditions, especially the road width is low, the actual speed limit would be much lower. I think about 50 km/h would be a reasonable maximum, but I'd have to drive it to see for sure.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:16 pm UTC

HES wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:If it's actually so wrong (such that you are going 10% over the indicated speed, perhaps) then what's your defence when you're caught actually doing 21% over the limit?

Generally it is wrong - but in the other direction. Vehicle manufacturers want to stay well clear of "I didn't know I was speeding" arguments.
I'd expect that (error bar of zero 'reads too low' but a few percentage points "reads too high", by centring it on "a tad faster than actual") in a new vehicle, and I'm sure there's an MOT test item that would highlight anything severely out of kilter, but when do you actually assume your brand new car is turning into a clunker with a tardy indicator, wrongly inflated/replaced tyres and the torsion spring (if not electronic) wrongly stressed, or whatever?

I won't answer because I'm a highway engineer and that would be cheating, but that is one of the top signs I would expect a competent driver to know - by which I mean "have learned", because most of the rest are self explanatory.
Yes, but you do get people thinking into the mindset of thinking it means FOO1a instead of BAR1b, and even if you think BAR, it is proven that people forget that this doesn't mean BAZ1c. This is from observation and experience, but I'm sure it has been more rigorously studied as well by someone not a million miles from your own desk. ;)

By the way, keep up the good work. Except for anythingmyou do to make trunk-roads unfriendlymfor cyclists. But we're already well on that slippery slope, and I wouldn't blame you personally for it all.

@Neil: you pretty much have it (local shifts in values and units excepted, of course). Although being in the Netherlands I fully expect you to be a cyclist or at least, in your driving style, cyclist aware and possibly sympathetic to other road users. Unless things have changed vastly in the last 30 years. Not so guaranteed over here. (Yesterday evening I was putting up an official warning "cycle event" sign and a shout from a car speeding by called me a "fucking weirdo", presumably just from the sight of the bike symbol in the red triangle. (I don't dare suggest I'm not actually a weirdo, of whatever kind, but it would take more than a mere glance from a frame of refeence in relative motion to my own to establish such a fact.)


1
Spoiler:
a End Of Speed Limit
b National Speed Limit Applies
c "It's 70, right? Everywhere that doesn't have a number sign of some kind is 70, obviously. And everywhere with a number is that speed. Unless its on a repeater sign indicating both 40 and that there are speed cameras, where I have to slow down to 30 because I'm just too freaking scared of speed cameras, even the ones with '40' posted on their cases... "

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby HES » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:38 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:when do you actually assume your brand new car is turning into a clunker with a tardy indicator

In theory, you drive to your speedometer and if it happens to be incorrect, that's where the 10%+2 buffer comes in. It's when you sneak into the buffer because you know it exists that the problem arises, at which point it is your fault and you are knowingly speeding.

By the way, keep up the good work. Except for anything you do to make trunk-roads unfriendly for cyclists. But we're already well on that slippery slope, and I wouldn't blame you personally for it all.

Oh, don't worry. I spend most of my time making drivers very unhappy to the benefit of cyclists.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:44 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:
Diadem wrote:Those pictures make it pretty clear that this was actually the truck driver's fault. The Tesla clearly had right of way. The truck should never should have attempted to cross that intersection when the road wasn't clear. The Tesla was going 74 in a 65 zone, so over the speed limit, but not so much that the truck driver would have been unable to anticipate.
What is the point of speed limits if they are not stuck to? But I'm quite demonstrably a voice in the wilderness on that one, as any drive upon the motorway will demonstrate. And the number of people who don't seem to know the speed limits1+2 is remarkable. If police even do informally allow you 10% grace (as it is said, or 10mph, whichever is the lesser), that lets your speedo be a bit wrong. If it's actually so wrong (such that you are going 10% over the indicated speed, perhaps) then what's your defence when you're caught actually doing 21% over the limit?


Nobody gives a crap about speed limits.

You take the ticket and move on with your life, and resume speeding shortly thereafter, while keeping that speed trap in mind. Or you make excuses and do the same. It matters little.

Soupspoon wrote:
sardia wrote:The purpose of speed limits is to save gas first, and then save lives as a secondary.

Some would also say that "generating revenue" fits into that. Not me, but I expect a suitable tirade against speed cameras to already be on somebody else's lips. (Personally I'd be happy to have hidden speed cameras, or else many many more dummy ones in their flourescent yellow.)


In the US, at least, it's a matter of historical record that the 55 mph speed limit was adopted for matters of gas conservation. It was passed as part of an Energy Conservation Act. Actual gas savings were somewhere between .2% and 1%, far below the projected savings, which indicates the exact regard which US drivers have for speed limits. Today, it's based on state and/or locality, mostly, but there's a lot of legacy 55mph stretches.

Soupspoon wrote:But it matters not. There's a speed limit (or, rather, various speed limits according to class of road, class of vehicle and/or locality-decided restrictions) and it is neither a 'suggested minimum' nor even (as I sometimes err towards) something to aim for, regardless of what adversity of conditions there might be. And those that say "well, it's supposed to be 70, but everybody drives at 80 so we might as well make it 80" then lead into a scenario where under an 80 limit 'everybody' would be driving at 90, which naturally ought to mean another adjustment and hyperadjustment...


No. Regardless of limit, people naturally drive certain ways in certain environments. You can put a 100 mph speed sign in a curvy residential district, but people won't, because it doesn't make sense. Likewise, notorious speed traps, like Podunk towns putting a ridiculously low speed limit on a wide, straight stretch of highway exploit the opposite tendency. People will routinely drive fast there because it feels like a road where it's safe to do so. They don't even look at the speed signs, mostly.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:54 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Soupspoon wrote:
Diadem wrote:Those pictures make it pretty clear that this was actually the truck driver's fault. The Tesla clearly had right of way. The truck should never should have attempted to cross that intersection when the road wasn't clear. The Tesla was going 74 in a 65 zone, so over the speed limit, but not so much that the truck driver would have been unable to anticipate.
What is the point of speed limits if they are not stuck to? But I'm quite demonstrably a voice in the wilderness on that one, as any drive upon the motorway will demonstrate. And the number of people who don't seem to know the speed limits1+2 is remarkable. If police even do informally allow you 10% grace (as it is said, or 10mph, whichever is the lesser), that lets your speedo be a bit wrong. If it's actually so wrong (such that you are going 10% over the indicated speed, perhaps) then what's your defence when you're caught actually doing 21% over the limit?


Nobody gives a crap about speed limits.

You take the ticket and move on with your life, and resume speeding shortly thereafter, while keeping that speed trap in mind. Or you make excuses and do the same. It matters little.


PSA: Except Virginia. IIRC over 20 mph in Virginia is reckless endangerment, which sends you to fucking jail. Don't speed in Virginia folks!
Last edited by KnightExemplar on Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:58 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 27, 2016 2:57 pm UTC

I'm aware. Everyone still speeds in Virginia.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby HES » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:04 pm UTC

And people wonder why road deaths are so high.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:05 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Nobody gives a crap about speed limits.
And that would be just one of the things that is wrong with the world, IMO. YMMV. (YSDV, obviously.)

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 27, 2016 3:50 pm UTC

Road deaths are high because people are controlling high speed vehicles, mostly without paying attention.

But, they're frequent and the per incident body count is usually small. This makes them not a problem for most. All part of the plan.

Most "solutions" for this are not actually meant to save lives. Automated traffic cameras, for instance. They're a money generator. It's pretty well known, but nobody's really that outraged over it. We expect our government to only care about money, and we expect to die in vast quantities on the freeway.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 27, 2016 4:15 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Most "solutions" for this are not actually meant to save lives. Automated traffic cameras, for instance. They're a money generator. It's pretty well known, but nobody's really that outraged over it. We expect our government to only care about money, and we expect to die in vast quantities on the freeway.


It seems like speed cameras do in fact save lives and prevent accidents.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0012902/

A reduction in the proportion of speeding vehicles (drivers) over the accepted posted speed limit, ranged from 8% to 70% with most countries reporting reductions in the 10 to 35% range.


So speed cameras DO cause people to stop speeding. Roughly 35% reduction in speeders.

Twenty eight studies measured the effect on crashes. All 28 studies found a lower number of crashes in the speed camera areas after implementation of the program. In the vicinity of camera sites, the reductions ranged from 8% to 49% for all crashes, with reductions for most studies in the 14% to 25% range.


With an associated estimate of ~20% fewer accidents.

For crashes resulting in death or serious injury reductions ranged from 17% to 58%


And with fewer people speeding, there were fewer deaths when crashes did occur.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby morriswalters » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:00 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The purpose of speed limits is to save gas first, and then save lives as a secondary.

That is so 80's.
Diadem wrote:Those pictures make it pretty clear that this was actually the truck driver's fault.
Who is at fault isn't the point, the accident was preventable.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:08 pm UTC

Meant. Red light cameras, same, same(with much worse results). Lots of laws save or cost lives incidentally, the point is that the average person doesn't really view driving fatality rates as a problem.

I also note that summarizing 10-35% as "roughly 35%" is not quite accurate.

I also note that reduced fatalities from traffic over time is normal, regardless of adoption of speed cameras, and that much of this is likely due to improved vehicle engineering, better trauma care, etc.

Places that have switched speed cameras off, such as Swindon, UK, are not experiencing a rise of deaths, after all. You can also look at US states that ban speed cameras, such as Minnesota, and they also have the generally falling trend. This is apparently not checked for in the metastudy you linked, which itself described it's data as "of moderate quality at best".

I mean, it's obvious that hitting the same obstacle at 60 mph is going to be generally more dangerous than striking it at 30 mph, but there appears to be a consistent effort to over-represent beneficial effects of laws that, coincidentally, make governments and enforcement agencies rather a lot of money.

Logically, if Tesla starts contributing a routine amount of money for each car in operation, it'll become wildly popular, and declared safe.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby elasto » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:11 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:Who is at fault isn't the point, the accident was preventable.

The ideal is that everyone practice defensive driving: ie. you don't simply trust that the other guy won't make a mistake, you drive such that, even if they do, everyone still comes out unscathed.

Defensive driving is something almost everyone fails at, because, for a start, almost noone keeps a safe stopping distance for their speed and road conditions.

Defensive driving can come naturally to self-driving cars however; They can know their own abilities intimately, and can always assume the worst of other road users.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:20 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Meant. Red light cameras, same, same(with much worse results). Lots of laws save or cost lives incidentally, the point is that the average person doesn't really view driving fatality rates as a problem.


Yeah, but you've got a significantly higher chance of dying in a car accident than to Terrorism or whatever. Its less about what people care about and more about what actually affects people the most.

I also note that summarizing 10-35% as "roughly 35%" is not quite accurate.


I derived the number by averaging the 8% and 70% number. But point, 22% reduction is still significant.

I also note that reduced fatalities from traffic over time is normal, regardless of adoption of speed cameras, and that much of this is likely due to improved vehicle engineering, better trauma care, etc.


That doesn't explain the drop in the frequency of accidents however.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Jul 27, 2016 5:32 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Meant. Red light cameras, same, same(with much worse results). Lots of laws save or cost lives incidentally, the point is that the average person doesn't really view driving fatality rates as a problem.


Yeah, but you've got a significantly higher chance of dying in a car accident than to Terrorism or whatever. Its less about what people care about and more about what actually affects people the most.


I want to nitpick about stuff like 8-70 not actually averaging out to 35 either, but I fear that'd be getting a little too far off track.

The point is, what people care about matters. Things like "the tesla driver was mildly speeding" are not going to be seen as significant factors in shifting blame, etc. Culturally, people will accept that as utterly normal use, laws be damned. Yeah, a lot more people die to cars than than to terrorism or whatever, but...people are still not afraid of cars. And quoting accident statistics at them isn't going to do a great deal to change that. Shit, laws don't change it all that much. It's just a form of death that doesn't really evoke fear.

But we're apparently at least a little afraid of robots driving us to our deaths. Not a *lot*, I think. Even the hyperbolic, unrealistic "robots will have to decide who to kill!" clickbait nonsense hasn't provoked much in the way of actual terror. It's more of an interesting topic. An excuse for philosophy folks to drag out old horses to beat to death again, in the futile hope of being relevant. But, technology doesn't actually scare the US consumer. They'll cheerfully buy the car with all the options, the smartphone with all the options, and use them at the same time. We like tech, and actively seek it out.

So, this is only really a story because it involves a thing we want. If we're being honest, if this story was about a mistake by a cab driver, it wouldn't even merit a mention outside of extremely local news. This won't make people NOT buy a robot car.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby LaserGuy » Wed Jul 27, 2016 7:57 pm UTC

Trebla wrote:
Diadem wrote:Those pictures make it pretty clear that this was actually the truck driver's fault. The Tesla clearly had right of way. The truck should never should have attempted to cross that intersection when the road wasn't clear. The Tesla was going 74 in a 65 zone, so over the speed limit, but not so much that the truck driver would have been unable to anticipate.


Pretty sure that's just a picture of the intersection and is unrelated to the time of the accident... it's not clear to me how far away the Tesla was when the truck pulled out, but probably pretty far (truck drivers tend to be pretty cognizant of their slow speed). If the truck had just "shot out" (as best a semi can) then the autopilot system may have recognized it and probably prevented the accident.


Doesn't really matter. Even if the Telsa was going much slower, the truck wouldn't have cleared the intersection in time.

Just some back of the envelope calculation here...
A quick Google search suggests loaded 18 wheeler can go from 0 to 60 in about 2 minutes. That works out to an average acceleration of 2 mile/minute^2 = 3 fps^2. An 18 wheeler is about 75 feet long. From the picture, it looks like the Telsa hit it about halfway down the trailer. Let's say that the truck had gone 40 feet, then. This works out to the truck having been in the intersection for just over 5 seconds. To clear the lane entirely, the truck would need to go its entire length, plus across 2 lanes of traffic, which is just about 100 feet, and would take it about 8 seconds.

Based on this...
In a 65 zone, the truck needed to leave at least 800 feet between it and any oncoming traffic to safely cross.
With cars actually going 75, the truck needed to leave at least 900 feet to safely cross.
Given that the truck only managed to travel for 5 seconds before being hit, that means it actually only left 500-600 feet. At this distance, any car going over 50 mph--15 below the limit--would have needed to brake to avoid a collision.

[edit]Fixed calculation error. Doesn't happen to change the final result by much.
Last edited by LaserGuy on Wed Jul 27, 2016 9:09 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby CelticNot » Wed Jul 27, 2016 8:56 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Just some back of the envelope calculation here...
... ... ...
Given that the truck only managed to travel for 7 seconds before being hit, that means it actually only left 700-800 feet. At this distance, any car going over 50 mph--15 below the limit--would have needed to brake to avoid a collision.


I can't say this surprises me much. Around here, at least, it's not uncommon for a truck driver to decide that keeping their schedule is worth the relatively small risk of someone not noticing the semi-trailer across the road and going anyway. Particularly if it's a busy highway... when an opening appears, no matter how small, they'll take it.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby commodorejohn » Wed Jul 27, 2016 10:46 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:At this distance, any car going over 50 mph--15 below the limit--would have needed to brake to avoid a collision.

Which, had the driver been paying attention, would've been exactly what happened.
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LaserGuy
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby LaserGuy » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:25 am UTC

commodorejohn wrote:
LaserGuy wrote:At this distance, any car going over 50 mph--15 below the limit--would have needed to brake to avoid a collision.


Which, had the driver been paying attention, would've been exactly what happened.


And had the truck driver been paying attention, he would have waited until it was safe to go since he didn't have the right of way.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby morriswalters » Thu Jul 28, 2016 8:59 am UTC

Who died,and who's at home drinking coffee?

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Neil_Boekend » Thu Jul 28, 2016 9:01 am UTC

"I had right of way" is a silly gravestone text.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby elasto » Thu Jul 28, 2016 10:38 am UTC

However, legally it matters a very great deal. He might be liable for a big civil payout or even jailtime.

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sardia
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby sardia » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:08 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:"I had right of way" is a silly gravestone text.

No dumber than I was distracted by xyz. That's how most people die in auto accidents.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby morriswalters » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:20 pm UTC

That's for the civil authorities to work out. But this type of thing is an everyday occurrence. I've had trucks and cars turn in front of me and force me to break more than once. So I doubt that there would be criminal liability. The spacing is a judgement call that depends on both drivers being aware. Possibly the driver could lose his CDL(Commercial Drivers License).

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby KnightExemplar » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:34 pm UTC

The general rule I go by is the asshole has the right of way. Its generally not worth it to challenge someone on the road.

Even a dumb biker who is performing aggressive maneuvers. I don't want to be the guy to accidentally kill them, so they have the right of way. Trucks: well I probably will die if I collide with one (especially at highway speeds). Soooo... Trucks have the right of way.

In any case, ~7 or 8 seconds is more than enough time to stop, especially if you're paying attention and see that the truck is beginning to pull into the highway.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Trebla » Thu Jul 28, 2016 3:03 pm UTC

LaserGuy wrote:
Doesn't really matter. Even if the Telsa was going much slower, the truck wouldn't have cleared the intersection in time.

Just some back of the envelope calculation here...
A quick Google search suggests loaded 18 wheeler can go from 0 to 60 in about 2 minutes. That works out to an average acceleration of 2 mile/minute^2 = 3 fps^2. An 18 wheeler is about 75 feet long. From the picture, it looks like the Telsa hit it about halfway down the trailer. Let's say that the truck had gone 40 feet, then. This works out to the truck having been in the intersection for just over 5 seconds. To clear the lane entirely, the truck would need to go its entire length, plus across 2 lanes of traffic, which is just about 100 feet, and would take it about 8 seconds.


Was the truck accelerating/moving in making the turn? In my experience (not as a truck driver, but seeing trucks crossing divided highways), they often pull out into the road when the road is completely clear in the lane they're crossing, but still need to wait for the other direction to clear enough for them to pull in.

I had been under the impression that this was the case... the truck entered the intersection and stopped. As far as the Tesla was concerned, it may as well have been a lightly painted wall that was there the entire time.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby sardia » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:38 pm UTC

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/busin ... f=business
Tesla blames the brakes system, but releases no details. I'm calling bullshit unless they can prove there were brake commands being sent while nothing happened.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Jul 31, 2016 5:40 am UTC

sardia wrote:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/30/business/tesla-faults-teslas-brakes-but-not-autopilot-in-fatal-crash.html?ref=business
Tesla blames the brakes system, but releases no details. I'm calling bullshit unless they can prove there were brake commands being sent while nothing happened.


It looks like Tesla playing technicalities. You see, Autopilot is purely steering-assist technology, I guess. It doesn't include brakes.

Its probably best if Tesla just admitted that their systems were at fault, and then didn't try to publicize the technicalities of "what is" and "what isn't" autopilot.

The company told the committee staff that it considered the braking systems as “separate and distinct” from Autopilot, which manages the car’s steering, and can change lanes and adjust travel speed, the staff member said.
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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby ucim » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:08 pm UTC

Thing is, using autopilot is optional. Using the brakes is mandatory.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby morriswalters » Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:52 pm UTC

You would expect Tesla to bob and weave. However according to Phys.org.
But in the May 7 crash that killed Joshua D. Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio, cameras in his Tesla Model S failed to distinguish the white side of a turning tractor-trailer from a brightly lit sky, and the car didn't automatically brake, the company has said. Signals from radar sensors also didn't stop the car, and Brown didn't take control either.
The brakes were never applied although acceleration ceased. The article goes on to say
Just after the crash was made public June 30, Musk gave an indication in a tweet that the radar was discounted in the Florida crash. His tweet, which since has been removed from Twitter, said that radar "tunes out" objects like an overhead road sign to avoid stopping the car for no reason. Experts say this means that the radar likely overlooked the tractor-trailer in the Florida crash.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby elasto » Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:57 am UTC

On Saturday, 7 May, Joshua Brown was driving his Tesla Model S on US 27 in northern Florida. He had the car’s Autopilot technology package switched on. A long, white articulated truck heading in the opposite direction suddenly turned left across the Tesla’s path, heading for a sideroad. Neither the car’s radar or computer-vision systems saw the truck and neither, it seems, did Mr Brown. The Tesla ploughed into – and under – the truck, continued off the road, hit a fence and an electric power pole before coming to a stop. Mr Brown died instantly in the crash.

The Tesla Autopilot is a “public beta” – that is to say it is not finished technology and is still in development, but is deemed good enough to be tried experimentally by many users. The manufacturer emphasises that its Model S “disables Autopilot by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled”. When drivers activate it, the acknowledgment box explains that the technology “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times” and that “you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it. In addition, every time that Autopilot is engaged, the car reminds the driver to “always keep your hands on the wheel. Be prepared to take over at any time.” It makes frequent checks to ensure that his or her hands remain on the wheel and provides visual and audible alerts if the driver’s hands are not detected. It then gradually slows the car until they are detected again.

In the US, about 33,000 people are killed in automobile accidents every year. That’s 90 a day on average. So on 7 May, about 89 other people as well as Joshua Brown were killed in car crashes. But we heard nothing about those 89 personal and family tragedies: the only death that most people in the US heard about was Mr Brown’s.

Why? Because he was driving (or perhaps not driving) a semi-autonomous vehicle. Writing from Detroit (coincidentally, the capital of the traditional gas-guzzling, emission-spewing automobile), two New York Times reporters wrote that “the race by automakers and technology firms to develop self-driving cars has been fuelled by the belief that computers can operate a vehicle more safely than human drivers. But that view is now in question after the revelation on Thursday that the driver of a Tesla Model S electric sedan was killed in an accident when the car was in self-driving mode.”

Really? With whom is the safety of self-driving cars in question? Not with anyone who knows the facts about the dangers of automobiles. According to the US National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, 94% of all accidents in the US are caused by driver (ie human) error. And as Tesla pointed out, there is a fatality every 94m miles in all vehicles in the US (the worldwide figure is about one fatality for every 60m miles driven). Joshua Brown’s death was the first known fatality in the 130m miles where Autopilot was activated in Tesla cars.

The point here is not that self-driving cars are clearly and unambiguously safer than human-driven ones, only that the data we have so far suggests that they might be. To be sure, as a Rand report argued, we would have to test-drive autonomous vehicles in real traffic, observe their performance and make statistical comparisons to human driver performance. This won’t be easy: “At a minimum,” says Rand, “fully autonomous vehicles would have to be driven hundreds of millions of miles and sometimes hundreds of billions of miles to demonstrate their safety in terms of fatalities and injuries.” And that could take decades, maybe even a century or two.

We clearly haven’t got that long. Even a decade means a further 330,000 avoidable deaths in the US and corresponding numbers in other countries. So at some point fairly soon, societies are going to have to decide what they want to do about automobile safety. It will come down, as these questions usually do, to a cost-benefit analysis: even if we cannot be absolutely sure that autonomous vehicles are safer (and in some cases, as in Joshua Brown’s terrible accident, they do make mistakes), do not the potential benefits outweigh the costs of the current carnage on our roads?

For that kind of discussion to be possible, however, mainstream media will have to change the way they report self-driving cars. Every time a Tesla or a Google car is involved in a crash, by all means report it. But also report all the “human error” crashes that occurred on the same day. It’s not rocket science, just balanced reporting.


Here here.

link

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby morriswalters » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:11 am UTC

I suspect at the turn of the century there were reports about every fatal crash. Cross country travel in a car in those days was front page news, in the days before paved roads. Millions of deaths later(that may be an exaggeration), we are still fine tuning the system.

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Re: First Tesla Autopilot Death

Postby Soupspoon » Thu Aug 04, 2016 2:36 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:I suspect at the turn of the century there were reports about every fatal crash. Cross country travel in a car in those days was front page news, in the days before paved roads. Millions of deaths later(that may be an exaggeration), we are still fine tuning the system.

In a few days time, it'll be the 120th anniversary of the first pedestrian automobile death in the UK (maybe the world, but I haven't found anything else in an all-too-brief search1) of Bridget Driscoll, by a vehicle doing an 'official' 4mph (but maybe twice as fast, if the engine/drive-belt had been tampered with by the driver!) at Crystal Palace.

Three years and a month later was the first US automobile/pedestrian casualty, of Henry Bliss in Ohio. It was an electric car! Ignore that gasoline-powered statitical anomaly in the interim, it's obvious that electric cars are the biggest danger to human life in the US!


1 Although in 1869, Mary Ward was thrown from a steam-car she was riding, and fell under its wheels.


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