Tesla's self-driving technology fails to detect children in the road, tests find




  • In Business
  • 2022-08-09 17:08:44Z
  • By The Guardian
Photograph: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images
Photograph: Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images  

A safe-technology advocacy group issued claimed on Tuesday that Tesla's full self-driving software represents a potentially lethal threat to child pedestrians, the latest in a series of claims and investigations into the technology to hit the world's leading electric carmaker.

According to a safety test conducted by the Dawn Project, the latest version of Tesla Full Self-Driving (FSD) Beta software repeatedly hit a stationary, child-sized mannequin in its path. The claims that the technology apparently has trouble recognizing children form part of an ad campaign urging the public to pressure Congress to ban Tesla's auto-driving technology.

In several tests, a professional test driver found that the software - released in June - failed to detect the child-sized figure at an average speed of 25mph and the car then hit the mannequin. The Dawn Project's founder, Dan O'Dowd, called the results "deeply disturbing."

Company chief "Elon Musk says Tesla's Full Self-Driving software is 'amazing,'" O'Dowd added. "It's not. It's a lethal threat to all Americans.

"Over 100,000 Tesla drivers are already using the car's Full Self-Driving mode on public roads, putting children at great risk in communities across the country."

O'Dowd argued that the test results show the need to prohibit self-driving cars until Tesla proves the vehicles "will not mow down children in crosswalks".

Tesla has repeatedly hit back at claims that its self-driving technology is too underdeveloped to guarantee the safety of either the car's occupants or other road users.

After a fiery crash in Texas in 2021 that killed two, Musk tweeted that the autopilot feature, a less sophisticated version of FSD, was not switched on at the moment of collision.

At the company's shareholder meeting earlier this month Musk said that Full Self-Driving has greatly improved, and he expected to make the software available by the end of the year to all owners that request it. But questions about its safety continue to mount.

In June, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), said it was expanding an investigation into 830,000 Tesla cars across all four current model lines. The expansion came after analysis of a number of accidents revealed patterns in the car's performance and driver behavior.

The NHTSA said the widened investigation would aim to examine the degree to which Tesla's autopilot technology and associated systems "may exacerbate human factors or behavioral safety risks by undermining the effectiveness of the driver's supervision".

A second NHTSA investigation is also under way to determine if the removal of the forward-looking radar sensor on some newer Teslas is causing the vehicles to apply their brakes for no reason, which is called "phantom braking" and can lead to wrecks.

Since 2016, the agency has investigated 30 crashes involving Teslas equipped with automated driving systems, 19 of them fatal. NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation is also looking at the company's autopilot technology in at least 11 crashes where Teslas hit emergency vehicles.

Many such wrecks aren't investigated by the NHTSA. And in nearly 400 crashes involving cars with driver-assist systems reported by automakers between July 2021 and this past May, more Teslas were involved than all other manufacturers combined.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Op-Ed: Facial recognition technology victimizes people of color. It must be regulated
Op-Ed: Facial recognition technology victimizes people of color. It must be regulated
  • US
  • 2022-09-29 16:30:49Z

A new federal bill would limit law enforcement's use of facial recognition technology.

New Washington State audits of police killings target 2 recent Kitsap cases
New Washington State audits of police killings target 2 recent Kitsap cases
  • US
  • 2022-09-29 00:21:19Z

The audits of investigations in two Kitsap deaths came as part of a package of legislation passed by the Legislature in 2021.

Tesla Expected to Record Blockbuster Q3 Deliveries
Tesla Expected to Record Blockbuster Q3 Deliveries

The stock could surge as optimism surrounds its deliveries report

Breast ironing could be child abuse, say police amid
Breast ironing could be child abuse, say police amid 'mounting horror' at Mermaids trans charity
  • US
  • 2022-09-27 17:22:51Z

Chest binding is potential child abuse, the Metropolitan Police has said, as concerns are raised over the actions of a trans charity.

Exclusive-Tesla to keep output at upgraded Shanghai plant below maximum -sources
Exclusive-Tesla to keep output at upgraded Shanghai plant below maximum -sources

Tesla plans to hold production at its Shanghai plant at about 93% of capacity through the end of year, despite a recent upgrade, two people with knowledge of...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business