Tesla promises full self-driving cars by year end, but regulators are wary.

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Once the update arrives, Tesla vehicles will be able to drive themselves in a city the way they can perform highway cruising now, the company said. That means interpreting stop signs and traffic lights, making sharp turns, and navigating stop-and-go urban traffic and other obstacles -- a far more difficult task than navigating long, relatively straight stretches of highways. Although Tesla's website has promised features as soon as this year including the ability to recognize and react to traffic lights and stop signs, and what it calls "Automatic driving on city streets," the suite would still require a human driver behind the wheel. As soon as next year, Tesla has said, the cars will be able to operate reliably on their own, even allowing the driver to fall asleep. This tiered approach is different from companies such as Waymo, whose sole aim is to launch autonomous vehicles that do not need a driver behind the wheel.


Tesla vs. Self-Driving Competition -- New MIT Video CleanTechnica

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Autonomous driving technology promises to unleash sweeping changes on our society. However (perhaps fortunately), it's likely to be some time before self-driving cars become frequent sights on the roads. Boosters tend to see autonomy as an unmitigated boon, but some of their assumptions are yet to be proven -- the technology has the potential to reduce crashes, but we won't know if they do so in the real world until autonomous vehicles (AVs) have been in widespread use for at least a year or two. When it comes to some of the other rosy predictions, evidence to the contrary is already emerging -- in some areas, ride-sharing services such as Uber have increased road traffic, reduced demand for public transport, and encouraged sprawl. If Transportation as a Service (TaaS) does make mobility a lot cheaper and more convenient, common sense dictates that people will use a lot more of it.


Elon Musk calls self-driving laser sensors 'lame' at Tesla's Autonomy Day

Mashable

As Elon Musk made clear Monday, the technology most of his competitors in the self-driving car space use to help vehicles detect what's around them is lame. And his option is way better. "LiDAR is a fool's errand," he quipped about the laser-emitting tool that, in the simplest terms, acts as eyes for autonomous cars. "Anyone who is relying on LiDAR is doomed." That's pretty much most of the businesses testing self-driving cars, including Waymo and Uber who went to court over LiDAR technology last year.


Fatal Tesla Self-Driving Car Crash Reminds Us That Robots Aren't Perfect

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On 7 May, a Tesla Model S was involved in a fatal accident in Florida. At the time of the accident, the vehicle was driving itself, using its Autopilot system. The system didn't stop for a tractor-trailer attempting to turn across a divided highway, and the Tesla collided with the trailer. In a statement, Tesla Motors said this is the "first known fatality in just over 130 million miles [210 million km] where Autopilot was activated" and suggested that this ratio makes the Autopilot safer than an average vehicle. Early this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told reporters that the Autopilot system in the Model S was "probably better than a person right now."


Fatal Tesla Self-Driving Car Crash Reminds Us That Robots Aren't Perfect

IEEE Spectrum Robotics

On 7 May, a Tesla Model S was involved in a fatal accident in Florida. At the time of the accident, the vehicle was driving itself, using its Autopilot system. The system didn't stop for a tractor-trailer attempting to turn across a divided highway, and the Tesla collided with the trailer. In a statement, Tesla Motors said this is the "first known fatality in just over 130 million miles [210 million km] where Autopilot was activated" and suggested that this ratio makes the Autopilot safer than an average vehicle. Early this year, Tesla CEO Elon Musk told reporters that the Autopilot system in the Model S was "probably better than a person right now."