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Tesla Rejected More Advanced Driver Monitoring Features On Its Cars, Says Report (theverge.com) 143

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Engineers inside Tesla wanted to add robust driver monitoring systems to the company's cars to help make sure drivers safely use Autopilot, and Tesla even worked with suppliers on possible solutions, according to The Wall Street Journal. But those executives -- Elon Musk included -- reportedly rejected the idea out of worry that the options might not work well enough, could be expensive, and because drivers might become annoyed by an overly nagging system.

Tesla considered a few different types of monitoring: one that would track a driver's eyes using a camera and infrared sensors, and another that involved adding more sensors to the steering wheel to make sure that the driver is holding on. Both ideas would help let the car's system know if the driver has stopped paying attention, which could reduce the chance of an accident in situations where Autopilot disengages or is incapable of keeping the car from crashing. Musk later confirmed on Twitter that the eye tracking option was "rejected for being ineffective, not for cost."

Tesla Rejected More Advanced Driver Monitoring Features On Its Cars, Says Report

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  • Not enough (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2018 @04:51PM (#56610872)

    Knowing that the driver is holding the steering wheel is not enough. You need to ascertain that all the muscular groups between the fingers and the spine are actively engaged and under tension. That is - fingers, palm, wrist, forearm, elbow, arm, shoulder... only if the muscules in all there areas are actively engaged you will ensure that the driver can take over. Eye tracking and a neural brain interface too to know what the driver is thinking...

    • -- M. Zuckerberg's notes on experiencing driver's education

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Tesla's system doesn't even use the driver's seat occupancy sensor to make sure there is actually someone sat behind the wheel.

      The "autopilot assistant" trick of wedging fruit into the steering wheel to make it think you have hands on is well known too.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Y'all need to get off Elonz Nutz.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2018 @05:11PM (#56610972)

    I am loathe to link to Ars because its quality has gone down hill, but Cadillac's Supercruise is geofenced and uses eyetracking with rave reviews.

    https://arstechnica.com/cars/2018/02/the-cadillac-ct6-review-super-cruise-is-a-game-changer/

    • Car makers (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 14, 2018 @05:20PM (#56611012)

      Maybe Cadillac is made by people with experience making cars? And not some Silly Valley big talker?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe Cadillac is made by people with experience making cars? And not some Silly Valley big talker?

        When Cadillac launches a vehicle into space then you might have a point. Tesla has its issues, but to dismiss Elon Musk as a "Silly Valley big talker" is pretty ignornant--he's achieved quite a bit more than most entrepreneurs in and out of the valley. Doesn't mean he'll manage to displace (or even join) the automotive cartel, but he's certainly more than just a "big talker."

      • And not some Silly Valley big talker?

        You mean the Silly Valley big talker who created the company that is well on the way to being the first manufacturer to lose their EV credits when they ship too many EVs beating those "expereienced" people?

        Yeah what a failure he is.

        • "well on the way"

          Call me when he gets his backlog of car orders filled. Call me again when Tesla stops bleeding money. Call me yet again when Tesla becomes more than a boutique/niche car manufacturer. If they can't hit at least Porsche yearly sales levels, they will never be considered anything else.

          Is he a smart guy? Sure. The problems with Tesla take nothing away from the awesomness of SpaceX. Smart people make mistakes though. Tesla, like Apple, tries so hard to be "

          • Call me when he gets his backlog of car orders filled.

            I don't need to. I'm calling you out right now for the pathetic little twerp who shits on quite epic achievements of other people that you are.

            Call me yet again when Tesla becomes more than a boutique/niche car manufacturer

            This one fascinates me, given that this company has singlehandedly changed both the car and the power industry. I guess you'll keep shitting on them until they somehow become some major monopoly force, all the while completely ignoring that Tesla has achieved far more in their first 15 years than Ford ever did.

            If they can't hit at least Porsche yearly sales levels, they will never be considered anything else.

            Hit Porche where? Telsa delivered 50% more cars in their

            • Give me a break... I'm not shitting on anything. I'm just pointing out that Teslas accomplishments are nowhere near as game changing as their fanboys would have us believe. Having a huge backlog and bleeding investor dollars is not shitting, they are facts. You seem to think they are irrelevant for some reason. Tesla or not, the industry was headed hybrid and later electric. Tesla may have sped things up a bit, but that was probably based on their over the top predictions for Model 3 deliveries. As f

              • Give me a break... I'm not shitting on anything.

                You realise the entire thread is in reply to "Silicon Valley Big Talker".

                I'm just pointing out that Teslas accomplishments are nowhere near as game changing as their fanboys would have us believe.

                And yet look at how much the industry has stood up and taken notice.

                Having a huge backlog and bleeding investor dollars is not shitting, they are facts.

                And it's also not relevant at all to a discussion of technology or changing a market. Which means someone is just looking for reasons to shit on an achievement.

                Tesla or not, the industry was headed hybrid and later electric.

                Horseshit and you know it. The entire industry basically laughed at Telsa as "impossible". A token effort was given to hybrid and electric didn't exist. It wasn't until Telsa well and truly proved it possible th

    • by Anonymous Coward

      >I am loathe to link to Ars because its quality has gone down hill

      You're posting at former tech site Slashdot, that's now a bottom of the hill nerd-rage site.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @05:13PM (#56610982) Journal
    Thats what they use in Locomotives to make sure the drivers have not fallen asleep.

    Eye tracking may or may not be reliable enough. But if eye tracking is not reliable, then nagware is definitely needed.

    I feel this whole auto pilot, full self driving a big distraction from the core reason why I support Tesla.:

    1. Make an electric that is affordable for at least 50% of the Americans.

    2. Make a no negotiation, everyone pays the same price model for the cars, price transparency (secondary minor goal)

    I wish Tesla would just let someone else develop this tech and license it.

    • by ediron2 ( 246908 )

      "That's just like, your opinion, man."

      I'm after autopilot. Electric and affordability aren't worth nearly as much to me as my time. There are many things I'd do differently for each X percent of the drive my car can conduct without me. The value of the car is literally measurable in dollars-per-hour times the hours per year I get to rearrange where and how I conduct my life. I can't afford a driver, but give me a car that lets me focus on work or lets me sleep, and a thousand unavailable desires are answ

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So this information was thoughtfully reviewed, felt not to be in the driver's best interest / effective enough to integrate and wasn't. This doesn't seem like an interesting story. This isn't gross negligence, this is just decision making and business.

    • Re:Not news (Score:5, Interesting)

      by quantaman ( 517394 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @06:38PM (#56611368)

      So this information was thoughtfully reviewed, felt not to be in the driver's best interest / effective enough to integrate and wasn't. This doesn't seem like an interesting story. This isn't gross negligence, this is just decision making and business.

      Elon Musk is saying it was ineffective, but he also keeps calling the system an Autopilot.

      This is just more evidence that Tesla is trying to have it both ways.

      Informally they say:
      "Look! It's a self-driving car! You just relax and it does everything!!"

      Officially they say:
      "It's basically just fancy cruise control, you need to watch it like a hawk every second it's engaged!!"

      In practice they want and expect people to treat it as a self-driving car, but they need to tell them it's cruise-control for legal reasons.

      That's why they ditched the eye tracking and other fancy tech that would keep people engaged. The "pay attention" safeguards are in-effective by design.

  • by vanyel ( 28049 ) on Monday May 14, 2018 @05:49PM (#56611162) Journal

    I test drove a Nissan Leaf with ProDrive, which is a lane following assist tech. It uses steering wheel feedback to make sure you're paying attention, and it felt like I was constantly fighting the car to drive.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I've used ProLilot in a Leaf and it was very relaxing and easy. The car seemed more confident and sure of itself than Autopilot when entering corners.

      The other big difference is that it starts nagging you a few seconds after you take your hand of the wheel. Tesla lets you go for much longer.

    • I test drove a Nissan Leaf with ProDrive, which is a lane following assist tech. It uses steering wheel feedback to make sure you're paying attention, and it felt like I was constantly fighting the car to drive.

      Back off and let the car do its thing. If you're fighting it then you're not actually using the technology as intended. I am driving a 2018 model Nissan Qashqai this week and it's especially great on the highway. Rest your hand on the wheel and let the steering wheel do the work.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    All this bad PR lately revolving around Autopilot involved drivers who weren't paying attention. They really should have incorporated the eye tracker, that alone would have made a huge difference.

    I see idiots in my city zipping around in their Teslas with their eyes in their lap all the time, even when there's kids in the back. It's infuriating.

    In the mean time, I really think wanton police brutality needs to be legally sanctioned for people who are caught texting and driving, autopilot or no autopilot.

  • Quite a while ago. To build a confused autonomous driving system that actually isn't and needs drive involvement is just dangerous because the human element is just going to switch off. Musk has this bizarre belief that the crashes so far can be blamed on the driver (gee, thanks). It's a scam. They (Musk in particular) are trying to give the impression that self-driving cars are here when they are anything but.
  • As soon as human driving becomes completely and entirely safe, then I will settle for self-driving cars to simply be more safe than humans.

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