Another week, another Tesla auto-pilot crash.
I’ve ranted before about just how bad American drivers are – they, the most of them, are horrible. Most of the nation’s roads have come under my own personal review. I drive extensively in the eastern and southeastern U.S. With the exception of the open expanses of the west and a few rural segments back east (and those usually at night) it is very bad out there and no fun anymore.
There’re different kinds of bad wherever one motors. In most big cities (LA, Atlanta, NYC, Miami, D.C., etc.) there’s fast and bad. Well, fast until a wreck completely stops traffic. In South Carolina, the whole state, it’s sloooooow and bad. Everywhere else it’s inattentive, careless, and bad. Sometimes a little malice is thrown in. Mindless zombies, who would quickly call for gun control, don’t mind at all careening around in the equivalent of a cruise missile while texting, eating, sleeping, vaping, talking, singing, rapping, screaming, grooming, and just about everything else imaginable (except driving).
My proposed solution is very, very simple. Most people, I’d like to think, are capable of properly operating a vehicle. All they have to do is DO it! Simple. Those who just can’t, and it’s a LARGE number, should not drive. Period. The auto industry, the insurance industry, and the malevolent forces of the state have another solution – self-driving cars.
Some day the technology will be proficient. Then, but not now, the systems will actually work. Of course, then they will be mandatory; no one, no matter how good behind the wheel, will not have the option to self drive. There won’t even be steering wheels anymore. That will afford the government incredible control over who goes where, when they go, how fast they go, and if they can go. That nightmare is still ten, twenty years down the road.
For now, more and more manufacturers are installing auto-drive systems, usually marketed under the ever-popular, yet ever-deceptive “safety” label. Take any of these systems and read about them in the manufacturer’s owner’s manual. To a one they all suggest the system is not a substitute for a competent driver, it may not work (at all, sometimes), and it is not fool-proof.
The fools don’t care. Safety.
More expensive models, like Tesla, come with a variety of auto-pilot features. They too have disclaimers no one reads. The idea is that they can pilot the car well unless something unexpected comes up. Unexpected, you know, like a semi or a guard rail, or something one would almost never see out on the road…
A Southfield art gallery owner told police his 2016 Tesla Model X was in Autopilot mode when it crashed and rolled over on the Pennsylvania Turnpike last week. The crash came just one day after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a report on a fatal crash in May involving a Tesla that was in self-driving mode.
– Detroit Free Press.
The Tesla owner (not “driver” anymore) will still be cited by the police for the crash. How about that? You pay $100,000 for a government-subsidized robot car and it still crashes AND you get a ticket. I’ll bet the owner whines about this. I bet he sues Tesla or at least tries to raise them as a defense in traffic court. He bought for “safety” not for responsibility.
I don’t buy any of it. I now add robot cars to the list of those who just shouldn’t be on the roads at all. Until that day (ha!) I’m in the market for a new vehicle myself, something that will allow me to survive the increasingly dangerous roads of America and the stupid, incompetent drivers, something like this: