Home » Gadgets » Ambitious goals: Autonomous driving worried Tesla engineers

Ambitious goals: Autonomous driving worried Tesla engineers

Friday, August 25th, 2017 | Gadgets

Elon Musk announced last year that new vehicles of the company will be equipped with a hardware upgrade that allows them to drive autonomously in the future. This was obviously a little too high. The head of the Autopilot team, Sterling Anderson, was obviously too much. Two months after the announcement, he left the company. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, this is not an individual case. In the past few months, at least ten engineers and four top managers left the company, including Anderson's successor, who stayed less than six months at Tesla.
Since October 2016, Teslas have had the second generation of the autopilot hardware, which uses more cameras and other sensors for orientation in traffic. Teslas HW1 or hardware 1 vehicles use Mobileye sensors and algorithms.

For the newer vehicles, the US company is relying on image recognition and is building eight cameras to guarantee a 360-degree panoramic view with a range of up to 250 meters. The range of the twelve ultrasonic sensors is doubled, it said in a blog contribution. A front radar is to ensure that the detection of objects is possible even in bad weather conditions such as fog or heavy rain.

Corresponding technology is also developed by Ford, GM, Daimler, but also by Alphabets Waymo and Uber. The developers are in the dilemma that drivers, who have little to do and still have to monitor the driving function, quickly become inattentive and drowsy. In tests with automated cars, for example, it is noticeable to Ford that it is difficult for drivers to be alert in the long run and to monitor the car. The driver-driven ride was so monotonous that the drivers were even asleep, said Raj Nair, head of product development at Ford, the US news agency Bloomberg. Correspondingly high are the hurdles in the development of partially automated cars.
The development pressure has apparently become too much for some engineers at Tesla. In particular, they warn that the customer's life is being played, and how much time the driver has to spend to take over the steering wheel once the autonomous driving functions of a car are no longer working. Mechanisms would also be lacking to ensure that the driver remained focused. Warnings that the product is not ready are apparently not taken seriously enough.
By the end of this year, Musk plans to show a car driving from Los Angeles to New York without the driver's help.


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