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Mon Apr 19, 2021, 05:51 AM

Two dead in Tesla crash in Texas that was believed to be driverless

Source: Reuters

April 19, 2021
4:22 AM CDT
Reuters

2 minutes read

Two men died after a Tesla (TSLA.O) vehicle, which was believed to be operating without anyone in the driver's seat, crashed into a tree on Saturday night north of Houston, authorities said.

“There was no one in the driver’s seat," Sgt. Cinthya Umanzor of the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 said.

The 2019 Tesla Model S was traveling at a high rate of speed, when it failed to negotiate a curve and went off the roadway, crashing to a tree and bursting into flames, local television station KHOU-TV said.

After the fire was extinguished, authorities located 2 occupants in the vehicle, with one in the front passenger seat while the other was in the back seat of the Tesla, the report said, citing Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman.

Read more: https://www.reuters.com/business/autos-transportation/two-dead-tesla-crash-texas-that-was-believed-be-driverless-wsj-2021-04-18/

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Arrow 49 replies Author Time Post
Reply Two dead in Tesla crash in Texas that was believed to be driverless (Original post)
Judi Lynn Apr 19 OP
JI7 Apr 19 #1
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #4
aggiesal Apr 19 #40
joshcryer Apr 19 #48
oldsoftie Apr 19 #2
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #5
Auggie Apr 19 #3
LittleGirl Apr 19 #6
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #12
LittleGirl Apr 19 #14
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #21
LittleGirl Apr 19 #23
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #38
LittleGirl Apr 19 #42
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #45
Major Nikon Apr 19 #16
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #22
Polybius Apr 19 #24
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #37
oneshooter Apr 19 #31
LittleGirl Apr 19 #35
oneshooter Apr 19 #33
bucolic_frolic Apr 19 #7
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #9
bucolic_frolic Apr 19 #10
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #13
mac2766 Apr 19 #8
Miguelito Loveless Apr 19 #11
mac2766 Apr 19 #46
Miguelito Loveless Apr 20 #49
rickyhall Apr 19 #15
MineralMan Apr 19 #17
NBachers Apr 19 #18
pimpbot Apr 19 #30
AllaN01Bear Apr 19 #19
JohnnyRingo Apr 19 #20
csziggy Apr 19 #26
MichMan Apr 19 #28
PatrickforB Apr 19 #25
csziggy Apr 19 #27
Mr. Sparkle Apr 19 #29
Kablooie Apr 19 #34
Duppers Apr 19 #39
SunSeeker Apr 19 #41
Mr. Sparkle Apr 19 #47
Kablooie Apr 19 #32
SunSeeker Apr 19 #43
ToxMarz Apr 19 #36
Buckeye_Democrat Apr 19 #44

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 05:58 AM

1. This is the biggest problem I see with the current driverless technology

From what I understand people are still supposed to be in front seat and paying attention as if they WERE driving .

But people think they would be able to get away without having to pay attention and do things like this .

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Response to JI7 (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 07:32 AM

4. The problem is people are morons

The system specifically tells you that you cannot do this. When you engage the system, it checks every 30 seconds for driver’s hands on the wheel, and warns you when it does not detect driver input. In order to wind up in this situation, you must actively set out to defeat the safety system.

This was either drunken stupidity, or someone trying to make a “viral video”.

I have been driving a Model 3 almost 3 years and it is the safest car I have ever owned. It has saved me from other careless drivers on numerous occasions.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 03:44 PM

40. This is the kind of moronic actions that were done when cruise control was first implemented. n/t

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Response to JI7 (Reply #1)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 11:28 PM

48. Saw a video with George Hotz recently, demo'ing AP3.

The technology is so far behind what people think it's not even funny. I can understand cars making many tens of thousands if not millions of miles in highway conditions without an accident, but in urban areas it is a freaking difficult problem. And I think people get a false sense of security.

I mean from what I hear the two deceased were older individuals with very smart backgrounds, 59 and 69. Whoever was driving climbed into the freaking back seat to presumably take a nap or some other such demonstration, and it got them both killed. The car disengages without someone in the drivers seat so it was certainly being modified with weight to keep the seat bearing load, and the steering wheel needs a hand on it, so he rigged that, too. It is a totally stupid thing that he did. All because, in my opinion, he was mislead by the cars performance on the highway.



Video I was talking about, shows just how, utterly, awful its sensing is. It is not ready. It is probably fine for a long cross country trip and likely has saved a few drowsey drivers lives, but it is not ready at all for actual self driving.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 06:52 AM

2. And people think this is going to take away Semi truck driver jobs

Let the accident lawsuits begin. Maybe 50 yrs from now the tech can handle it who knows. But i doubt it

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Response to oldsoftie (Reply #2)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 07:35 AM

5. The software is not at this level of sophistication yet.

And doing a stunt where you leave the driver seat while the car is in motion requires deliberately circumventing safety systems and ignoring warnings.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 06:59 AM

3. Be thankful it didn't happen on a busier or urban roadway or during commute hours

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 07:48 AM

6. Driverless vehicles need their own lanes!

You can’t possibly allow driven and driverless cars using the same lane. Safety!

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:18 AM

12. Outside of a small area in Arizona

there are NO "driverless" vehicles on the roads in the US. The Tesla system is NOT a driverless system, it is a driver assist system (like lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, collision warning). It can be circumvented and misused by a determined idiot. People get annoyed because the ystem is called "autopiilot", but if you read the FAA rules on the definition of autopilot systems you will see that are not "pilotless" systems and the pilots are NOT allowed to leave the flight deck while the system is engaged.

No system is "fool proof" as fools are so ingenious.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:25 AM

14. Yes and as we transisition to driverless

in the future, I suggest that they have driver-less vehicles in one lane so as not to interfere with driven vehicles.

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #14)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 10:13 AM

21. I think we are at least a decade from that

despite some folks optimistic predictions. But a dedicated lane makes sense.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #21)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 10:49 AM

23. I think so too.

at least 5-10 years before we get there.

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #23)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 01:50 PM

38. I don't think the tech is going to be as big

a barrier (though it is a big one) than simply re-writing traffic law.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #38)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 03:57 PM

42. We really don't know yet

The safety of passengers in driverless vehicles will lobby for safe conditions for their journeys. Getting killed in a driverless car will be a death sentence for the business model so they will have to protect their passengers or not have any business. Right?
I really haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about safety for this industry but we need to start considering the implications and like bike lanes, make sure it’s safe. Otherwise, it will not survive.

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #42)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 04:47 PM

45. To me, it is another case of the J&J vaccine

no matter how safe it is, compared to the current status quo, any fatality gets HUGE headlines, and Wall Street gets upset, and people will file lawsuits. It will take time for Tesla to accumulate enough data for any meaningful analysis, but in the meantime "X People Die in Tesla" generates lots of clicks.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #12)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:32 AM

16. ...

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #16)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 10:16 AM

22. My favorite comedy movie,

along with Johnny Dangerously, Top Secret, Love At First Bite, and Young Doctors in Love.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #22)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 10:50 AM

24. I remember seeing ET in 1982 as a kid, and on the sign next to it was Young Doctors in Love

I still have never seen it. Good movie?

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Response to Polybius (Reply #24)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 01:48 PM

37. Hysterical

Dabney Coleman, Michael McKean, Sean Young, Harry Dean Stanton, Taylor Negron, Hector Elizondo, and a ton of soap opera cameos. It is more of a riff on "General Hospital" and "The Doctors" type soaps.

Another movie that got clobbered by coming out at the same time as a blockbuster, was "Used Cars" with Tim Matheson, his first non-Disney R rated part (PG-13 these days). VERY funny, nice cameo by Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster). It had the misfortune of coming out the same week as "Airplane!".

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #6)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 12:07 PM

31. With concrete barriers on BOTH sides!!

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Response to oneshooter (Reply #31)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 12:55 PM

35. Lol, yup! Nt

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Response to LittleGirl (Reply #6)


Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 08:08 AM

7. Does this mean AI is not an awful lot better than HI?

I was always reprimanded for criticism of driverless vehicles on DU. "Safer than humans." And I would say you know, unforeseen events, weather, and Americans being what they are, people playing chicken with the AI machines. Imagine the payout for having an accident with an Elon Zombie! So not glad to see, but predictable, flaws do exist.

By the way, there are mutual funds traded with AI and without human oversight. Just saying.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #7)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:08 AM

9. When you circumvent safety features and deliberately

disregard warnings, people will die.



/photo/1

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #9)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:13 AM

10. Product liability for flawed products will be massive

If it can be used in an improper manner, the public will do it, and manufacturers must design with that in mind.

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Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #10)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:23 AM

13. As I explain elsewhere,

where I work, punchpresses have sensors to keep people from mangling limbs. They are designed to inhibit operation of the system if the sensors detect an object (like a hand) in a danger zone. People have circumvented these systems and it is NOT the fault of the manufacturer when people get hurt as a result.

Pilots have crashed planes on autopilot by deliberately disobeying rules in their use. You can't fix stupid.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 08:27 AM

8. I don't believe that Tesla has implemented that tech completely yet...

While a driver is able to remove their hands from the steering wheel for a brief period of time, the car auto-senses that there are no hands on the wheel and requires the driver to place their hands back. Also, with the technology, the car would not be speeding.

I'm completely skeptical of the report.

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Response to mac2766 (Reply #8)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:13 AM

11. You can rig the steering wheel to "fool" the safety system

this has been done. I work in a shop that has sensors to prevent a punch press from operating if yours hands are in a defined danger zone. I have caught people defeating this system for convenience.

I have been driving a Model 3 for almost three years, and the system gets better every few months. It recognizes stop signs, stop lights, and speed limit signs, and reacts appropriately to them. At anytime I can override the system and make it run stop signs/lights, or exceed the posted. speed limit. The choice is mine. This seems to me a "Hey, hold my beer and watch this" moment.

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Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #11)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 05:49 PM

46. I don't believe it was a system fault then...

More a user issue. The article should have specified that.

People are having a difficult time adapting to the change in technology as it is. An article that leads a reader to mistrust the technology even more isn't going to help. We need this technology, and fast. The more negativity is presented about it, the slower Americans are going to adopt it. Europe and Asia don't seem to be having that problem.

Just my opinion.

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Response to mac2766 (Reply #46)

Tue Apr 20, 2021, 12:03 AM

49. The most cogent theory I have seen

is that the driver was showing off to a friend and “punched it” to demonstrate the phenomenal acceleration (0-60 in under 5 seconds, for the basic models) and lost control of the car, striking the tree. The impact damaged the car to such an extent that the battery pack was damaged, the frame deformed to the point the front doors would not open. Injured, the driver climbed into the back seat, but could not open the back doors (due to injury, smoke inhalation, and/or structural damage), so the driver and passenger die, one in the front passenger seat, the driver in the back seat.

More evidence is needed to confirm or disprove this theory.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:30 AM

15. Damn trees just won't get out of the way.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:32 AM

17. Trust the Machines! Eat Recycled Food!

"It's good for the environment and OK for you."

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:44 AM

18. I believe a seat weight sensor, as well as a steering wheel hands sensor, is needed.

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Response to NBachers (Reply #18)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 11:51 AM

30. People already are defeating the steering wheel sensor with weights

Idiots gonna idiot. They will just put a bowling ball or something in the seat. Ideally the inside facing camera could be used to detect a body and eye motion, but people were already complaining about privacy with the cameras.

I compare this accident to a DUI accident. We will never completely stop people from being dumbasses and doing stupid things.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 09:45 AM

19. when you select driverless mode , dosent it say i agree to have both

hands on steering wheel before you hit accept?

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 10:03 AM

20. There are no level one fully autonomous cars.

The Tesla is a Level Two autonomous car and requires driver input and oversight.

People should know that, but it doesn't help that Tesla implies it has some kind of autopilot.

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Response to JohnnyRingo (Reply #20)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 11:05 AM

26. Tesla should not call it "autopilot" - it should be named "advanced cruise control"

Because that is all it is.

Autopilot on planes is advanced enough some systems can even land the planes. A significant difference between planes and cars is that planes do not have negotiate roads, they just have to avoid other planes and stay in the air.

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Response to csziggy (Reply #26)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 11:16 AM

28. I agree. Calling it autopilot is pretty reckless on their part

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 10:52 AM

25. So...either a glitch or a hack.

I've been reading about cybersecurity, and the reality here is that it is a real battle for us to keep up with hackers, and our system is currently vulnerable in a number of places. These driverless cars are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), and as such, vulnerable to cyberattack. Be mindful that Russia shut down Ukraine in 2017 with the Petya hack, and we set Iran's nuclear capability back at least a decade with the Stuxnet hack.

So information security is a BIG deal across all industries, and until these driverless vehicles are somehow rendered hack-proof, I'm not going to be jumping up and down to get a driverless car, even though that would be wonderful because I dislike the head games other drivers play, and would much rather use commute time in reading or other work.

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Response to PatrickforB (Reply #25)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 11:07 AM

27. Hackers cannot make the driver leave the driver's seat while the car is in motion

Or defeat the sensors that remind a driver to keep their hands on the wheel. Both of which seem to have happened in this case.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 11:32 AM

29. i think there is something amiss in the story,as this is what happens when you unbuckle the seatbelt

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Response to Mr. Sparkle (Reply #29)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 12:14 PM

34. This car is using FSD which is only being tested by a small subset of selected drivers.

FSD (Full Self Driving)

It's unlikely that the crashed car had this feature.
FSD is much safer than regular autopilot particularly on surface streets.

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Response to Mr. Sparkle (Reply #29)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 03:15 PM

39. Thank you!

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Response to Mr. Sparkle (Reply #29)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 03:55 PM

41. Will it stop like that if you aren't in the seat, but the seat belt is left buckled?

If all it takes is buckling the seat belt, seems like that is pretty easy to abuse.

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Response to SunSeeker (Reply #41)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 08:31 PM

47. The seat has weight senors to make sure the driver is present.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 12:10 PM

32. I drive a Tesla and the car couldn't have been on autopilot.

The owner's brother in law was driving the car and only drove a few yards on a neighborhood street before crashing at high speed.
The most likely scenario was that the brother in law wanted to try out Tesla's famous super fast takeoff which really pushes you back into your seat. He did not put on his seatbelt, floored the car and lost control. The crash threw him into the back seat.

Reasons for this scenario:
A driver without a seatbelt can be thrown into the back seat in a severe crash. There is a video online of this happening.

To start the car there must be weight on the seat and the brake must be depressed. Only someone in the driver's seat can do this.

Once you start driving, one press on the right lever starts cruise control. Two presses starts autopilot if it's available. It is not available on many streets and not available when you first start the car. A driver unfamiliar with the system may press the stalk once and think he is in autopilot mode when he is only in cruise mode which does not steer.

If you are on a neighborhood street cruise control starts at 10 mph and can pickup speed but always at a reasonable rate.
None of the automatic features allow you to drive from 0 to 60 in a short distance.

The car will automatically apply brakes just before an imminent crash but driver's input will override automatic features.

The fire is concerning though.
Tesla is one of the highest rated cars for accident safety and it is specifically designed to prevent battery fires but in severe accidents it obviously can catch fire.

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Response to Kablooie (Reply #32)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 03:58 PM

43. Yes, that seems like the likely scenario. But a battery should not "burst" into flames.

I agree, the fire is more concerning than what these two idiots did.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 01:09 PM

36. Darwin wins AGAIN!

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Apr 19, 2021, 04:03 PM

44. I'd love to own a Tesla, but there's no way...

... that I'd use that feature in some situations.

There's a big truck stop in my town now, close to the grocery store where I usually shop, and I often have to start hitting the brakes as soon as I see yet another semi-truck pulling out. If I hadn't reacted immediately after a truck had started lurching forward, I doubt that I could've slowed down in time to avoid hitting them.

Never see any cops around there, of course! They can pull into traffic repeatedly because of their added revenue to the city, I suppose.

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