MIT Lists Tesla Autopilot Among Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies Of 2016

2 years ago by Eric Loveday 29

Four Systems, Including Forward Looking Radar And Sonar Assist In Tesla's "Auto Pilot" Package

Four Systems, Including Forward Looking Radar And Sonar Assist In Tesla’s “Auto Pilot” Package

Tesla Model S Goes Cross Country On Autopilot - Image Credit: Alex Roy

Tesla Model S Goes Cross Country On Autopilot – Image Credit: Alex Roy

MIT Technology Review has bestowed one of its most prestigious awards upon Tesla.

Tesla’s Autopilot system was listed by MIT as being among the Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2016.

As MIT Technology Review explains:

Tesla Autopilot

Breakthrough – A car that drives itself safely in a variety of conditions.
Why It Matters – Car crashes caused by human error kill thousands of people a day worldwide.

MIT adds:

“Some of these features, like automatic parallel parking, were already on offer from other car companies (including Mercedes, BMW, and General Motors), but the self-steering was suddenly, overnight, via a software update, a giant leap toward full autonomy.”

Tesla Autopilot

Tesla Autopilot

“Tesla customers, delighted, posted videos of themselves on the highway, hands free, reading the paper, sipping coffee, and even, once, riding on the roof. Some of these are, it’s worth pointing out, illegal acts. Autopilot existed in a legal gray area, but it was a grand gesture toward an ever nearing future, one that will reshape not just the car and our relationship with it but the road and our entire transportation infrastructure.”

And yes, the folks at MIT did drive an Autopilot Tesla to test out the system first-hand. Here’s what they said of after their few-day test drive:

“Everyone wanted to know what it felt like, the strange surrender of allowing a car to take control. The only moments that seemed like magic were when the car parked itself or changed lanes, mostly because watching a steering wheel turn all on its own was unnatural and ghostly. Other than that, I was amazed by how quickly I got used to it, how inevitable it began to feel. As a Tesla engineer told me—on condition of anonymity, because the company won’t let anyone but Musk speak publicly these days—the thing that quickly becomes strange is driving a car without Autopilot. “You’ll feel like the car is not doing its job,” he said.”

MIT never experienced a major fault with the system, which is partly why it choose Autopilot as breakthrough technology

MIT concluded its Autopilot write-up with this real-life experience in which Tesla’s technology most likely would’ve prevented a wreck:

“The day after I returned the Tesla, my fiancée and I were on an L.A. freeway and saw someone, speeding, cross three lanes, cutting in front of several drivers. As the traffic stopped, the car behind us came in way too fast and crashed into our bumper, which fell right off. The future, I thought, was practically here, and it couldn’t arrive soon enough.”

You can read the entire Autopilot write-up, as well as check out the other 9 breakthrough technologies of 2016, by clicking the source link below.

Source: MIT Technology Review

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29 responses to "MIT Lists Tesla Autopilot Among Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies Of 2016"

  1. Josh says:

    Reusable Rockets and Solar City “GigaFactory” are also on the MIT list. So Musk basically has 30% of the list, impressive.

  2. Anon says:

    Congrats to Tesla and their people for achieving such an accomplishment, so quickly and with limited resources.

    Here’s to a safer future.

  3. theflew says:

    Nothing against Tesla Autopilot but the list is pretty weak if that’s one of the top 10 breakthrough technologies of 2016. I’m guarantee all the major automakers are capable autopilot tech, but Tesla is the only one with the “balls” to add a “beta” feature in a car. Cars tend to not be the thing you put many beta feature in that can control steering, throttle and brakes. I’m sure the major automakers are more concerned with being sued than rushing tech into their cars that isn’t quite ready – yet.

    1. Three Electrics says:

      +1, though most automakers are a little too cautious. Some manufacturer will actually strike the right balance.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I was shocked that Tesla put a “Beta” auto-steering feature into its cars, and alarmed by all the videos of Tesla owners abusing the system by using it on roads with two-way traffic, and not paying any attention to traffic at all.

      However, with the lack of accidents reported by Model S drivers using Autosteer (Beta), it’s clear I was wrong about that. In fact, it’s mathematically almost certain that the system has already saved serious injuries, and quite possibly saved lives.

      And if saving lives doesn’t make Tesla’s innovation worthy of being on a “Top 10 Breakthrough Technologies of the Year” list, then I don’t know what would!

      Go Tesla!

    3. Ray says:

      I remember the time when people use to say, if the “big” automakers wanted to make an EV to crush Tesla they could do it. Five years later and we are still waiting for the “big” automakers to do anything close. So when I see comments about the other automakers can do something, I wonder if it’s ever going to come true.
      Mercedes is probably closest to Tesla, so if anyone is going to do autopilot better than Tesla it will be them.

      1. TomArt says:

        I tend to agree.

      2. Gothmog2 says:

        The big manufacturers don’t have sufficient battery production capacity to produce cars in suffienct volume to “crush” Tesla – not that Elon wouldn’t be delighted to see them try. It would represent a major ramp up in world EV production, which has been Tesla’s aim all along.

        As to the share price – with model 3 due to be displayed in a few weeks, the stock is not going to fall. I suspect folks are talking it down in order to invest, then dump at a profit in April. Genuine short sellers are looking at a world of hurt.

    4. DanCar says:

      What would the world be without people with balls? It is super important to take informed calculated risks.

    5. JP White says:

      What differentiates Tesla Autopilot from the rest is it utilizes Artificial Intelligence, benefiting from the driving experience of the entire Tesla fleet.

      In a very short space of time Tesla have accelerated past (literally and metaphorically) Google who have been developing autonomous software for many years.

  4. Get Real says:

    Another nail in the coffin of the haters!

  5. ffbj says:

    That’s nice. Meanwhile Citron announces they have a large short position in Tesla. Target $100 per share, by years end. They wish.

    I surmise they have been hurting lately with Tesla stock rising methodically higher from a recent $143, they were starting to get a bit nervous, so they had to go public in a vain and arrogant attempt to drive the stock down.

    1. Josh says:

      I normally appreciate your insights, but you have been inserting Tesla stock price commentary a bit much lately.

      Let’s try to keep that to the (few) articles that are actually talking now about Tesla finances. It seems to incite riots on here.

      1. ffbj says:

        Good advice well taken.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      This is getting ridiculous. I really hope the staff here does something about all these hardcore investor posts that are polluting InsideEVs comment threads.

      1. Three Electrics says:

        I agree–stock price discussion is rarely germane. In particular, labeling any criticisers of Tesla as short sellers is beyond ridiculous. Wasting time attempting to influence the stock price by posting to a forum with very few readers, almost all of which are pro-Tesla, does not make much sense. I don’t think anyone has attempted it. Most likely they just have a legitimate difference of opinion.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Three Electrics said:

          “…a forum with very few readers…”

          I dunno what forum you’re talking about, but it’s certainly not InsideEVs!

          “I don’t think anyone has attempted it.”

          Gosh then, I guess it’s total coincidence that people posting under screen names such as “tftf” and “Mark B. Spiegel”, and formerly “See Through”, have frequently posted exactly the same anti-Tesla FUD here as they do on the stock investor site Seeking Alpha. [/sarcasm]

          1. Jay Cole says:

            Ok, just as a matter of personal pride, I have to wade in on this one:

            “Wasting time attempting to influence the stock price by posting to a forum with very few readers, almost all of which are pro-Tesla…”

            Not to speak to the effect of comments on Tesla’s stock price (that is not quantifiable), but InsideEVs is the largest site dedicated to only plug-in vehicles globally (north of 1.3 million now over the past month).

            And while 1.3 million is a pretty large number, it isn’t the ~10 million+ you see at the very large news organizations/generic auto magazines. However, IEV traffic is specific to EVs, meaning every last one of the persons reading IEV are here to converse/learn about EVs…whereas only a very small fraction of the readership at the generic “whales” actually concern themselves/read stories involving EVs/Tesla in general.

            1. Get Real says:

              And a big thanks Jay for providing such an excellent forum for us EV enthusiasts (and unfortunately a few trolls too) to learn and use from!

            2. Josh says:

              Congrats on the success of the site.

              So when EVs are 100% of new auto sales, does the site get renamed? InsideVs?
              😉

            3. TomArt says:

              Congratulations!

            4. Rick Danger says:

              I can tell you it didn’t take me long to dump a few other green car sites and make Inside EVs my main go to place.
              Great job with a great site!

              1. Jay Cole says:

                Thanks for the kind words Rick and others. It is always encouraging to hear nice things, and we appreciate that we are on your reading list

                … we probably should note that our goal isn’t to push anyone else out (although we understand people only have XX amount of time in a day), but just add to the group narrative when we can, (=

      2. ffbj says:

        You claiming a thread is being polluted is a bit like the pot calling the kettle black, but whatever. It’s a big story concerning Tesla and it’s all over the place. Just mentioning it is not polluting a thread.

  6. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Time Magazine‘s current issue has a cover story about self-driving cars. It’s going to be a big change in our society, far beyond just the technology.

    It’s good that the media is giving this important tech advancement so much coverage.

    1. Anon says:

      Future Fun Fact:

      Autonomous vehicles will be amoung the hacked instruments that Evil AI’s will use to extend their agendas, in the analogue world…

      1. TomArt says:

        Reminds me of “I, Robot”.

  7. TomArt says:

    I had a short test-drive of a MS P90DL a few weeks ago, in a light rain. It was amazing – we were flying down the DC beltway (the speed limit is “only” 55mph, so I’ll just leave that topic alone), and it stayed in the lane perfectly – no jerky re-adjusting on straight-stretches or turns. It also changed lanes efficiently and safely. I was flabbergasted and more than a little nervous at traveling at such speeds hands and feet free – I had my foot hovering over the brake, and my hands barely an inch from the steering wheel – but it was flawless and phenomenal. I’m astounded. Very reminiscent of K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider (wry British accent not included).

  8. Wester SIder says:

    Just bought a Tesla and I am seeing 2 issues with autopilot thus far. While driving I-5 from LA to the Bay, Autosteer almost veered out of the lane, so when you are going up a slight incline then the road goes down hill, that moment when the car I aimed high cause of the incline and the road is low as it goes down, it almost always loses sight and veers out of the lane and needed intervention(2 times). The other time, on I-5 they are doing construction with the lanes shifting to the left. When the lane shift occurs the paint is gone and is replaced by the same color Raised Pavement Markers, I was in the left lane and I was curious how it would handle this change, the result was my Tesla crossed right over the lanes as if the road shift did not exist, those are 2 scenarios to pay close attention to, incline to decline moment and immediate change in the lane markings from pain to other.