Woz Says Tesla Autopilot Is More Gimmick Than Reality

2 weeks ago by Steven Loveday 76

Tesla Autopilot

A self-driving Model X with new enhanced hardware was demonstrated by Tesla in October

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak isn’t the only one to throw shade at Tesla Autopilot, but his opinion comes from direct, long-term experience.

Whether you value Woz’ opinion or not doesn’t really matter. Some believe that no one cares what the ex-Apple guru says these days, while others look to his opinion due to his history and current-day connection to such matters. Woz is not only a tech wiz with plenty of insight in the field, he also owns a few Teslas and has for some time, along with owning a Chevy Bolt EV.

Chevrolet Bolt

Autonomous Chevrolet Bolt out driving

The reason we mention the Bolt is that GM’s autonomous car director just called Tesla out for its Autopilot system as well. Unfortunately, Woz’ Bolt is not of the self-driving variety since those are not yet in public possession (wouldn’t it be great if he could get GM to furnish him with a self-driving Bolt for comparison?). However, GM is testing a large fleet of the vehicles in multiple locations and making huge strides.

Back to Woz …

He’s in the camp of people that think Tesla’s name choice for its self-driving technology was not the best idea.

Added to this, Woz believes that the gimmicky hype could have dire consequences. Calling the system “Autopilot” gives people a sense that they can relax in the car and let it handle things, at least to some extent. The continuous hype surrounding the tech makes people (especially those without much knowledge or experience on the subject) yearn to get in a self-driving Tesla with Autopilot and experience it firsthand (hands off, of course, cause why the heck not?).

According to Woz, those people would likely be sorely disappointed (but hopefully safe!). He told CNBC in a recent interview:

“Tesla has in people’s mind that they have cars that will just drive themselves totally, and it is so far from the truth, so they have deceived us.

Tesla

Steve and Janet Wozniak with their Model S P100D

Sometimes Teslas are dangerous because of what they call ‘Autopilot. You get thinking, ‘Oh, it is easy, I can reach over and not look for a few seconds,’ and that is the second your car drifts over the line.”

To be fair, Tesla has made it repeatedly clear that none of this is the case (though people will do what people will do).

To say that all people pay attention to all the rules/details/warnings/news/etc. would be a overstatement. Yes, in the end, those that don’t follow the rules or pay attention are at fault. YOU MUST KEEP YOUR HAND ON THE WHEEL AND BE ENGAGED AT ALL TIMES. But really, are they going to do that? People notoriously bend the rules, right? Nonetheless, Tesla told CNN (via Mashable):

“We will also continue to be extremely clear with current and potential customers that Autopilot is not a fully self-driving technology and drivers need to remain attentive at all times.”

In the end, after having driven Tesla vehicles for many years (old and new/AP1 and AP2), Woz asserts that the automaker is behind others. Since Tesla has been working to fully rebuild the original AP1 Mobileye system, through continuous, incremental over-the-air software updates, as well as some hardware updates, most Tesla owners agree that it’s just not what it used to be, and not what it needs to be. Woz said:

Woz after purchasing a Chevrolet Bolt EV.

“In a lot of ways, Tesla is behind companies like Volvo and Audi.”

It’s a process though and Tesla promises that it will get there. It’s been over a year thus far and much work still needs to be done, but progress is being made. For now, however, Woz warns that it’s important to be cautious. He shared:

“Driving my Tesla, over and over and over there are unusual situations on any road anywhere and every single human being alive — dumb or smart — would be able to get through it and the Tesla can’t.

Is Tesla ever going to be able to detect things like red lights and stop signs?”

He was careful with his conclusion, however. Woz is and has always been, a huge Tesla supporter. Though he’s skeptical about the current state of Autopilot, he still loves electric cars and acknowledges the impact Tesla has made on him:

“Tesla has done something that is so important to me. I mean transitioning from gas-driven cars to electric cars for a future, it is part of our cleanliness formula.”

Sources: CNBC, Mashable

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76 responses to "Woz Says Tesla Autopilot Is More Gimmick Than Reality"

  1. Rick says:

    A bit short sighted for a computer guy to say that. Does he know AP evolves and they have prototypes already testing FSD?

    1. Four Electrics says:

      Tesla FSD is the future–and it always will be.

      1. John Ray says:

        Heh, heh, heh – I see what you did there.

      2. Assaf says:

        @Rick a bit out-of-context of you to say that to Woz.

        The big difference is, when Apple rolled out its revolutionary products with his leadership in the 70s and 80s, no one knew *what* to expect. It was what the products did that generated subsequent hype.

        with self-driving, overall and specifically in the Tesla version, the hype is going so far and wide beyond the reality, that it’s really mind-numbing.

        In particular for us EV folks, consider the collective Meh that drivers and most auto journalists still treat EVs (or rather, EVs not named Tesla) with, compared with the already existing marvels such as the Bolt, Gen 1/2 Volt, the Leaf’s doubling its range and lowering its price over 7 years, a quarter-million electric buses in China, etc.

        That’s existing technology in the same market that people just snooze and sneer at.

        While having multiple collective orgasms at the very mention of autopilot, which – as Woz correctly points out – doesn’t really exist yet.

        It’s beyond ridiculous.

    2. Dan says:

      The tech community with expertise in Autonomous vehicles is extremely small and clustered around just 3 cities in the US. I can tell you that most of them do not buy into the Tesla hype about “autopilot”. Musk is recklessly doing a lot of disservice to the decades of painstaking work that has gone into this field by turning it into a marketing exercise. The technical problems that remain are significant. It will take just a few public relations disasters and high profile accidents to shut off funding for everybody. if a car on autopilot hits a school bus, I’ll bet that Congress will tar and feather all of us, including the Googles, GMs, and Ubers playing it far more conservatively when it comes to level 3 autonomy. Nobody will pause and ask whether the driver followed instructions.

      1. Get Real says:

        I think you had too much candy last night Dan.

        You speak for the whole Autonomous Tech community now?

        I know that any industry that is being thoroughly disrupted, there will be players who complaim bitterly about the disrupters.

        Lets face it, Tesla has alit a fire underneath the laggard OEMs on both compelling electrification but also on Autonomous Driving tech.

        May the best tech win and in this way we all win despite your scary “what if” scenarios.

        1. Dan says:

          I don’t know if your idea of disruption has any space for human-computer-interface design. When you plan on doing your disruption, I’ll make sure my kids aren’t on the street.

          https://cleantechnica.com/2017/11/01/googlewaymo-stopped-testing-level-3-self-driving-tech-testers-literally-fell-asleep-using-switched-full-autonomy/

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Dan said:

        Musk is recklessly doing a lot of disservice to the decades of painstaking work that has gone into this field by turning it into a marketing exercise.”

        Translation: Dan works on a self-driving car project for one of Tesla’s competitors, and he’s really upset with how Tesla is so far ahead in this race.

        1. Dan says:

          Why is it the same joker who gets triggered every time there is a comment about Tesla?

          I have nothing against Tesla. I do have serious reservations about Level 3 and Level 4 no matter who does it. This might be new for silicon valley geeks but there are NTSB reports as early as the 90s detailing the issues around transferring control from system back to a pilot. The difficulties were so hard to surmount that even when the plane is flying itself, there at clean cockpit rules preventing the pilots from losing contextual awareness.

    3. unlucky says:

      Yeah, it evolves in both directions. Sometimes it gets better. Sometimes Tesla changes the hardware and then makes it worse.

      Buying a $100K car (or even a $50K S) for something it isn’t right now just isn’t good thinking. If Tesla fixes AP then buy it for the good AP. But don’t buy it with AP less than what you feel is enough and then hope it gets better.

  2. Tim West says:

    I highly recommend that you go to YouTube.com and search for videos of people using auto pilot to see with their experience is. The word “autopilot” is just a name for the assisted driving function. You can watch somebody drive over 1000 miles to Florida and back in the Model-X with auto pilot and see all the quirks along the way.

    1. L'amata says:

      With all of Woz’s money and vast Computer knowledge Wos should start Up his own car company and show Musk how it’s done. Just like Feruccio Lamborghini did to Ferrari, when he got Fed up with the junk and crappy service Ferrari was providing him , He decided to start his own car company and that is how Lamborghini was started….

  3. bro1999 says:

    Uhoh, is the Woz now back to being a GM shill? The Tesla fanbois flip on him more frequently than a bucket of fish on a trampoline.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      No, just you, troll.

      1. Dan says:

        Lol. Mention Tesla fanboi and Pushmi faithfully jumps out of the 🎁 to respond.

        1. ModernMarvelFan says:

          LOL! That was a good one.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I’m proud to be a Tesla cultist.

          The question is, why aren’t you? …oh, yeah, you work for one of Tesla’s competitors. Tch, tch. My sympathies.

          1. Dan says:

            EVERYBODY who is in a cult has trouble understanding why the outside world doesn’t want in.

            They all invariably have to make up conspiracy theories to reconcile their world view with the reality that nobody else cares.

    2. Someone out there says:

      LOL!
      Anyone who has anything negative to say is a shill, didn’t you get the memo?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Anyone who comes here almost every single day to make multiple posts attacking one single company, the company that is not only the most popular among those visiting the site, but is also doing the most to improve the subject of the website; someone who only occasionally takes time off bashing that one company to praise a single one of its competitors; such a person is definitely a troll, and is either a shill or else is going to a great deal of time and effort to appear to be one.

        I don’t think those who come here nearly every single day to make multiple posts attacking Tesla — and literally never saying anything good about the company — out of the goodness of their hearts.

    3. pjwood1 says:

      Woz doesn’t commute

    4. Nix says:

      No, Woz isn’t shilling trampolines, he’s shilling Serta/Simmons mattresses for The Mattress Firm in Houston Texas:

  4. Alltesla says:

    Autopilot is great when it is used where it’s intended and with supervision.

    1. Terawatt says:

      And yet, there seems to be no actual difference between Tesla’s tech and others’ – except for the hype, the unknowable claim that the hardware you must buy today will prove up to the job when someday the software has been developed, and the naming that appears to be partly responsible for the misconception some people have that Teslas can drive themselves.

      I’ve reserved a Model 3. I have every reason to wish it were true that Tesla is ahead and that the hardware on that car is enough to do the job. But Tesla asks us to pay a lot of money for AP, and offer no guarantee of when it will be finished – or even when it’ll reach level 3 and 4. It’s not clear to me you can demand a free upgrade if the hardware proves insufficient, or WHEN that assessment can possibly be made. Meanwhile, it seems AP2 is still not quite as good as AP1 used to be, which suggests Tesla is behind where MobilEye were two years ago, and therefore behind other carmakers.

      Nissan then comes along and offers ProPilot at a much lower cost. It makes no grand promises about what this can do in the future, but it seems to do what is meant to do today a bit better than Tesla’s much more expensive system.

      Even though I’ve been a fan of electric cars, and loved Tesla for what it’s doing to make them attractive, for more than a decade now, I have simply never seen any convincing evidence that Tesla has superior technology in the autonomy department. The argument that their fleet is collecting a ton of data is the only one I’ve encountered that plausibly means a competitive advantage. But as a software developer myself I imagine I have some insight into the state of machine learning, and this leads me to be quite skeptical to the idea that data collection necessarily translates into much real progress. It’s a theoretical advantage, but better algorithms (whether evolved by learning processes or designed intentionally by human computer scientists) could easily be more important than sheer data volume.

      In short, I think your comment is about as neutral and unbiased as your username would suggest!

      1. Tony says:

        The advantage is in the planning stage, where the autonomous car has to anticipate and take into account the behavior of other cars, cyclists and pedestrians. It has to know when to overtake, when to anticipate a car stopping, when to slow down and leave some space for the cycler etc.. For training and testing it needs simulation of real-life behavior. Tesla seems the only one who has a ton of real-world data where the cutomers are all contributing to a huge simulation in order to train the planning-algorithms. So Tesla is focusing it’s attention on the big problems that need to be solved instead of wasting time on superfluous stuff like Lidar. With lot’s of cameras and ultrasonic sensors it has already much more sensing capabilities then a human. So clearly the problem is not vision, it is software and being able to “read” and anticipate a situation as a human would do.

  5. CDAVIS says:

    I’m a big fan of Woz and like that he expresses his of-the-moment opinions unfiltered….

    I also like that Woz does not hesitate to later tweak or completely reverse a prior opinion he expressed which he has a reputation of doing often. It would not be a surprise if Woz one year from now changed his opinion on Tesla AutoPilot.

    On the topic of Tesla using the term “AutoPilot” I do think Tesla would be better served calling it “Steering Assist”. Tesla argues that “AutoPilot” is meant to connote a term same as applied to aviation “AutoPilot” which the airplane pilot is required to always remain in ultimate watch & control but that distinction I think is easily lost to the general automotive consumer.

    1. WadeTyhon says:

      I do like GMs name for their long delayed program.

      Supercruise, by name, evokes ‘advanced cruise control’ to me. Not self driving. Sets the expectations more modestly.

      While I agree that autopilot is a poor name, in both my test drives at a Tesla gallery post-autopilot launch, the employees were very good about explaining that it is not self driving. That you need to be constantly paying attention. And that current gen autopilot is a WIP.

      So at least employees in my area aren’t trying to oversell the feature.

      1. Ambulator says:

        Super Cruise, to me, means going faster than the speed of sound without using an afterburner.

        1. philip d says:

          Exactly what I thought. As in the F22 has supercruise ability.

        2. Raymond Ramirez says:

          The name is correct because Cadillacs don’t need afterburners.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      CDAVIS said:

      “On the topic of Tesla using the term ‘AutoPilot’ I do think Tesla would be better served calling it “Steering Assist”.”

      You’re confusing Autopilot with AutoSteer. AutoSteer is the specific driver assist feature which autonomously steers Tesla cars so equipped; Autopilot is the umbrella term which Tesla uses for its suite of driver assist features and/or semi-autonomous driving features.

  6. Chris Stork says:

    “…and that is the second your car drifts over the line.”

    Wait, what? If you have AutoPilot engaged, it won’t drift over any line; that’s kind of the point. It’s not just lane departure warning, it actively stays in lane.

    I’m not saying you can or should be reaching around the cabin and not paying attention to the road; I’m just saying, if you did, AP would keep you from drifting or rear-ending the guy in front of you for the few seconds it takes you to reach into the cooler in the back seat and grab another beer (/jk)

    1. Spider-Dan says:

      You are describing AutoPilot when it is working as intended. Woz is saying that is not always the case.

  7. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I’ve been saying the same thing Woz is saying, pretty much ever since I learned Telsa was using the term “Autopilot” for its suite of driver assist features.

    Yeah, Tesla is logically correct: an airplane’s pilot is not supposed to leave the cockpit when an autopilot is in control The pilot is supposed to remain situationally aware and is supposed to (as the tag line for at least one fifties sci-fi film put it) Keep Watching the Skies!

    But people are not logical animals, and many people — I think most people — do think an “autopilot” is a “set it and forget it” system. (I saw Otto Pilot fly the plane all by himself in the movie “Airplane!”… So how could that possibly be untrue?!? 😉 )

    I note that the German government also called on Tesla to change the name from Autopilot to something less likely to entice people to do a “Look ma, no hands!” driving stunt.

    https://www.theverge.com/2016/10/16/13299638/germany-tesla-autopilot-advertising

    1. Four Electrics says:

      +1

    2. Stimpacker says:

      How about Nissan’s ProPilot?
      Acceptable?
      if Yes, than why?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Obviously that’s a matter of opinion, but I’d say ‘yes’.

        Why? Because unlike the word “autopilot”, which has a well-known (if poorly understood) meaning outside Tesla cars, we don’t all think we know what the made-up word “ProPilot” means.

    3. Someone out there says:

      Oh so that’s the tune now? What about Elon Musk himself in a TED talk claiming that

      “we should be able to go all the way from a parking lot in California to a parking lot in New York with no controls touched in the entire journey.”

      at the end of this year? And following it up with

      https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/866482406160609280

      It sure sounds like full self-driving to me but I guess I’m just a shill aren’t I?

      1. jahav says:

        Until the company (or insurance company or someone else than me) accepts liability, it is not self-driving.

        If I have to pay attention, it’s a supervised driving.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “It sure sounds like full self-driving to me but I guess I’m just a shill aren’t I?”

        No, but you have fallen victim to Tesla’s carefully worded hype.

        A Tesla car being able to navigate along a very carefully selected route, one exhaustively scanned ahead of time in minute detail, a route which will certainly be tested repeatedly ahead of the official event, does not qualify for fully functional self-driving.

        It will be just like the video linked below, only a much longer route:

        1. Nix says:

          Somewhat true. The route will be planned in that the overall route will be fixed. But the car will be allowed to change route, but only to get around traffic delays when going through cities.

          Otherwise you are correct, it is a canned route with a driver always behind the wheel ready to take over. Not true level 5 Autonomous driving, just hands-off lower level Autonomous driving. Still Autonomous, just not level 5.

      3. Terawatt says:

        I totally agree! Elon Musk has been hyping Tesla’s autonomous tech on many occasions and consistently given wildly optimistic guesstimates about how quickly different capabilities would be implemented.

        The problem with such boundless optimism is that his company can’t take any actual responsibility for it. So they ask us to put $8k on the table for hardware that they say will eventually give us a fully autonomous car, but don’t say when, or what happens (and when) if it turns out this, like roughly 100% of their other predictions, to have been just a tad too optimistic.

        I wish Tesla fans didn’t put up with so much hype. Because if they didn’t, it would go away. But I think a lot of people are falling for it every time – wishful thinking is a powerful thing! In fact, I’m reasonably annoyed with myself these days for having naively assumed that Tesla has learned something from the Model X launch and wouldn’t be saying what they did at the Model 3 launch party unless they believed it. Now we know that they MUST have known their supposed “estimates” were completely unattainable, and that must mean that they deliberately chose to hype it.

        Cynically, they may even have got the math right. A *lot* of people think Teslas are really cool but don’t really follow EV news. I bet to the vast majority, it isn’t clear at all that Tesla was blatantly deceiving everyone, and if they are aware at all of production issues they think nothing more of it.

        But I think they are playing with fire doing such things. Being seen as somehow morally superior to other manufacturers is a huge part of why Tesla is a strong brand. Getting caught repeatedly lying or at best giving a much too rosy impression of reality could ruin their halo.

        At least for me this has left a sour taste in my mouth, and I’m no longer feeling much excitement about getting a Tesla for the sake of supporting a great company. At this point I’m keeping my reservation for two reasons: it may still be the best product I can get when it becomes available in Norway. And it may be a smart choice if demand stays much higher than what they can meet, since that should mean excellent depreciation.

      4. Nix says:

        They still plan on having a driver in the driver’s seat ready to take control. That’s not Level 5 Autonomous driving.

        Maybe we should just get rid of the term “Autonomous” and use some other term if you can’t understand that there are 5 levels of Autonomous driving? I’m sure changing the name will clear up everything…

        /sarc

    4. Nix says:

      So when you turn your car onto the Blue Ridge Parkway, do you park your car on the center yellow line in the middle of the road?

      It is a PARKway, right?

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Hoping you were joking there, Nix? Resorting to a superficial straw man argument is beneath you. You’re better than that.

        The English language is one in which people drive on parkways, and park in driveways.

        1. Nix says:

          The English language is one in which “Autopilot” is neither automatic without human intervention, nor is the operator a licensed “pilot”.

          It is just another word to describe a product. Taking “auto” or “pilot”, or “autopilot” too literal is no different than taking “parkway” or “driveway” too literally.

          Same thing with Cell Phone and people who might envision a prison cell.

          People learn new terms for new technology. Everything will be just fine. The whole thing is a big non-issue.

          Otherwise we might as well just give up the whole autonomous driving thing, because there are 5 levels of autonomous driving, and I’m damn sure that the general public has no clue about those 5 levels. If we are going to pander to the least informed, we better completely abandon the term “Autonomous” for levels 1-4.

          Are you ready to also abandon the term “Autonomous”?

          1. Raymond Ramirez says:

            When I first heard of “cell phones” I thought microbiological organisms can talk to each other on a phone!

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            I certainly didn’t know that a pilot was required to “keep watching the skies” when an airplane’s autopilot was activated. I thought it was commonplace for pilots to set the autopilot and then engage in other activities.

            I didn’t learn otherwise until discussion of Tesla’s Autopilot came up on this website.

            Perhaps you knew better, Nix, but then it’s quite clear you are far better informed than the average person, as your posts almost invariably show.

            Given that the German government, Consumer Reports, and not a few people posting to InsideEVs are all calling on Tesla to change the name of “Autopilot” because it’s misleading to the general public… then perhaps you need to re-think your position on that. Even Nix isn’t correct 100% of the time.

            1. Nix says:

              If we were to turn back the clock a few years to the very beginning, I would have agreed with you back then. If they were going to make a change, they should have done it way back. But we’re past that now. It is already out there and it isn’t going to change. Just like the term “Autonomous”, which really isn’t “Autonomous” at levels below level 5.

              Now Autopilot is just a brand name, and even people well outside of EV circles know about it. It is too late to change it now, it is what it is.

              Lifesavers won’t save your life.

              Carefree (gum or tampons) doesn’t make your life carefree.

  8. Mil says:

    People need to RTFM. If you’re basing expectations just off the name of a feature then you’re a f**kin’ m-o-r-o-n

    1. Nix says:

      Exactly. Sadly, every single person here actually has a very good idea what Autopilot does and doesn’t do. Even folks who don’t own a Tesla with Autopilot, and have never even driven with Autopilot. They still have a working understanding.

      And yet they still complain.

      1. Get Real says:

        Or you have an agenda…”cough, shills, shorters, and haters, cough.”

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “If you’re basing expectations just off the name of a feature then you’re a f**kin’ m-o-r-o-n”

      Given the number of people posting “Look Ma, no hands!” videos to YouTube right after Tesla AutoSteer was released to the general public, including even some in which nobody was sitting in the driver’s seat, I think it’s safe to conclude that a great number of people are indeed, as you put it, “a f**kin’ m-o-r-o-n”

      Yeah, in a perfect world, everybody would read the manual before using any unfamiliar device. And in that world, there would be no problem with Tesla naming its driver assist features and/or semi-autonomous driving features “Autopilot.” But we live in a world in which reading the manual is rare enough that the following jokes actually work:

      When all else fails, read the manual.

      Name the gender which can program a VCR without reading the manual. Now, name the gender which would rather teach a Lamaze class to a rhinoceros than read a VCR manual.

      (No offense to women; I doubt many of the idiots posting “Look Ma, no hands!” videos to YouTube were of the female persuasion!)

      1. Nix says:

        I refuse to live my life based upon what the dumbest person on youtube does.

  9. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Woz asked “Is Tesla ever going to be able to detect things like red lights and stop signs?”

    I don’t get it. Is this a quote from, maybe, a year or two ago? Tesla demonstrated that its Autopilot recognizes and correctly responds to both stop signs and traffic lights in a video published in November 2016:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLaEV72elj0

    Now, if Woz is saying Autopilot’s recognition of stop lights and stop signs isn’t 100% reliable, well then I presume he knows what he’s talking about, since he does drive a Tesla car. I would find it interesting to see a discussion of that subject by those currently using a Tesla car as their daily driver; what is the failure rate?

    But it seems odd that he would suggest Autopilot isn’t capable of recognizing stop signs or stop lights at all!

    Or, maybe this is an old quote that this article picked up and dusted off?

    1. Doggydogworld says:

      Sounds like he was asking “will my Tesla ever be able to do a fraction of what’s in that video?”

      It’s really easy to hard-wire a demo, especially if you run the same course repeatedly. Tesla has not delivered that kind of capability to customers. In all fairness they didn’t promise to, at least not yet, but the demo, the renaming of AP to Enhanced AP, the doubling of the price plus the addition of a new FSD option all gave the impression it was not far off. Furthermore, Musk did promise timelines for lesser features (AP1 parity by December 2016, FSD features by April 2017, July at the latest, etc.) which he’s missed by laughable margins.

      That’s why some customers, including Woz, are getting frustrated.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Doggydogworld said:

        “It’s really easy to hard-wire a demo, especially if you run the same course repeatedly. Tesla has not delivered that kind of capability to customers.”

        That diverges rather wildly from many, many first-hand reports on the Tesla Motors Club forum. Lots of people have been using Autopilot + AutoSteer to drive their Tesla cars for about 90% of their driving, within less than a month after AutoSteer (Beta) was first released into the wild. Since back when it was supposed to be used only on limited access highways, but they went ahead and used it everywhere including so-called “surface streets” with two-way traffic. I was originally alarmed at how dangerous that appeared to be, but experience has shown it’s actually safer than a human driver.

        Now, I do agree that the video in question was almost certainly a result of Tesla carefully picking a route and running it repeatedly until the car was able to do it without touching the steering wheel. But the fact remains that many Tesla drivers out there use Autopilot + AutoSteer for most of their driving, generally only needing to take the wheel when the car prompts them to, or when driving in a parking lot or other off-road situation.

    2. CDAVIS says:

      @ said: “…maybe this is an old quote that this article picked up and dusted off?”
      ——-

      It’s from Wozniak recently speaking to CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa at the Money20/20 conference in Las Vegas.

      source: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/10/25/steve-wozniak-theres-way-too-much-hype-around-elon-musks-tesla.html?

      Woz is known for taking contrarian positions then later taking the 180 degree position on same topic… I’d bet good money Woz will inside 2 years be interviewed and declare Tesla is the only car maker doing driver-assist/AutoPilot correctly.

      1. Nix says:

        So it wasn’t from Steve Wozniak’s sales pitch for Serta/Simmons mattresses for the company “Mattress Firm”?

        (warning, have a barf bag ready, you will want to puke):

      2. Nix says:

        “Woz is known for taking contrarian positions then later taking the 180 degree position on same topic”

        That would be consistent with somebody who works as a paid endorser, and is willing to shift their position 180 degrees as part of that work.

  10. Doggydogworld says:

    In a few months, perhaps sooner, Waymo and/or GM/Cruise will pull safety drivers out of their fleet cars. Not as a demo, but for real.

    The public thinks of self-driving as some futuristic thing, like flying cars. That changes the day hundreds of cars start driving around Phoenix or SF or wherever with no one in the driver’s seat. From that day forward:

    Self-Driving = Empty Driver’s Seat

    This creates a problem for Tesla. They’ve positioned themselves (quite brilliantly) as the leader in this space. How do they maintain that position in the public’s eye after “D-Day”? They really need to do their coast-to-coast demo by then, preferably with no driver (where allowed). That’s a pretty trivial demo, but Waymo and Cruise won’t do it (probably) so Tesla can claim the long distance crown.

    Will that be enough? I hope so.

    1. CDAVIS says:

      @Doggydogworld said: “… in a few months, perhaps sooner, Waymo and/or GM/Cruise will pull safety drivers out of their fleet cars. Not as a demo, but for real.”
      ————–

      Not happening….

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Right. No way is Waymo or any other established company gonna let self-driving cars operate on public roads without a human inside monitoring.

        Even if their insurance would allow it, they won’t do so for liability reasons.

        Now, sooner or later they will do as Doggydogworld suggests… but only on private roads and closed driving courses, until such time as some State or another makes it legal for an autonomous car to drive on public roads with nobody inside.

        And really, there’s no reason to do so. Waymo already has prototype self-driving cars with no steering controls, so the passenger inside is only a monitor. Removing that passenger isn’t going to alter the operation of the car in any significant manner, other than weight.

  11. Scott Franco says:

    He’s right, but who cares. I paid some $16,000 to put an autopilot in my airplane, and compared to Tesla autopilot it’s dumber than a rock (all an aircraft AP does is follow a course given by the GPS). It’s a $5,000 toy perhaps for the next 10 years. The requirement that you keep oversight on it at all times is acceptable.

    In an aircraft, you use the AP to do work while you manage other things. If the going gets complex, or there is turbulence, you disconnect it and take over control. APs are not that good. For example flying over up and down drafts an AP will try to keep an even altitude and use a lot of power alternately trying to climb in downdrafts or coast downhill in updrafts, when the correct answer is to let them move you around and relax. There is no way to program that kind of intelligence into an AP.

  12. Victor says:

    “Woz Says Tesla Autopilot Is More Gimmick Than Reality.” I love Tesla and I have a Tesla Model 3 reservation, but I agree with Woz this time.

  13. DJ says:

    He must be shorting stock these days 😉

  14. stuart22 says:

    The term “Auto Pilot” was first used by Chrysler Corporation back in the late 1950’s for the industry’s first cruise control.

    It simply locked in a desired speed. It had nothing to do with steering.

  15. Nix says:

    Tesla Autopilot has been out for years. What it is capable of and the limitations have been hashed out endlessly. It isn’t a brand new product anymore.

    At some point you either take personal responsibility to learn what a technology like “Autopilot” means, or you make yourself look silly for being the last person not to understand the actual capabilities of the product. We’re at that point now.

    Everybody here knows what Tesla Autopilot is, and what it is capable of. That’s a fact.

    Whining about the meaning of a name when you already know and understand what it means is silly.

    Any confusion over the term Autopilot is 100% due to misconceptions of what autopilot in planes actually does. It doesn’t replace the pilot, the FAA regulations REQUIRE the pilot or co-pilot be alert and aware at the controls, and the pilot/co-pilot are ALWAYS responsible for the operation of the airplane.

    Complaining about the name Autopilot as if it doesn’t do what airplane autopilot does, pretty much just an outright admission that you are uneducated in what autopilot does in an airplane. Sort of embarrassing, eh?

    And yet publicly showing one’s ignorance in what autopilot does in an airplane, and publicly refusing to recognize the understanding of what Tesla Autopilot actually does has become trendy.

    Hey, we don’t park on a parkway, and we don’t drive on a driveway. And yet everybody uses those terms just fine without being overtly pedantic.

    Time to get over it and move on.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      It’s rare to see you on the wrong side of an argument, Nix. It’s even more rare to see you using a superficial straw man argument. You’re better than this.

      Everybody with good spoken English skills knows what the words “parkway” and “driveway” mean, despite the confusing etymology. And yes, everybody regularly reading InsideEVs has been taught that an airplane’s autopilot is not a “set it and forget it” device.

      But we need to look forward to the time when the general public starts buying EVs, including Tesla cars. Reading InsideEVs on a regular basis should not be a requirement for buying a Tesla car!

      1. Nix says:

        meh.

        Cruise control also doesn’t take control of your car so you can get out of the seat while takes control while you are cruising. People learn. Cell phones aren’t phones you use inside a prison cell. The examples are endless. People learn. If they want to.

        The very break into the mass market you fear is exactly the process where the mass market learn new technology.

        The whole issue is a non-issue.

        The answer to under-education on an issue is education, not pandering.

  16. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I have always said the name of “autopilot” is misleading.

    Using the airplane autopilot as an excuse is even worse since Most people don’t fly airplanes. Regardless of what the actual capability is, the entire name suggests something more than what it is.

    Either way, regardless how good it is, people will always find ways to misuse it.

    This will happen until we get to level5. Until then, pass the popcorn and watch the back and forth fight..

    Of course, fight between Tesla critics and fan bois are even more entertaining.

  17. realistic says:

    Damned Woz damned Tesla hater damned GM shill.

    1. Nix says:

      You do realize that Woz’s canned endorsement of the Bolt (posing with a Bolt provided to him by GM) and GM CEO Mary Barra’s canned social media responses were likely paid gorilla advertising, right?

      Just like Woz’s paid canned endorsement for The Mattress Firm I posted above?

      His life as a paid endorser is well documented, including “Lego, Windows Phone, the San Jose Angels football team, Tesla, Segway, Kim DotCom, Android, Toyota Prius, SPG Keyless, Comic Con, Cadillac, Datsun (now Nissan), US Robotics, Mayday, Robot Guitar, Yotaphone, and Cathode Corner… ”

      https://www.techinasia.com/talk/steve-wozniak-walking-billboard-hire

      In fact, if you want to hire him for your own “endorsement and/or marketing campaign”, you can book him through here:

      http://speakerbookingagency.com/talent/steve-wozniak/

      He is definitely a paid endorser. While derogatory, the slang “shill” certainly would apply. I would use the term paid endorser, but you can use what ever term you want, shill would still be accurate.

      1. Raymond Ramirez says:

        Steve Wozniack bought that Bolt EV. GM never gives vehicles away!

  18. Jason says:

    Does Bolt self driving still take all the bit space for the computer? The thing that really amazed me about the Tesla was how they have placed all their electronics into the car and you still get get storage spaces like the frunk. It does make me wonder how they can get the computing power for AP in there as well when all these others have such monstrous equipment installed to do it. Well, no denying, AP does generally do what it claims it will do, whether you like it or not.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I can’t tell if you’re joking or not.

      If I recall correctly from much discussion on the Tesla Motors Club forum, the upgrade from Tesla Autopilot 2.0 to 2.5 involved adding another microprocessor chip, but the amount of extra space required would likely be no more than a couple of postage stamps. Plus, it’s not like things are wedged tightly together and into every possible nook and cranny in a BEV, like they are under the hood of a modern gasmobile.

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