An End to the Road Navigators

I was frustrated after watching the review video of the Tesla Model 3 on Engadget — much like reviewer Roberto Baldwin. The over-reliance on the single, center console touchscreen is a hell of a lot less usable on the road then having a mixture of analogue and digital controls.

Then my astute friend Bryan pointed out to me that we humans are a means to an end as road navigators. As weird as it may seem to us in 2018, eventually steering wheels will be removed from cars. We will eventually, always be passengers.

So why would Tesla waste precious resources making a better car for people?

Categories:

Uncategorized

Automobile News From Around the Web

Below are some automobile-related links I’ve accumulated over the last few months.

Where Self-Driving Cars Go to Learn:

Arizona has since built upon the governor’s action to become a favored partner for the tech industry, turning itself into a live laboratory for self-driving vehicles. Over the past two years, Arizona deliberately cultivated a rules-free environment for driverless cars, unlike dozens of other states that have enacted autonomous vehicle regulations over safety, taxes and insurance.

Too much regulation leads to stifled innovation, but too little regulation can lead to more dangerous roads for us humans. It sounds like Arizona is closer to the latter scenario.

Cadillac’s hands-free feature fixes the worst parts about driving:

Because you can leave your hands by your sides, the system uses an infrared camera mounted on the steering column to make sure you’re still ready to take over if things go south. It tracks your eyes, nose, mouth and ears and figures out where you’re looking. If you’re looking forward out the windshield or checking your mirrors, you’re fine. But let’s say you start staring out the side window or worse, at your phone, the car prompts you to start paying attention by flashing the green steering wheel light. If you ignore that, the flashing light on the wheel and accompanying audible warning for too long, the car will slow down, stop, turn on the flashers and call the authorities via OnStar.

We’re still in the awkward phase of autonomous vehicles. Roberto Baldwin notes in the link above that even though you still have to actively pay attention, being completely hands-free did drop his stress levels and fatigue. So while it’s not full autonomy, it’s progress.

Tesla Unlocked Florida Drivers’ Batteries Before Irma:

Since last spring, Tesla vehicles purchased with a 60kWh battery option have actually come with a 75kWh battery. The company’s software electronically limited the range to 60kWh, though it gave drivers the option to upgrade to full capacity at any time—for several thousand dollars.

On Saturday, the blog Electrek reported that some drivers of 60kWh Teslas in Florida suddenly found their cars showing 75kWh of range, even though they hadn’t paid any more money. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed to Electrek’s Fred Lambert that the company had unlocked the batteries’ remaining capacity remotely, via software update. That would give them about 30 miles of additional driving on a single charge. The move reportedly came in response to a request from at least one Florida driver who needed the extra range to get out of danger.

Telsa is walking a fine line here. What are their guidelines on what are acceptable situations for unlocking additional range on their vehicles? This feels a little too much like a puppet master pulling strings.

Categories:

Technology, Vehicle

Porsche Mission E

Today’s previous post on artificial engine noises linked to Porsche’s announcement from last year on their electric Mission E:

Don’t call it a 911: Porsche spent much of its presentation at this evening’s Volkswagen Group press conference talking about the new 911, yes, but the real news is the Mission E — an all-electric four-seater with a design that’s well beyond anything Porsche’s ever made. The company is focusing on “long-distance driving” with this concept, but that’s not to say it won’t be exciting to drive: Porsche is promising 600 horsepower, a 0-62mph time “under” 3.5 seconds, a top speed of over 250 km/h (about 155mph), and a total range of over 500 kilometers (311 miles) while driving in a “sporty” manner. Those are Tesla Model S numbers, and it stands to reason that Porsche could command at least the same amount of money, too — well over $100,000 in top configurations. And the company says the Mission E can store an 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes using an 800-volt “Porsche Turbo Charging” system, even faster than Tesla’s Superchargers.

It’s now been over a year since the Mission E was announced and we still haven’t seen anything. I’m skeptical if Porsche has a the ability to assemble a team that can take on Tesla and their computer engineering and AI savvy.

I’ll believe the superior technical specs Porsche is flaunting when I see them.

Categories:

Technology, Vehicle

Tags:

 /  /  / 

Hacking Cars

BBC News: Tesla cars get hacked:

Tesla has updated its software after researchers from China hacked into the operating system of its electric cars.

The team from Keen Security Lab remotely manipulated the brake system on a Tesla while it was on the move, from a distance of 12 miles (19km).

It used to be computers were the only things that were hacked, but now that cars are computers with wheels, they can be hacked too.

Welcome to the new normal.

Categories:

Technology, Vehicle

Tags:

 / 

Drive Yo Self

Chris Ziegler at the Verge on Tesla’s announcement:

At a press event today, Tesla announced the release tomorrow of version 7.0 of the Model S software, a big, widely anticipated new build that finally enables the car’s self-driving features. Those capabilities were first announced last year and the necessary sensors were added to all Model S cars that have rolled off the assembly line since last September, but Tesla has needed additional time to flesh out the algorithms, which it has been testing this year. The 7.0 release starts in the US on a rolling basis tomorrow, and will proceed to Europe and Asia in the coming weeks pending regulatory approval; the Model X shouldn’t be far behind, since it has the same sensors in place.

Incredible. The technology of tomorrow keeps getting closer faster and faster.

Tesla’s cars wouldn’t be possible if they didn’t control both the hardware and software (they also value software much more than many other car makers).

Categories:

Typography, Vehicle