While U.S. investigators are sorting out Tesla driver-assistance technology, the electric car maker is facing another problem: customers complain that they have been sold an additional driver-assistance option that does not work as advertised.
Over the years, Tesla owners have paid up to 10,000 10,000 for a package called Full Self-Driving (FSD). The FSD, which can be purchased as an add-on to Tesla cars, is a suite of Tesla autopilots, driver-assisted technology that government investigators are monitoring after one accident after another.
Critics say FSD has not been associated with its name since its debut more than two years ago. It can help the car move from one highway to another and respond to traffic lights and stop signs. It also includes car calling services from the parking lot or car parking using a mobile app. But fully autonomous driving? That’s not the case.
When Joel Young paid 000 6,000,000 for an FSD in 2019, he assumed he would have a system that could run anywhere on its own by the end of the year. Two years later, it is still beyond the power of the system. Young, a lawyer, writer and car lover who lives in Placitas, New Mexico, recently asked Tesla for his money back, but he refused. On Wednesday, he filed a lawsuit against the company, among other charges, alleging fraud and breach of contract.
“Tesla didn’t live up to its promise,” he said.
Young’s lawsuit is probably second only to that of a customer in terms of the FSD add-on feature. Two brothers from Southern California have filed a lawsuit that raises similar allegations. And while many enthusiasts on social media platforms like Reddit are surprised that they have something to pay for, the California Department of Motor Vehicles recently said it is reviewing Tesla’s use of the term fully self-driving.
Also Wednesday, Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Continental, and Edward Markey, D-Mass., Sent a letter to the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission urging the agency to investigate the marketing and advertising of autopilots and FSDs.
Tesla personally acknowledges the limitations of technology. Following a public record request, public advocacy site Plainsite recently revealed that Tesla officials told California regulators that the company was unlikely to provide technology that could drive like itself in any situation by the end of 2021.
“If we can’t trust Tesla when they say their cars are completely self-driving, how can we trust the company when they say they’re safe?” Bryant Walker Smith is an associate professor in the School of Law and Engineering at the University of South Carolina who specializes in autonomous vehicles.
Tesla did not respond to several requests for comment.
Complaints about FSD kits may fade compared to concerns that people are dying from misuse or error of Tesla driver assistance technology. But they point to a general formula of the Tesla approach to driving automation: the company promises that other carmakers are lagging behind, and its customers believe that their cars can do much more than their own.
Tesla Factory in Fremont, California, 2018. Federal Investigators Verify Tesla Driver Assist Technology – Another problem for electric car makers when selecting: Customers complain that they have sold additional driver assistance options that are not advertised (File / New York Times)
“Excessive reliance on a robotic technology can be a downside – people depend on something they can’t,” said Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, a nonprofit that has been monitoring the industry since the 1970s.
Other automakers are becoming more conservative when it comes to automation. General Motors and Toyota Choices provide driver assistance technologies such as autopilot and FSD, but they do not market them as self-driving systems.
With billions of dollars in funding from big automobiles and tech giants, companies like Argo, Cruz and Wemor have been developing and testing autonomous vehicles for years. But in the near future, they have no desire to sell technology to consumers. They are designing cars that they expect to deploy as delivery services in specific cities; Think Uber without a driver.
In each city, they started by creating a detailed 3D map. First, they equip ordinary cars with “Leader” sensors – “Light Detection and Rangefinding” devices that measure distances using light pulses. As company workers drive these vehicles around the city, the sensors collect all the information needed to create the map, determining the distance to each sidewalk, average, and roadside tree.
Cars then use this map to navigate the roads themselves. They use a leader to observe their surroundings, compare what they see with what the map shows, and keep a close eye on where on earth they are.
Tesla is taking a completely different path. The company and its CEO, Elon Musk, believe that self-driving cars can travel on city streets without 3D maps. After all, human drivers do not need these maps; They just need eyes.
Over the years, Tesla has come up with the argument that self-propelled vehicles can accelerate off the road and understand what is around them by accepting what a human driver sees. This means that the car needs only one type of sensor: the camera.
Since its cars are already equipped with cameras, Tesla says it could improve the growing software to turn them into autonomous vehicles that analyze what the cameras see and how they react. FSD is a step in that direction.
Jake Fisher, senior director at Consumer Reports Automated Testing Center, who has extensively tested these services, said FSD has significant limitations. Automatically changing lanes can be very stressful and potentially dangerous, for example, calling cars from parking spaces sometimes works.
“These systems are good at dealing with annoying and monotonous things,” Fisher said. “But when things get fun, I like driving.”
A couple showcase some touchscreen-accessible options and capabilities of their Tesla car in Chicago on June 4, 2021. (File / New York Times)
The machines can’t think like humans yet. Cars can capture what’s happening around them, but they struggle to fully understand what’s been caught and predict the future.
This is why other companies are installing their autonomous vehicles so slowly. That’s why they have equipped these vehicles with additional sensors including leaders and radar. Radar and lids can track the motion of nearby objects and their distances, giving vehicles a better idea of what is happening.
Tesla recently removed the radar from its new car, which now relies solely on the camera, the company has always said. During his January earnings, Musk said he was “very confident that the car will be able to drive with superhuman reliability this year.”
That promise relies on a “beta” service, which is now being tested with a limited number of Tesla owners, with the goal of automating high-speed driving. On Twitter in March, Musk estimated that 2,000 people were using the beta, which is called “Autostier on City Street.”
But like Autopilot and other FSD services, the beta invites drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel and control vehicles when needed.
Most experts say that is unlikely to change anytime soon. Due to the limitations of camera speeds and algorithms that analyze camera images, there are still situations where such setups cannot respond quickly to avoid crashes, said Schuller Cullen, a computer vision specialist who oversees self-driving technology in South Korea. Efforts Samsung giant.