Elon Musk and Tesla Super Fans Blast Biden Administration Towards Autopilot Regulation – CBS San Francisco

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The question of who will regulate advanced driving technologies appears to have been answered.

For years, the US government did not regulate driver assistance systems like Tesla’s Autopilot and GM’s SuperCruise. Auto manufacturers can do whatever they want because there are no standards for these systems.

But President Joe Biden’s administration appears to want to change that with the appointment of Missy Cummings, an engineering professor at Duke University who studies autonomous systems and has criticized Tesla and the federal government’s management of aid systems. driving like autopilot. Cummings will be the Senior Safety Advisor to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The government’s laissez-faire approach to these increasingly mainstream technologies has long led to calls for better warranties and measures in the wake of headlines. Cummings’ appointment is the latest indication of the Biden administration’s willingness to intervene.

The government said in June that all car manufacturers must report accidents involving driver assistance systems. He launched an investigation last August into Tesla running on autopilot that blocked emergency vehicles from behind. NHTSA has asked to come up with a rule for automatic emergency braking, a driver assistance feature.

Cummings’ new role sparked a backlash from diehard Tesla fans. A fan-circulated petition called for her nomination to be reviewed and received more than 21,000 signatures on Friday morning. The attacks on Cummings have at times been vitriolic, personal, and hyperbolic. Cummings has been described as “the mercenary of the Luddits of mediocrity” and as someone who wants to destroy Tesla. The automaker’s passionate fan base has been criticized in the past as being bigoted and intolerant of criticism.

Tesla’s fanbase petition includes a review of a 2019 Cummings tweet that said NHTSA should force Tesla to turn off autopilot. Cummings’ Twitter account was made private in the aftermath, and then deleted.

Tesla’s fan base has also criticized Cummings for his ties to Swedish driver assistance company Veoneer. Cummings sits on the company’s board of directors.

NHTSA has not made Cummings available for an interview, but spokesperson Lucia Sanchez told CNN Business that any potential conflicts of interest would be resolved before Cummings began his work at NHTSA.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk joined in the criticism, calling Cummings’ track record “extremely biased” against Tesla.

Cummings responded and said she was “happy to sit down and talk with you anytime.” Musk did not detail what he considered biased and did not respond to a request for comment. (Tesla does not typically engage with professional news media.) US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg reportedly said on Wednesday that Musk should call him if he had any concerns.

From pioneer pilot to teacher

In the 1990s, Cummings became one of the first women to serve as a fighter pilot in the Navy. She has said in interviews that she later entered academia because she saw the rising tide of autonomous technologies.

Cummings has previously been called to testify on Capitol Hill on autonomous driving. She has studied the impact of artificial intelligence on the future of warfare and the challenges of boredom when people use autonomous systems.

Outside of autonomous driving, Cummings seems to have a favorable opinion of Tesla. Cummings said she has a Tesla jacket that she proudly wears, that she loves Tesla and hates car dealerships. (Tesla, unlike virtually every other automaker in the United States, does not have a traditional franchise dealer network, but does have its own outlets)

“I want to do everything I can to support Tesla’s business model in these aspects,” Cummings said in an interview earlier this year. “However, I can’t be silent anymore, not like I ever have been, about the issues with autopilot and ‘fully autonomous driving’.

She said this year that some drivers have died needlessly. Cummings said Tesla should only allow drivers to use the autopilot on roads for which it was designed. This echoes a recommendation from the National Transportation Safety Board, which has investigated several deaths of distracted drivers using Tesla’s autopilot system.

Cummings’ criticisms of driver assistance technologies are not limited to Tesla. She said we should get rid of the expression “hands free”. General Motors describes its SuperCruise system as ‘hands-free’

“Hands free means free spirit,” Cummings said this year. “It’s not just a Tesla problem. This problem is going to be more and more present as we start to see more quotes, hands-free driving from other cars. “

Cummings also criticized Tesla for the name he gives to his systems. Autonomous vehicle experts and even some of Tesla’s own employees have also criticized the denomination. Cummings said there have been fewer egregious accidents elsewhere in the world, where regulators ban Tesla from labeling its technology “Autopilot”. A German court ruled in 2020 that Tesla was not allowed to advertise its driver assistance technology as “autopilot”.

“If you are told that your car has a fully autonomous chip and how many of us read the fine print? It’s easy to see how people can develop these incorrect mental models of what their car can do, ”Cummings said in an interview this year.

Tesla released its “fully autonomous driving” software to around 1,000 people this month. The company said it plans to release it more widely soon. Some drivers have raved about its capabilities while others have criticized its flaws. Drivers have sometimes had to intervene to prevent crashes or prevent the car from going through red lights and nearly hitting pedestrians, according to videos posted on YouTube that CNN Business reviewed.

Tesla has released crash data since 2018 that shows there are fewer crashes per mile with autopilot than without autopilot, but critics have called it a comparison of apples and oranges. Autopilot mileage is more likely to occur on freeways, a type of road that already has fewer accidents per mile. MIT research has shown that Tesla drivers are more likely to be distracted when using autopilot.

© Copyright 2021 CNN. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Source link

About Robert Pierson

Check Also

Chinese EV startups look to NVIDIA in race to catch up with Tesla

The logo of technology company Nvidia is seen at its headquarters in Santa Clara, Calif. …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *