It’s no secret that Tesla fans are always ready to defend the company and its technology, no matter what. A particularly painful video of Tesla experts who nearly hit a cyclist shows how dangerous this attitude can be, as the driver rushes on the wheel to avoid a crash seconds after his passenger touts the safety of his “Full Self-Driving” beta software.
“We are doing an FSD beta player in San Francisco where they say the software is the best,” says Galileo Russell, posting the video on this YouTube channel named Hyperchange. In the passenger seat sits Omar, also known as @WholeMarsBlog on Twitter, who runs his own EV news channel. As they drive through town, the duo discuss the recent issue with Tesla’s driving software engaging in illegal rolling stops, and rave about how the system handles busy downtown streets.
The pair are paying relatively close attention during the ride, given that they’re evaluating version 10.9 of Tesla’s beta FSD. What happens next unfolds with the perfect timing of a well-written comedy skit.
“With the software update, you can actually make thousands of people’s driving safer, just with a software update overnight.” Omar said. Russell begins to respond, replying “Wow, this is actually, this is actually hell…” before rushing to the steering wheel as the car begins to veer dangerously towards a cyclist traveling along the road. road.
The intervention comes quickly enough for Russell to manage to miss the cyclist, followed by an exhortation of curses and laughter. “Are we gonna have to cut this!?” Russell asks, quickly exclaiming “That wouldn’t have touched him! It sure wouldn’t have touched him!”
Continuing down the road, the duo try to rationalize, minimize, and explain what happened. “I mean, that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Omar said, downplaying the incident. “Yeah, that was like, fine,” Russell confirms, later adding, “We didn’t get close.”
Omar’s opinion is that such things are expected, stating that “It’s shocking to people because it’s new, that something like this is happening, but the system worked exactly as expected… It’s normal.” Meanwhile, Russell points out that “you’re constantly making your car avoid hitting a biker on a human rider…but then you’re caught doing it for a second on FSD Beta.” He seems to ignore the fact that most human drivers don’t usually find themselves suddenly steering their vehicles directly at innocent cyclists.
Tesla fans are suspected protest too much. If the incident was indeed such a minor and normal occurrence, it wouldn’t have led to gasps, swearing, or several minutes of effusive justification for what just happened.
As crashes mount and federal regulators investigate, Tesla regularly faces allegations that it is putting motorists at risk with technology that is not safe enough for public use. Recent studies suggest that Tesla may not be accurately representing the system’s security credentials either. Videos like this support this case; had the couple not been so vigilant, this incident could easily have resulted in serious injury.
Either way, Tesla fans have proven time and time again in the face of such evidence that they are ready to go to the mat for the company. Omar himself trained in this area, apparently grappling with the fundamental laws of physics when he recently claimed that Tesla’s software doesn’t make stop signs work while simultaneously admitting that the car doesn’t actually stop with a recent version of the FSD Beta. 2 mph is 1 mph is 0 mph if you’re committed to the cause, it seems.
This post-truth ethos is becoming ubiquitous, where fans of the company will blindly argue against the slightest criticism. This is a major problem, because it is impossible to deal with problems in a society that refuses to recognize their existence. The situation only gets worse when people take active steps to deny, obscure, or completely confuse the matter.
Many automotive commentators will openly discuss the benefits of Tesla vehicles, from the long ranges on a single charge to the devastating performance of the Model S Plaid. However, these reporters are routinely fired and abused online the moment they go so far as to acknowledge the company’s struggles with quality control and mechanical issues.
The thing is, like any automaker, Tesla has good and bad sides. In some ways it struggles more than some of its competitors, and its self-driving technology raises very real concerns with much of the driving public. Acknowledging this is not a political point of view or proof of some kind of playground beef. It is simply a matter of reporting what is happening in the world.
When personal and political identity determines what we believe, rather than the observations we make of the world around us, dialogue is fruitless and progress is out of the question. This is a lesson worth bearing in mind when reading a news story.