Source: ArsTechnica
 – September 12th, 2017


The NTSB findings include noting that “steering wheel torque is a poor surrogate measure for driver engagement,” and it is telling that all of the Level 3 systems that Ars has seeninvolve some form of driver-facing camera and gaze tracking to monitor driver awareness. Additionally, these level 3 cars—which are designed for lengthy periods of driver inattention—are geofenced such that they will only work on divided lane highways where an accident like this one would not be possible. (Both safety features are also true for Cadillac’s new Super Cruise system.) Finally, this specific problem—confusion over whether a human or machine is in control—is the reason why some car makers have decided to skip level 3 automation entirely.

Update: In response to the NTSB hearing today, a Tesla spokesperson told Ars that “at Tesla, the safety of our customers comes first, and one thing is very clear: Autopilot significantly increases safety, as NHTSA has found that it reduces accident rates by 40%. We appreciate the NTSB’s analysis of last year’s tragic accident and we will evaluate their recommendations as we continue to evolve our technology. 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.”