Safety Features of your Tesla

By Henry Farkas

There are some people who think they’re smarter than the people who write the software for their Tesla. They even think they’re more alert than their car’s computer. Think again. The statistics show that you have about half as much chance of getting into an accident if you’re in Autopilot than if you aren’t using that feature of your Tesla.

Nobody can pay attention to every nearby car all the time. Nobody can even pay attention to what’s right in front of them all the time. People are human. Cars aren’t. Cars don’t get distracted by billboards, Maseratis, or accidents on the other side of a divided highway. Cars don’t text and drive or phone and drive. People get distracted by those things.

In an effort to prevent Teslas from getting in accidents that are the fault of the Tesla driver, Elon Musk has made autopilot a standard feature. You can use it on any road with clearly painted lines. It won’t make turns for you even when you have the GPS turned on and giving you directions, but it will be watching out for all the other cars nearby. Of course, that works only when you have autopilot turned on by clicking the gear shift lever down twice in a row. If you’re on a road without clearly pained lines, it won’t work, and it will give you an unpleasant sound if you try to use it on a local road without lines.

Lane Changing

On roads with lines, you can use Autopilot as long as you understand its limitations. Use it to change lanes by putting on the turn signal. The car will change lanes for you when it decides that it’s safe to change lanes. Here are the limitations for this. Autopilot won’t speed up past the limit you’ve set in order to change lanes. If there’s a spot in the next lane that you have to speed up for, you need to do that yourself. Sometimes, Autopilot will start to change lanes, but then it will bring you back to your current lane for no apparent reason. That sort of behavior will probably decrease with further software updates.

Uncommanded Actions

Regardless of what Elon Musk says, there are some uncommanded actions that the car makes in Autopilot, and the driver needs to be aware that they might happen. I use Autopilot nearly all the time. After all, that’s why I bought the Tesla instead of one of the less expensive electric cars. So what I’m about to say comes from personal experience,

Phantom braking happens every so often. So far, I haven’t been able to figure out what sets it off, but it happens at times. Make sure your car didn’t brake for a valid reason. If there’s no danger ahead, just press lightly on the gas pedal until the car stabilizes.

Uncommanded acceleration does happen at times. There’s one place near my house where I get uncommanded acceleration nearly every time I pass that way. Just press lightly on the brake, and the problem goes away.

Sharp Turns in the Road

Remember I said that Autopilot won’t make turns for you even when the GPS is telling you to make a turn and you put your turn signal on? Well, it also won’t follow a curve if it’s a very sharp curve. There are some sharp curves near my house where I need to take back control every single time I go on those roads or else my Tesla would hit the guard rail. So if you want to use Autopilot on local roads, you need to be aware of this issue and take control.

Autopilot quits driving

Any time you need to take control of your car, Autopilot quits driving. There will be a two-note sound that you’ll learn to recognize that tells you that you’re the only person driving. Sometimes, that happens even when you didn’t take control. The car may have just lost awareness of the road. Always be aware of that sound because if you ignore it, you may not realize that you’re the one driving until it’s too late.

Henry Farkas is a retired country doctor. He bought his Tesla Model 3 in the middle of the pandemic.

Cybertruck to be waterproof and serve as a boat briefly, may also appear in Cyberpunk 2077

By Kevin Armstrong
Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cyberpunk

Cybertruck deliveries will start next year, but if you can't wait that long, you may want to head for Night City. Cyberpunk 2077 has teased that the highly anticipated vehicle in the real world may appear in the popular video game. But, if that's not enough, Elon Musk announced another exciting and unique feature for the futuristic-looking truck - it will be waterproof.

Let's start with the floating Cybertruck, which should not be a shock to anyone following the Tesla CEO. He bought the Lotus Esprit that James Bond used to jump off a pier and transform into a submarine in The Spy Who Loved Me. He purchased the movie prop for just under $1 million in 2013 and told USA Today, "I was disappointed to learn that it can't actually transform. What I'm going to do is upgrade it with a Tesla electric powertrain and try to make it transform for real."

In 2016 he tweeted that the Model S "floats well enough to be a boat," but he did not recommend trying it. Now he has claimed the Cybertruck could be used as a boat — briefly. Musk tweeted: Cybertruck will be waterproof enough to serve briefly as a boat, so it can cross rivers, lakes & even seas that aren't too choppy.

Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cybertruck may appear in Cyberpunk 2077 game
Cyberpunk

In a later tweet, he gave some idea of the distance he has in mind: Needs be able to get from Starbase to South Padre Island, which requires crossing the channel.

Twitter user @Erdayastronaut shed some light on why Musk would be singling out that area and distance. The tweet reads: "One of SpaceX's biggest problems is attracting talent to work at Starbase, which is extremely remote. South Padre is an awesome place to live, but it's almost an hour drive to Starbase despite being only 5 miles from Starbase because of the shipping channel." A quick check of Google Maps demonstrates what the user is describing.

South Padre is only five minutes from Starbase if you cross the channel
South Padre is only five minutes from Starbase if you cross the channel
Google

Musk's tweet also caught the attention of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. Officials there seem to be a little concerned about the wording. The official account tweeted: Our derelict vessel crews are begging you to understand that anything that "serves briefly as a boat" should not be used as a boat.

CD Projekt RED also noticed Musk's tweet, and the makers of Cyberpunk used the opportunity to show two concepts of the Cybertruck as it would appear in Night City. Musk and Cyberpunk have had an ongoing relationship for a few years. Most recently, he demonstrated the power of the onboard computer's gaming system by playing Cyberpunk in a Tesla. However, CD Projekt RED did not mention if the Cybertruck in Cyberpunk would float.

Cyberpunk 2077 will be playable in the new Model S

Tesla hints at 'Reverse Summon' being available this year

Future Feature
By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla now mentions 'Park Seek' or what we know as reverse summon on its website'
Tesla now mentions 'Park Seek' or what we know as reverse summon on its website
Tesla

Tesla's team of Autopilot engineers is validating significant advancements to Full Self Driving Beta, including parking lot improvements. While Smart Summon and Reverse Summon were not specifically mentioned during the 3.5-hour AI Day 2022 event, parking lots were discussed, and Elon Musk gave a timeline of when enhancements are expected.

Reverse Summon or 'Park Seek' as Tesla appears to be calling it, is the opposite of Smart Summon. Whereas Smart Summon drives to you from a parking spot, users who activate Reverse Summon would have their Tesla drop them off at a location, perhaps closest to the entrance of a mall, and then find a parking spot. This feature was described by Musk on July 1, 2020, when he gave it a two to a four-month timeline.

Ashok Elluswamy, Tesla’s director of the Autopilot program, started the FSD portion of AI Day, saying, “FSD beta software is quite capable of driving the car. It should be able to navigate from parking lot to parking lot, city street driving, stopping for traffic lights and stops signs, negotiating with objects at intersections, making turns and so on.”

Several team members described how FSD has advanced and soon will be an integrated stack, meaning one code base that includes everything the program needs to navigate the car in a parking lot or on a busy highway. Musk is currently using this new stack, “it works quite well for me, but we need to validate it in all kinds of weather, like heavy rain, snow, dust and make sure it is working better than the production stack across a wide range of environments.”

Paril Jain, the Manager of Autopilot Motion Planning, expanded on what else will be included in the integrated stack, “we do expect to also include the parking lot stack as a part of the FSD stack before the end of this year. So, that will basically bring us to you sitting in the car in the parking lot and drive till the end of the parking lot, at a parking spot, before the end of this year.”

It has been previously reported that Reverse Summon would have three different modes to find parking spots that the owner prefers. The methods would include closest to the entrance, nearby a cart return, and the end of the parking lot for those who like to avoid tight spots that cause door dings. Musk said that the integrated stack is on track for release before the end of the year and maybe as early as November.

Tesla has also updated it's website to reflect this news, although no timeframe is given. The Autopilot section of Tesla's site now has a section titled "To your Destination." The description reads "When you arrive at your destination, simply step out at the entrance and your car will enter park seek mode, automatically search for a spot and park itself. A tap on your phone summons it back to you."

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View the release notes for the upcoming version 2022.36.

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Take a look at features that Elon Musk has said will be coming soon.

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