Should Tesla Adopt a 'FSD' Light To Let Others Know Autopilot Is Active?

By Kevin Armstrong
Turquoise Lights Could Indicate an Autonomous Driving Vehicle
Turquoise Lights Could Indicate an Autonomous Driving Vehicle

Mercedes-Benz's introduction of turquoise Automated Driving Marker Lights for its DRIVE PILOT system, following the SAE J3134 Recommended Practice, marks another step in the evolution of automated driving technology. This move raises the question: Should Tesla and all automakers developing autonomous driving features follow Mercedes' lead? Considering the US's lack of a national regulatory framework and the implications for the future of autonomous driving, this topic will get more significant as technology evolves.

Establishing a Common Language for Automated Vehicles

Mercedes-Benz’s initiative underscores the importance of a standardized visual communication method for automated vehicles. Such standardization would help inform all drivers and pedestrians when vehicles operate autonomously, improving road safety and predictability. If Tesla adopted this system, it could contribute significantly to establishing a universal language for automated cars, fostering a safer and more efficient integration into the existing traffic ecosystem.

There is still a long road ahead to fully autonomous driving, mainly because the technology is dealing with human behavior, which, at times, can be unpredictable. But this kind of signal could alert other FSD vehicles to travel together, lessening the risk of human error during those long road trips.

Mercedes' turquoise light
Mercedes' turquoise light

Risk of Misinterpretation

However, a significant concern for Tesla in adopting such a strategy is the potential for increased negative attention from EV critics. The move, known as 'rolling coal,' where diesel truck drivers intentionally emit large amounts of exhaust fumes near EVs, highlights tensions between traditional vehicle enthusiasts and the EV community. Introducing conspicuous turquoise lights might exacerbate this issue, making Tesla vehicles more of a target for such antagonistic behavior.

While using ADS marker lights offers clear benefits, concerns have been raised about their potential to attract intentional interference from other road users. There is also the risk of misinterpretation of these signals, which could lead to safety hazards. Tesla would need to consider these aspects carefully, ensuring that any implementation of such technology is accompanied by widespread public education and awareness campaigns to mitigate these risks.

There could also be an added risk of being a target on the road. If a pedestrian or vehicle knows that a vehicle is autonomous, they may take additional risks in passing or crossing in front of the vehicle, thinking that the vehicle will yield or stop for them.

Navigating the Regulatory Maze and Costs

Implementing turquoise lights as an indicator for full self-driving mode involves navigating complex legal and regulatory landscapes. Currently, there is no nationwide framework in the US for such technology. Mercedes only has approval for the new light in California and Nevada. Standardization requires extensive discussions and adaptations to the national road traffic and regulatory frameworks. Tesla would need to engage in these conversations actively and adapt to evolving standards, which could be resource-intensive.

However, Tesla is a leader in this sector and has experience changing opinions and getting support from competitors. Most automakers have announced plans to adopt Tesla’s NACS charging system, making the company’s charging technology the winner in North America. Others will notice and likely follow if Tesla considers a new light for its FSD.

Additionally, integrating these lights into Tesla's existing vehicle designs might require significant engineering adjustments, adding to the cost and complexity of their vehicles. Who would pay for the retrofit of the current fleet or would it only apply to new vehicles?

Enhancing Accessibility and Safety for Persons with Disabilities

One of the critical considerations for automated driving systems is their potential to provide mobility solutions for individuals who cannot obtain a driver's license due to various impairments. Clear visual signals like turquoise lights could make these technologies more accessible and understandable to all road users, including those with disabilities. By adopting such features, Tesla would be taking a step forward in creating inclusive and universally accessible transportation solutions.

The decision for Tesla to adopt turquoise lights similar to Mercedes-Benz for indicating full self-driving mode is multifaceted, involving considerations of safety, inclusivity, regulatory compliance, and public perception. As the landscape of automated driving continues to evolve, industry leaders like Tesla must navigate these challenges thoughtfully, contributing to a future where autonomous vehicles are seamlessly integrated into our daily lives, enhancing accessibility and safety for all road users.

New Model 3 Performance, Racing-Inspired Seats Revealed, a Glimpse of the Front Splitter

By Kevin Armstrong
X/Nic Cruz Patane
X/Nic Cruz Patane

Tesla's reintroduction of the Model 3 Performance continues to inch closer, and just like the refreshed Model 3 and the Cybertruck, every peek gives us some more hints and builds more excitement. A recent observation of a partially covered Tesla Model 3 Performance prototype revealed the new Sport seats designed for improved comfort.

Posted on X by Nic Cruz Patane, the upgraded Model 3 Performance was sighted in Santa Monica, where the vehicle's engineering prototype displayed minimal window tinting, offering a sneak peek at the vehicle's improved seating. The Sport seats, resembling dedicated racing bucket seats, significantly depart from the current Model 3 seating options.

Sport Seats Coming to Other Models?

Tesla's initiative to incorporate Sport seats into the Model 3 Performance hints at broader plans to equip its high-performance models, including the Model S Plaid, Model X Plaid, and Model Y Performance, with similar seating options. This move will elevate the driving experience across Tesla's performance vehicle range.

These seats were also spotted a few weeks ago by enthusiast Fidel Grandez. Initially thought to be designated for the Model S Plaid, these Sport seats have found their rightful place in the Model 3 Performance, aligning with Tesla's vision for a performance-focused yet more affordable electric sedan.

New Wheels and Front Lip

In addition to the seats, the Model 3 Performance is rumored to showcase a suite of enhancements. Another angle gives a little bit of an outline of the new front lower splitter. Other aesthetic and functional upgrades include "Warp" 20-inch wheels, advanced braking systems, and revised suspension components.

Tesla has been testing the Model 3 Performance prototypes for a few months, signaling that initial production could be underway in North America. This step is crucial as Tesla aims to reintroduce the Performance trim to the market, having temporarily removed it from their lineup. The reintroduction is timely, considering the evolving landscape of EV incentives in the United States. While the official launch date remains under wraps, anticipation builds for the Model 3 Performance's debut, expected in the first half of 2024.

Cool Carpool Mom: How Kim Kardashian's Cybertruck Ride Benefits Tesla

By Kevin Armstrong
Instagram/Kim Kardashian
Instagram/Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian showcased her Cybertruck with the caption "cool carpool mom" to her 364 million followers on Instagram. The A-list celebrity and billionaire is well known for her knack for staying at the forefront of trends, making this one image a powerful endorsement for Tesla. The picture of one of the most influential celebrities of our time picking the Cybertruck as her distinctive vehicle speaks volumes about the brand's penetration into popular culture and its appeal to a broad demographic, including those who value style, innovation, and sustainability.

The Power of Celebrity Influence

Kim Kardashian's influence cannot be overstated. Her every move is watched and often emulated by fans around the globe. Her journey from reality TV star to billionaire entrepreneur has been marked by a series of successful ventures in fashion, beauty, and technology investments, making her a model of modern business acumen. Kardashian's ability to turn personal endorsements into significant trends is unparalleled, making her engagement with Tesla's Cybertruck a notable moment for the company.

Kardashian's influence extends far beyond mere product endorsement. Her strategic use of social media to connect with her audience has transformed how brands interact with consumers. She creates a personal connection that can sway consumer behavior by sharing her life, interests, and choices, including her vehicle preferences. Her endorsement of the Cybertruck can significantly enhance Tesla's brand visibility and desirability, particularly among consumers who may not have previously considered an electric vehicle.

Kardashian has recently joined the exclusive circle of celebrities seen driving the Cybertruck, a group that boasts names like Pharrell, Lady Gaga, Jay Leno, and not to forget Elon Musk himself (who, aside from being Tesla's CEO, commands a staggering following of over 370 million on X). Each of these stars wields significant influence, captivating audiences that range from thousands to millions globally.

Sustainability Meets Style

Moreover, Kardashian's endorsement comes at a time when the importance of sustainable living and eco-friendly choices is increasingly recognized. Her choice of an electric vehicle over traditional gasoline-powered cars sends a strong message about the importance of environmental responsibility, aligning with Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. This alignment boosts Tesla's brand and promotes a broader cultural shift towards sustainability.

In the context of celebrity endorsements, Kim Kardashian's showcase of the Tesla Cybertruck is a masterstroke. It merges the worlds of entertainment, technology, and sustainability, highlighting the evolving nature of brand-consumer relationships in the digital age. Tesla's innovative approach to vehicle design and its commitment to sustainability is amplified by Kardashian's endorsement, illustrating the power of celebrity influence in shaping consumer preferences and driving societal trends.

Ultimately, Kardashian driving a Cybertruck and branding herself as a "cool carpool mom" is a significant endorsement for Tesla, enhancing the brand's visibility, appeal, and alignment with sustainable values. In an era where brand success is increasingly tied to social influence and cultural relevance, Tesla's association with Kardashian can only be seen as a positive development, driving the brand further into the mainstream consciousness and reinforcing its position as a leader in the shift towards a more sustainable future.

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