Never Stop Driving #34: New Corvette and Tesla’s fake video
This week, Reuters reported that a Tesla video produced to showcase the company’s autonomous driving technology was faked. This nugget came from Tesla’s director of Autopilot Software, Ashok Elluswamy, who testified last summer. In 2018 Apple engineer Walter Huang was killed while driving a Tesla that had the Autopilot system engaged. His family sued, and that’s how Elluswamy found himself under oath.
I’ve said many times that I think Tesla’s use of the words “Autopilot” and “full self driving” for its system is at least overpromising and at worst dangerously reckless. When these systems make a mistake, the driver must intervene, immediately. How likely is it that a driver can do so after he or she has been lulled into being a passenger? The answer is “not very.” The deposition transcript also raised the eyebrows of several software engineers—neutral observers who don’t work for Tesla—who used Twitter to explain what else Tesla got wrong and to share copies of the transcript.
Five days before the Reuters article, Tesla significantly dropped its prices. There was handwringing over this, especially from understandably disgruntled buyers who purchased their cars just before the drop. Car companies, by the way, play games with prices all the time. They’re just better at hiding those moves in incentives. While most of the Tesla models are a few years old, the price drops mean some are eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit. You can buy a Model 3 for about 37 grand, including the credit. That’s a solid deal, especially when you factor in the Tesla charging network.
I’m all mixed up over this Tesla stuff. I remain awed by what Musk achieved, namely launching a car company that now sells over a million cars a year, not to mention another company, SpaceX, that can land a rocket on a floating barge. The dude is also never boring. Does that mean we excuse some of his flaws for greatness … or? Let me know what you think.
Wired, the magazine that covers Silicon Valley, published an article on the state of the trucking industry that posed an interesting question: Why is there a shortage of workers, truck drivers, who allegedly face obsolescence by robot drivers? Short answer: No one knows when fully autonomous trucks will be available. Also, Apple filed a patent application for a self-adjusting headlight, another hint that it is making a car.
A Pontiac GTO sold for over a million dollars, Tony Angelo installed an old-school supercharger on a vintage Firebird, and we published a fun piece on a gangster-built, bulletproof Cadillac that somehow ended up in New Zealand. I’ve never owned a Cadillac, which is one of many reasons I might bid on this 1978 Sedan deVille offered on Hagerty Marketplace.
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