Nostradamus? SAE Autonomous Vehicle Magazine declares I am “Prescient”

Michael DeKort
4 min readSep 21, 2021

The link to the magazine —

The following quote comes from the opening editorial by Bill Visnic the Editorial Director. It is entitled “Fool Self-Driving II”. In it he not only states I have shown and awareness for and preparation for the future, but NHTSA should listen to me.

Mr. DeKort, who just joined SAE International’s task force considering new revisions to the J3018 Standard (Safety-Relevant Guidance for On-Road Testing of SAE Level 3, 4, and 5 Prototype
Automated Driving System (ADS)- Operated Vehicles), may not be the last word on Tesla’s software, but in my experience his observations and analyses have proved accurate and prescient. If NHTSA’s experts are worth their salt, it’s probable the agency might reach conclusions similar to his.

Yes, this article is a self-administered pat on the back. Fact is, I deserve it. I was the first person, on the planet to state the development and testing approach most autonomous vehicle makers are using to develop systems for public roads is untenable, from a time, cost and safety POV. To be clear, you could literally combine every one of them, all their tech, people and money and they would still never get near L4 and go bankrupt. As well as harm or kill thousands of needless human Guinea pigs in and outside the vehicles. And yes, the fix for this is to flip the paradigm and perform most of this work in proper simulation. That being the type special ops Air Force created after the failed Iranian hostage rescue mission in 1980. Which aerospace/FAA has used since then.

Why is Bill writing this editorial now? Because Elon Musk and Tesla’s system performs so badly, has crashed into so many stationary and crossing vehicles as well as harmed and killed so many people, the associated incremental epiphany is too big to ignore. (For the record he has also gotten it for years and has supported my efforts by writing two other articles on my point of view.) The downstream effect being a universal (less Mars of course) piling up on Elon and Tesla by the industry. That includes competitors, the press, NHTSA, the NTSB, “experts” etc. All of them scrambling to maintain a tac with the prevailing wind and beginning their history rewriting CYA effort. Why and I so critical and cynical here? Because it’s just a different flavor of hype and ignorance. The industry doesn’t get its approach is wrong or have the courage to admit it is wrong and fix it. Instead, it is focusing on how Tesla does it and wants to stop Tesla before they ruin the party for them. They want to get to a SPAC or IPO before the next epiphany hits and everyone figures out they do the same basic thing. While they will harm or kill less people than Tesla and get closer to L4, due to litany of reasons that make Tesla more egregious I have outlined before, they will still harm or kill people, never get near L4, not save the lives that capability would save and go bankrupt. (This is why I expect NHTSA or the NTSB to force Tesla to change its product names and improve their sensor system. But little else.)

Below are a couple articles that explain my POV in more detail. Including why the industry would rather harm people and go down with the ship than change.

Pride is Dooming the Driverless Vehicle Industry-Leadership Needs to Step Up


The Autonomous Vehicle Industry can be Saved by doing the Opposite of what is being done now to create this technology


The NTSB frets over human Guinea pigs then chastises and punts to the even more reckless NHTSA


Autonomous Vehicle Industry’s Self-Inflicted and Avoidable Collapse — Ongoing Update


SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Magazine — Simulation’s Next Generation


My name is Michael DeKort — I am a former system engineer, engineering, and program manager for Lockheed Martin. I worked in aircraft simulation, the software engineering manager for all of NORAD, the Aegis Weapon System, and on C4ISR for DHS.

Industry Participation — Air and Ground

- Founder SAE On-Road Autonomous Driving Simulation Task Force

- Member SAE ORAD Verification and Validation Task Force

- Member UNECE WP.29 SG2 Virtual Testing

- Stakeholder USDOT VOICES (Virtual Open Innovation Collaborative Environment for Safety)

- Member SAE G-34 / EUROCAE WG-114 Artificial Intelligence in Aviation

- Member CIVATAglobal — Civic Air Transport Association

- Stakeholder for UL4600 — Creating AV Safety Guidelines

- Member of the IEEE Artificial Intelligence & Autonomous Systems Policy Committee

- Presented the IEEE Barus Ethics Award for Post 9/11 DoD/DHS Whistleblowing Efforts



Michael DeKort

Non-Tribal Truth Seeker-IEEE Barus Ethics Award/9–11 Whistleblower-Aerospace/DoD Systems Engineer/Member SAE Autonomy and eVTOL development V&V & Simulation