The Autonomous Vehicle Industry needs to stop Elon Musk for its own good

Just last week PAVE Campaign, the behemoth PR group comprising a who’s who list of players in the industry, finally made a plea for folks to not buy into the hype that a truly autonomous vehicle exists. This was hours after Elon Musk quadrupled down on his promise to have a true L4 vehicle this year and L5 with no steering wheel next year.

While most of the industry is using the same untenable and needlessly dangerous process as Tesla, and will wind up where they are at some point, it has been slowly realizing and admitting at least some of this. Chris Urmson, former head of Google Car (Waymo) and now Aurora, has moved his estimate to get to L4 by 50 years now. (This up from a 30-year jump within the past year). Ford came out recently and said they misjudged the effort. Uber actually stated they may never reach L4 in their S-1 before going public.

As most of the industry is admitting the King’s clothes are falling off and going slower, Elon is quadrupling down. That is especially insane given the use of public shadow/safety driving for the majority of development will never lead anywhere near L4 and harms people for no reason. That last part is where Elon is going to drive right off a cliff, create far too many unnecessary casualties and maybe take the industry with it. All within the next 6 months if not sooner. (The only reason I say maybe is that Musk has become enough of a villain that he may just sink on his own. PAVE finally have the courage to say something is a sign of that. Of course, they didn’t name Tesla or Musk.)

Elon Musk and Tesla only have a combination of a couple choices here. Several will result in an increased casualty rate that is unnecessary. (I do not think owning up to this one will happen. Elon is digging way too deep a hole. And his ego and self-esteem are simply to fragile now.)

· Try to make the time line — This means allowing human Guinea pigs to get into more complex and dangerous scenarios that need to be learned and tested over and over. This will cause an accelerated and unnecessary death rate climb — probably include the first death of a child or family — and stop this industry in its tracks. In order to do this Musk may have to say his system has capabilities it does not so his test subjects take their hands off the wheel in places they should not. See #2. (Notice the latest demo video Tesla just put out. The driver violated Tesla policy and NEVER touched the wheel. Why? Because Elon needs folks to do as he does not as he says. Not unlike when he let go of the wheel for much of the 60 Minutes interview. Of course, when there is an accident, he will abandon his loyal Guinea pig and say they should have followed written policy.)

· Lie about the systems capabilities — This is easy to disprove on test tracks or over what will probably be a short amount of time on the roads. This will also lead to increased casualties etc.

· Blame others — To do this Elon would have to not even try to take on complex and dangerous scenarios. That would mean making little progress and start blaming others soon. If he doesn’t there will be too many folks posting videos and stories saying things aren’t getting much better or better fast enough.

· Go to Mars

For more on why no one will get close to L4 and harm thousands of more people needlessly using public shadow/safety driving and why aerospace/DoD simulation technology, not the popular gaming-engine based technology being used by the industry now will solve the problem, please find more information below.

The Autonomous Vehicle Podcast — Featured Guest — —

SAE Autonomous Vehicle Engineering Magazine-End Public Shadow Driving

Common Misconceptions about Aerospace/DoD/FAA Simulation for Autonomous Vehicles

The Hype of Geofencing for Autonomous Vehicles

How Driverless Vehicle Makers Should Prove their Technology Works

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